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February 5th, 2001



My approach to the XFL was “curious but skeptical.” Would this WWF “extreme” football turn out to be like the USFL or the World League, or would it actually be a worthwhile contender to the NFL? I checked out the first two televised league games on Saturday evening, and they weren’t half bad.

The rule changes were mildly interesting. Among the more notable: instead of a coin toss, there is a two-man race-and-scramble for a football to gain initial possession. It also seems like kneeling the ball at the end of a half isn’t an option, forcing players to actually play. What I like most is the idea that the players have a small base salary and then are paid more to actually win each game.

The XFL also experiemented heavily with a new announce style and drastically different camera angles. The new camera angles, in general, were pretty effective as long as they weren’t overdone (I found myself getting dizzy on occasion). In fact, I liked the above-and-behind shot of the players on running plays. As far as announcers, Jesse Ventura and Matt Whateverhisnameis hardly said anything during the one game; Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler (who host WWF RAW on Mondays) did a pretty decent job with their game, aside from Ross’ tendency to market the product whose audience was already watching.

The caliber of the games was certainly better than the USFL and approaching that of second-string NFL. What I think I liked most about the games (cheerleaders? um…) was the quick pace at which they moved. There wasn’t much downtime during actual gameplay.

I think XFL has a shot. If they chill out with trying to be so “extreme” and focus in on a number of “innovations” that separate them from the NFL, I think there’s a chance the XFL might be around for a minute. I guess what it will all come down to, though, is crowd interest: will America want more football after the Super Bowl? Vince McMahon and crew are betting on it. -ram

Posted in Sports

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 12:23:11PM
I thought it was OK, from what little I saw. However, I have a big problem with JR and the King as announcers. Don't I have to hear those two enough on RAW?

DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 4:07:23PM
Ryan, I think you grant the XFL too much. The XFL brand of football is different that that of the NFL (for the most part it seems to be second rate players playing third rate out-of-shape ball because of a shortened mini-camp and lack of talent). Here's what I picked up watching what I was able to stand of the games this weekend:

1.100% of the XFL announcers provide moronic coverage whereas roughly 75% of the NFL announcers do (there are some good radio announcers for the NFL).
2. The self-deemed "real" aspect of the XFL is painful and embarrasing at times: The second "scramble for the ball" ended with one player out for the season; on Sunday a quarterback backed into a camera man while attempting to get into the shotgun; even when asking decent questions, sideline reporters were ignored; at half time Ventura was left to making up BS about what a tense game it was Saturday between Las Vegas and the team they were stomping 19-0, thus insulting all home viewers.
3. The desire to show the "inside scoop" on the players, huddle, etc. often interfered with watching the on-field game. Let's not forget that fascinating first-ever in the locker room at halftime sequence, I mean carp - players were just sitting there eating oranges, what the hell is that? Where's the emotion and fire?
4. The camera work, though somewhat innovative, was poorly produced, leaving me with a dizzying, lost sense.

There's plenty more, but let me end with these two:
1. A league that was supposed to be high paced action with rough and tumble blue collar joes turned out to be out of breath players playing low quality football produced and aired by the high-quality programmers that brought us the World Worst Fakers (pimps and hos included at no extra cost) and the memorable tape delayed, anti climactic 2000 Olympics.
2. If the XFL is a real brand of football then why do most of their cheerleaders have fake breasts? Well, at least the hookers are off the streets. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 4:16:17PM
Let's not forget that fascinating first-ever in the locker room at halftime sequence, I mean carp - players were just sitting there eating oranges, what the hell is that?

That sounds like one of my elementary school soccer games!

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 4:51:46PM
I caught the second half of the televised games on saturday night. I did really like how in the Orlando game the winning team kept playing until the end of the game. There were a couple of really cool things I saw such as: the quarterback being rushed out of the pocket by three players and still completing a pass cross field to his reciever. That is something I have never seen work in the countless years I have watched football, it does work in the madden video games though. I believe this may be a combination on slow rushers and decent qb.
I think one problem will be trying to get into the players, whom you have no idea who they are. At the same time it seems like it could be watchable like arena football for the sheer sense that although its second rate players it isn't watered down and sanitized.
I agree that the announcers blow. If I have to see JR and Lawler one more time in my life I will puke.
Oh and one more thing, there was some nice attendance going on at those games.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 6:04:39PM
Pat -- Ouch. Guess you didn't like it, huh? :) I'm just being honest -- I went in expecting something really awful, and while a lot of it was weak, I think that with a little time and some more experience, the final product might look a bit more polished.

Robert -- LOL... when a different parent each week brought the fruit...

Matt -- Glad to hear you liked parts of it. I thought you might be extra critical of it given your experience with RAW.

In any event, it'll be interesting to see how things play out...

FROM: frank0
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 8:11:02PM
XFL is straight up whack. It looked a lot like the Flag Football league I used to play in - from the bush-league non-stop shit-talking to the nicknames on the jerseys to the dropped TD passes. I didn't see a big diff between it and the NFL, except the NFL features great football players (mostly). I beg to differ about the increased pace observed by Big RM - no way, it seemed like the intro + stupid fumble-drill-as-coin-toss-replacement + extracurriculars made the first 5 minutes of game time go by sloooooow - I believe it took 1/2 hr.

As big a deal as people made about the cheerleaders, I didn't see anything that radically different from the NFL cheerleaders, 'cepting a little more face time (or is that azz time?). Anyways, it certainly was a lot tamer than what you see in your average Li'l Kim video nowadays. I will say that someone in the brewpub did draw a knowing chortle from me by making a camel toe crack when commenting on the LV cheerleader outfits. Yeah...I said camel toe crack...hehe.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday February 5, 2001 -- 11:22:53PM
Frank -- You don't comment much, but when you do, you make it worth it. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday February 9, 2001 -- 12:58:36PM
Who's excited for week 2?

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday February 9, 2001 -- 1:11:57PM
What?! They're doing it two weeks in a row?

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday February 9, 2001 -- 4:43:10PM
Honestly, I don't even know. I just assumed that they were. They bought all those XFL signs so they might as well do it again.

FROM: mike
DATE: Thursday August 16, 2001 -- 8:43:09PM
better than the usfl?ha-ha!!!,at least the usfl lasted 4 years.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday August 17, 2001 -- 7:16:55AM
The USFL also didn't have the entire media against it when it started.

FROM: Patrick
DATE: Friday August 17, 2001 -- 7:38:33AM

That's because the USFL wasn't attempting to sell high dollar ho's, unchecked violence and a general lack of intelligence. I believe the USFL was an aim at selling football, not the majority of the seven deadly sins. :)

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:08:20 pm

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