Monday, February 20, 2023

The Second Rebirth

Last Friday, I published a post titled 'To XFL, Or Not XFL?' in which I wrote about being undecided on whether to watch the latest relaunch of the XFL.

I ended with my decision still up in the air.

Well, with approximately ninety minutes ahead of the season's kick off on Saturday, I decided to sign up for one month of ESPN Player - the only way to watch the games here in the United Kingdom.

I watched three of the four games live and watched the fourth this morning after I had woken up.

So far, so good.

I particularly enjoyed how the majority (75%) of the games were close until the final minutes of the games.

One of yesterday's games - which saw the St. Louis Battlehawks beat the San Antonio Brahmas, with a score of 18-15, in the closing moments - was very low scoring game throughout. Both teams were tied 3-3 going into the second half and I was not really feeling it. 

That all changed, however.

It turned out that the closing quarter saved it because I got to witness a three-point conversion (teams get to run or pass for one, two or three points after a touchdown) and then witnessed the intriguing rule of the team which just scored the touchdown having the opportunity to go for a fourth-and-fifteen (instead of an onside kick) to try and retain possession of the ball.

To try and cut this down slightly, the best way I can describe yesterday evening's game is to state that the the final few moments allowed the league to show off two of the unique rules it has.

There is one very minor niggle I am not sold on, but it's something that can be tolerable (I hope). 

I am not keen on Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia appearing in the opening sequences of each broadcast. 

I know they own the league, and it possibly will sink if not for Dwayne Johnson's fingerprints being shown throughout this run, but I believe the intro should be all about the players and not the owners. 

The players and coaches are featured in this intro video. However, it begins and ends with the business owners so it makes everything in between look second-best in significance.

I don't mind seeing Johnson, Garcia or the other XFL owners anywhere else during the games. I simply feel the opening videos should solely be about the players and coaches. In that order.

It's the same philosophy I have about The Voice - which comes across more about the judges than the talent it's supposed to be about.

XFL Intro with Dwayne Johnson

The bottom line: it was a very good start to this version of the XFL. I hope it is able to build on it and will become a regular thing for every spring to come.

As of the time of writing, I fully expect to renew the ESPN Player subscription for next month and so on until the championship game in mid-May. 

I always miss American football for a few weeks after the Super Bowl, but the XFL - I am sure - will fill the void. 

Especially if the games are anything like last weekend's.

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