The XFL got to mention the NFL in a press release, and that’s a win for the returning gimmicky pro football league.
Per the release, the XFL will act as a sort of a testing ground for NFL rule changes, technology and a few other smaller experiments. In that sense, the XFL will acting as a distant minor league for the NFL.
“We are bringing forward an XFL that is progressive and forward-thinking when it comes to innovation, leveraging the newest technology to enhance gameday experience,” XFL co-owner and chairwoman Dany Garcia said in the release. “We have an open field for innovative rules to enhance in-game access. Sharing insights and practices between the XFL and NFL will do a tremendous amount of good for the game of football and support the player ecosystem overall.”
Spring football is generally a tough sell, as the XFL learned in its first go-round in 2001. It was supposed to return in 2020, but was halted by COVID-19 fears and had to file for bankruptcy. Now, it’s scheduled to return in February of next year.
Along with the NFL, the new XFL also has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson behind it. The Rock reportedly fronted an investment group that bought the league for $15 million.
That said, the XFL and NFL may be sharing football ideas, but they won’t be sharing football players.
“That’s a no. We are a spring league. We will play at the highest level in the spring,” Garcia told ESPN. “There is not the anticipation of any player sharing that changes the dynamic. That’s not how we’re executing our vision.”
Still, getting the attention of the NFL can’t hurt.
“The NFL often tries out rule changes and other new ideas during preseason games,” wrote Steve DelVecchio of Larry Brown Sports. “Partnering with the XFL will give the league another platform for doing that.”