Coming down from the high of the “most wonderful time of the year” can be very difficult. But at least January offers us the thrill of some great football. From Bowl Games to the College Football Playoff to the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, our appetite for football will be satisfied until Feb. 2nd.
That means that on Feb. 3rd we begin the “least wonderful time of the year?” That time when there is no football at all. But I have some good news! This year the “least wonderful time of the year” lasts only six days.
That is because on Feb. 9th the XFL begins play. Now I know what you’re thinking, “The XFL? Didn’t we try this once before?”
To answer your question, yes we did. But that XFL will bear little resemblance to this one. According to Grady Raskin, the President of the Renegades, who will call Globe Life Park in Arlington home, there are only two carryovers.
“This league is a 180 from 2001,” Raskin says, referring to the one-year run of the league previously. “The only similarities are that Vince McMahon is still the owner and the name is still XFL.”
Renegades Head Coach and General Manager Bob Stoops is adamant. “I would not be here if it was like it was before,” Stoops says. “This is totally different than it was last time. This will be good, solid football with more action and less stoppage.”
Before relaunching the brand McMahon hired Oliver Luck. He is a Rhodes Scholar finalist who played for the Oilers and has had several jobs in coaching and administration, including as the Athletic Director at his alma mater, West Virginia.
Luck and McMahon spent 13 months in R & D. That is research and development. They spent much of that time talking to football fans, and they concluded something that Stoops already knew.
“I can’t be the only one disappointed when the college football season ends or when the Super Bowl is over,” Stoops says.
He’s right: He’s not the only one. In fact, studies show that even in March and April football is the most popular sport in America. So the XFL intends to give the people what they want. More football. According to Raskin, they have taken that one step further by asking fans how their football watching experience could be enhanced.
“Less stall and more ball,” Grady reveals. “They want ways to keep the game moving along.”
For me, one of the greatest things the Renegades have to offer is their home stadium. The fact that we can still enjoy games at Globe Life Park is thrilling to me. Raskin, who worked for the Rangers and the Stars earlier in his career, calls Globe Life Park a “blessing” to the franchise and to the league.
He says this is a league of opportunity. Not just an opportunity for fans to get a football fix in the late winter and early spring, but an opportunity for really good players to keep playing.
“The last 10 players cut from each NFL roster are really good players,” Stoops contends. “And anybody who shines could get a chance in NFL camps just a few months after the XFL season ends.”
So don’t fret football fans, the least wonderful time of the year will be just six days in 2020. Then it is time for more football, more excitement and more memories made right here in Arlington at Globe Life Park.
Sports columnist John Rhadigan is an anchor for the Fox Sports Southwest television network.