"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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The X.F.L. is C.R.A.P.

Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 19, 2001

Like most Americans, I was intrigued by the XFL when it was first being advertised in the fall. I thought it could be the return to real football. Tough, smash mouth type football that players like Dick Butkus (who, by the way, is the XFL's Director of Competition), Ray Nitchke, and Jack Lambert played way back in the days before the game gave way to the cocky, self-centered, me me me type football that is prevelant today. (Example: Randy "I'm so good that I can bad mouth my teammates and my organization after losing 41-0 to the Giants where I only caught 2 passes for 18 yards" Moss)

The major difference between the NFL and the XFL is the pay rate. A player in the NFL (Example: John Randle) can make $8 million dollars a year, record only 8 sacks, and still demand a trade. However, in the XFL quarterbacks make $50,000, a kicker makes $35,000, and all other players make $45,000. Plus those figures are their salary for an entire year, I think Randle made that much just to put that so called "intimidating" face paint on himself every game. For XFL players there is also a $2,500 bonus for each game won, a $7,500 bonus for each playoff game won, and a $1 million dollar purse divided up amongst the winner of "The Big Game At The End", which is the XFL equivalent of the Super Bowl.

I was also was captivated by the XFL's rule changes from the NFL's. The rule change that the XFL pushed the most was that there was no fair catches and a punted ball is live after traveling 25 yards. Another rule the XFL adopted is that an extra point cannot be kicked, the scoring team must run or pass for the extra point.

The best rule that I found was how the two teams decide who kicks. Instead of the standard coin toss, two players from opposite teams stand at the 30 yard line and race for the ball which is placed at the 50. Who ever comes up with the ball after the scramble has the option to kick or recieve.

So on February 3rd, I sat down and expected, like millions of other Americans who tuned in, to see hard hitting, action packed football. The XFL's first nationally televised game was the NY/NJ Hitmen versus the Las Vegas Outlaws. The first scene of the game was Vince McMahon, the brains behind the XFL and the World Wrestling Federation, screaming to the Las Vegas crowd, "This is the XFL!!!!" The only thing cheaper than his opening line was the rows upon rows of pyrotechnics exploding around him.

A few minutes later, the Hitmen and the Outlaws came running out of their locker rooms onto the field. The Hitmen were of course booed and the Outlaws lavished with hoots and hollers from the sold out Sam Boyd Stadium. The first thing I noticed, all the players were microphoned for sound and the players could have any name placed on the back of their jerseys. A few of the names that stood out were "He Hate Me" and "Chuckwagon" that were on the backs of Las Vegas running backs Rod Smart and Chrys Chukwuma respectively.

It was then time for the "cointoss". A player from each team stood at the 30 yard line and then raced for the ball at the 50, Las Vegas came up with the ball much to the delight of the crowd. Little did they know it'd be all down hill from there.

At first being able to hear what the players and coaches say and hear on the field was cool, but a few minutes into the game the novelty wore off. For every "Good Job" uttered between teammates there was at least five "M***** ******". Let's just say that the five minute taped delay that NBC had to edit the game was sort of wasted.

The hyped up rule of no fair catch turned out to be a bust. No monsterous hits were delivered due to the rule change because of a five yard halo that is given to the punt returner where no member of the opposing team can enter without being penalized. So much for that aspect of the game.

The big reason why the XFL lost half its audience between Weeks one and two was just due to the low caliber of football. All of these players are washouts of the NFL, CFL, NFL Europe, and even the Arena League. Put that together with the "genius" marketing skills of Vince McMahon, which is basically extravagant touchdown celebrations and fireworks upon fireworks, and you end up with JACK SQUAT!

Another part that separates the XFL from any other "respectable" sports leagues is the team names. The XFL has team names such as the Rage, Maniax, and the Hitmen as I mentioned earlier. Those don't sound like professional sports teams, they sound like one of Rae Carruth's family reunions.

In conclusion, the XFL didn't live up to the hype that surrounded it. It was too much glitter and sparkle and not enough focus on football (and the cheerleaders). I don't know what's going to happen in the XFL, but I think it's safe to say that we won't be seeing a Baltimore Ravens verus Los Angeles Xtreme matchup anytime soon.

Andy Carlson

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