While the reality of a CFL-XFL partnership sets in, we’re left with more questions than answers. One thing, however, is clear. This is a huge move in the football world, and no matter what this affiliation will look like, the XFL and CFL both stand to benefit greatly.
Football in general seems in need of more international participation, and all it took was a worldwide pandemic and the economic fallout to make this happen. The 2020 shutdowns hamstrung the CFL and XFL worse than perhaps any other professional sports leagues in North America, and now they’ll come together in a historic crossroads.
Broadcaster and former All-Pro punter Pat McAfee was one of the first to point out one of the key takeaways here. One of the big names involved in covering the XFL in 2020, he’s kept an eye on the league’s operations ever since. On Wednesday’s edition of the Pat McAfee show, he said this about Dany & the Rock:
“Keeping jobs alive, keeping leagues alive, keeping hope alive…They’re going to save a whole god-damned league”
And not just any league. The CFL has over 100 years of proud tradition, and is the most prevalent brand of gridiron football outside the NFL. Canadian rules, and American rules football both grew out of rugby and soccer around the same time, all the way back in the Wild West era. The Toronto Argonauts have been around since 1873, making them the oldest pro sports team in all of North America.
With both leagues in dire straits after COVID-19, this pairing seems as natural as it is unprecedented. The XFL’s 2020 season was cut short, and the CFL did not even play last year. Now they have an opportunity to build something together and McAfee brought some interesting ideas to the table.
“Maybe they should call it the IFL, International Football League. Drop the X, drop the C, we’ll bring in the I, this is international football.”
Now, we still don’t know if this will be a true merger, or how the collaboration will look on and off the field, but this vision of what the future could be is very exciting.
For so long, american football has been isolated from the rest of the world. Perhaps it’s getting a little lonely at the top for the NFL, and this partnership between the CFL and XFL could blaze a trail for a new era of global football.
League ownership clearly has their sights set high. Gridiron football has followings all across the world, and while the Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event globally, many countries have leagues of their own.
Germany has the GFL, they’ve been playing since 1979. Remember when the Russians wanted to sign Tim Tebow to a million dollar contract? That was the Moscow Black Storm of the RAFC, which has been around since the Soviet Union fell. Japan has the X-League, and as I keep looking these up I’m realizing there’s no way to list every single one in an article.
There’s even the International Federation of American Football, with 105 member nations that compete for a championship every 4 years. Suffice to say that the only continent without some form of American football is Antarctica, and I’m sure a few of the scientists down there still toss around a pigskin after Thanksgiving Dinner.
This new development could become the first time Canadian and US teams will have played at a pro level since the CFL’s short-lived Southern Division saw the Baltimore Stallions win the Grey Cup back in the 90s, and any level of football across borders is exciting news.
The future for international play is looking bright with Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie paving the way. Maybe they can even get McAfee back on board with the XFL too, seems like he’s got some ideas and enthusiasm in spades for the league’s new direction.
We’ll keep you posted as this situation unfolds, with all the latest here at XFL News Hub.
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