CFL, XFL Ponder Potential Partnership
With just over a year until the XFL 2.0 is set to take the field, the spring football league announced Wednesday that it is considering a partnership with the Canadian Football League.
In addition to the news of a collaboration with the CFL, the front offices of the XFL also announced that their 2022 restart would be on hold.
XFL owner Dany Garcia explained in a press release that the CFL holds a similar passion for football and that she hopes that a partnership between the two leagues will lead to something great.
“Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field,” Garcia said. “The CFL has expressed that similar sentiment and jointly we recognize a great opportunity to build exciting innovative football experiences that make the most of each league's unique strengths."
It is worth noting that the word "merger" was never used in the releases by the two leagues.
The XFL was hit by a stroke of bad luck last year when its inaugural season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, just a month after all sports in the United States were paused, the new league, now partially owned by actor and former football player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, would be folding.
Months later, in October, the league announced a 2022 return date.
Now that the CFL – which has a rich, 63-year history in Canada – has announced the communications between the two, the XFL has now paused the return season to allow time for an official deal to be done.
Interestingly enough, Johnson, who became famous by playing football at the University of Miami from 1990 to 1994, attempted to extend his career up in Canada when he was signed by the Calgary Stampeders.
In addition to this connection, both the XFL and the CFL have strong ties to the Yellowhammer State. When the CFL attempted to grow into the United States, Birmingham was awarded the Barracudas for the 1995 season. The team folded after its first year.
Six years later, the first attempt at the XFL, owned by wrestling overlord Vince McMahon, established a team, also in Birmingham: the Thunderbolts. Like the ‘Cudas, the ‘Bolts only lasted one season.
The CFL canceled its 2020 season, which usually lasts from the early summer until the early fall. But, as of this March, the CFL is scheduled to hold a season.
While the details of this potential partnership are unclear, one thing is clear: in a pandemic-driven world, spring college football has been succeeding. This could lead to a successful venture for the two “NFL alternatives.”