Anyway, today someone posted an item digging at the low salaries that the XFL is paying. The only problem is that XFL salaries are pretty high, as I pointed out on the Plastic site. The XFL pays a straight $4,500 per game fee to its players.
Compare that to the Arena Football League. Keep in mind the following salary structure was put in place only after the AFL players threatened to strike. Rookies receive a minimum of $900 per game. Two year veterans earn a minimum $1,250 per game, and three year veterans earn a minimum $1,450 per game.
$4,500 suddenly looks good. It looks even better when you consider that a lot of players in the AFL actually earn less than the minimum. The contract the AFL has with players allows for players to sign with a team at less then the minimum in order to help a team stay under the salary cap limit (and why the AFL then insists on calling these pay levels “minimums” — since obviously the aren’t — escapes me).
One person replying to my post did note that a straight up comparison wasn’t quite fair since the rules changes in the XFL make it much more dangerous than the AFL, but it’s hardly a secret that in any venture rewards are often commensurate with risk.
A bigger problem with the XFL that another person pointed out is that the XFL itself owns every team. In most professional leagues the individual teams are franchises which have to follow certain rules but for the most part are quasi-independent of the league itself. In the XFL, however, the individual teams are essentially just brands for different products owned by a single corporation. The track record with such ownership structures is not good because decisions tend to be made for the good of the league as a whole rather than for the good of an individual team, not to mention there isn’t the same intensity level for a team to win when it doesn’t really matter to the ultimate owner of that team how well the team does so long as the league in general is succeeding.
Finally, I forgot to mention the single best rules change that the XFL is introducing, which is its method of resolving overtime. I detest the NFL version where whoever scores first wins. The XFL uses a modified version of a system used at lower levels of football. In overtime the ball is placed at the opponent’s 20 yard line and the offense has 4 downs in which to score. Then the opposing team has the same opportunity.
In the XFL version, a team has to match or beat its opponent’s success. For example, suppose Team A throws for a touchdown on its second play in overtime. Team B also has to score a touchdown within two plays or be declared the loser.