You want to know why the XFL will fail a second time? The answer is a number: 1,856.
That’s how many players make it on active rosters and practice squads on NFL teams.
Translation: you’re starting, if you’re the XFL, with the 1,857th-best player, and on down, in terms of your talent pool.
And that’s if you’re lucky, because how many of those games from 1,857 on down are thinking to themselves, I’m still NFL-quality?
If you at all consider yourself still an NFL guy, the salaries in XFL are not going to get you to risk your chance.
The highest salary is going to be in the $600,000 range, with the bulk of the talents being paid between $50,000 and $100,000.
For sake of comparison, the minimum salary for an NFL rookie with a one-year contract is $480,000; the average NFL player makes $2.7 million annually.
You’re going to risk a chance at even a minimum salary in a league where the top guys get paid like NFL rookies.
So, realistically, we’re not even talking about the 1,857th-best player, or anywhere near, being an XFL target.
You’re talking marginal talents at best.
The conceit here, on the part of Vince McMahon, is that he can package the crap that the XFL will be talent-wise into something the viewing public will want to watch on a week-to-week basis.
He should know the fallacy in that thinking better than anybody else, and after he’d talked himself back into ignoring what he had painfully come to know, all he had to do to correct himself was watch how the AAF flailed so spectacularly earlier this year.
The idea at the core of the misguided notion that spring football can be a viable business is that football fans can’t get enough football.
Which, to a degree, rings true, when you consider the undue attention that the walkup to the NFL draft gets each spring, and then the fact that anybody tunes in for exhibition games, which are basically glorified B squad practices.
Thing is, yes, football fans want more football, but, do they want it so bad that they’ll watch bad football?
We know from the AAF and the first incarnation of the XFL that they don’t.
We’ll be reminded of that again next spring.
Column by Chris Graham