Upstart football league
a mess; not success
Eye on the XFL
Ed De La Garza
If you judge the Extreme Football League
solely on the product Vince McMahon and NBC are selling -- a different
brand of football -- the debut weekend for the upstart league was a failure.
McMahon and company stressed the importance
of putting the fans first. Itis a commendable notion. And the fans in attendance
certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves -- if not the action on the
field, then at least the action they were getting from the XFL cheerleaders.
But how much are the "extras" worth when they can get more exciting football
in the Arena League?
Itis been labeled a novelty and will remain
as such until (if ever) the players get over their jitters. For many, it
was their chance to show their wares to any possible NFL talent scouts
in the crowd. Others were simply playing for their parents or to mug for
One thingis for sure: The things that didnit
work far outnumbered what did. First, interviewing athletes during a game
is a mistake. The producers may have been hoping for a charismatic figure
like The Rock to emerge from the sideline.
Vince McMahon, part owner
of the fledgling XFL football league, looks over his joint venture with
NBC. The XFL is televised on NBC on Saturday nights and on UPN and TNN
That didnit happen. Instead, you got the
usual athlete response: "I threw the ball. He caught it." Thatis great
and all, but you donit need to take the players out of their "zone" to
get that gem.
Also, how do you call a play with a player
named "He Got Game?" He Got Game catches a perfect spiral from Chuckwagon
but oh -- thereis No Limit to make the tackle.
But there were some positives. Interesting
camera angles got viewers close to the action. The only problem with that
was the play would be over by the time the crew cut back to the right angle.
And yes, it gives those who love football
something to watch before the NFLis Hall of Fame game. And for UH fans,
Adriano Belli and Chuck Clements of the Las Vegas Outlaws may emerge as
New York/New Jersey, 0-1
Las Vegas, 1-0
San Francisco, 1-0
Los Angeles, 0-1
Game of the Week
After trailing for much of the game, the
Los Angeles Xtreme finally took the lead and threatened to put a damper
on the San Francisco Demonsi home opener. One-time John Elway-heir-apparent
Tommy Maddox finally led the Xtreme on a touchdown drive in the fourth
quarter. A field goal gave the Xtreme a late 13-12 lead.
But with time expiring (after a bad decision
to run the ball on third-down with less than 25 seconds remaining and no
timeouts), Demons kicker Mike Panasuk nailed a 33-yarder to give the home
team a 15-13 win.
The final gun
This is just a programming note. NBS broadcasts
two games nationally every Saturday. Sundayis games are broadcast on UPN
and The National Network. You know, TNN has pop.