Every time the XFL or USFL tries to make a comeback, they debut a bunch of wrinkles to make the game more exciting. The epitome was the WWE’s XFL getting rid of fair catches in an attempt to spread the CTE around to all of its workforce. The latest fad is a rule in the spirit of make-it, take-it where teams eschew onside kicks in favor of a fourth and long from their own territory.
The Philadelphia Eagles actually just proposed this rule change to the NFL, and I have to wonder: What the fuck did the onside kick do to football fans? When did we turn on the most exciting play in sports? The onside kick is just nerve-wracking enough to where you have to watch. You can go get another beer after it, or when the opponent is in hook-and-ladder territory, but not in that five- to 10-second span when the ball is wobbling, spinning, or careening toward the hands team.
There’s something so comical about watching NFL athletes scramble after loose footballs. It’s like a pork chop hitting the floor in the middle of a pack of wolves; all you see is a mass of bodies lunging into the foray. And even though the winner is usually bloodied, they have the meat, and in the meat the glory.
No comedy like unintentional football comedy
We want to do away with a play that leads to potential folly? Everybody loves football follies. So much so that companies used to compile those lowlights on VHS and sell them for $9.99. But, yes, put Jalen Hurts on the field and see if he can complete a 20-yard heave.
The bounce of a football is the most karmic of all the sports balls. Nothing sends your stomach sinking, or hopes soaring, like a miracle recovery. Have you watched a new XFL game? Yeah, me neither. But it feels like a league grasping for reasons to keep viewers tuned in, and the best way to do that is by ensuring no lead is safe.
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You know how mad a fanbase is going to be after the Chargers fritter away a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter because Jimmy Garoppolo drew a defensive holding every time it was fourth-and-for the game? Los Angeles does that as currently constructed. For the love of god, Justin Herbert doesn’t need more ways for Brandon Staley to lose games.
Keep the onside kick. The success rate (5.4 percent across the NFL in 2022) to whether the trailing team deserves another shot is perfect.
And if I’ve learned anything about The Rock’s decision-making, it’s that somebody else should be doing it for him. You only have yourself to blame for getting expelled from la familia, Dwayne.
If you’d like to read more of Deadspin’s XFL coverage, it doesn’t exist. However, we have talked a bunch of shit about the Eagles, so if that interests you, visit our Eagles page.