One Year After Shutdown, A Ray of Hope for the XFL

By Terrance Turner

March 12, 2021

Today marks one year since the XFL suspended its season due to COVID-19. That decision, which came one day after the WHO declared the virus a pandemic, effectively marked the end of sports as we knew it.

It was a devastating end to a magical ride that had really just started. The season was only five weeks old; the Houston Roughnecks team was in New York for a game when the decision was announced. It was the Roughnecks who had the XFL’s best record, still undefeated at 5-0. I was having the time of my life as a freelance reporter for the XFL, meeting NFL veterans Greg Olsen and Brian Peters and XFL stars like Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker. And then it all came crashing down.

But there may be a glimpse of hope for the XFL. Word broke this week that the XFL is in talks with the Canadian Football League (CFL). The league is working with XFL owners Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Redbird Capital on a possible collaboration. In a statement announcing the news, Garcia said:

“Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field. A vision filled with opportunity, innovation and the highest level of entertainment value for the benefit of our athletes, fans and communities. 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. I look forward to our continued discussions and we will update the sports community as we have more to share.”

XFL owner Jeffrey Pollack added: “We are honored and excited to be in discussions with the CFL. It’s clear through our early conversations that we share a passion for football, an expansive sense of possibility, and a deep desire to create more opportunity for players and fans across North America and around the world. Blending the CFL’s rich heritage with our fresh thinking, and the unique reach and experience of our ownership, could be transformative for the game.”

Significantly, former Roughnecks receiver Nick Holley was signed today by the Calgary Stampeders, a CFL team. Holley shined on the Roughnecks, notching 21 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns. His twin brother Nate was once a linebacker for the Stampeders. Nate was named Defensive Rookie of the Year before signing with the Miami Dolphins this year.

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