The world is a strange place, and it's only getting stranger - today, musclebound wrestling boss Vince McMahon announced he would be resurrecting the XFL. Yes, that XFL - the one season long NFL competitor, which tried to differentiate itself with less rules, harder hits, more "intense" team names, and "sexier" cheerleaders. And while it was a fun-but-goofy experiment, it failed pretty spectacularly - folding entirely after one poorly-rated year.
And it seems like a particularly NOT great time to bring it back - while the NFL is struggling with audiences a bit in recent years (over protests, abusive behavior being covered up or ignored, the continuing issue of CTEs), it would seem like the XFL would take all the problem parts of the NFL and crank them up to 11 (again - one of the key things is ROUGHER PLAY, meaning more concussions and a much more dangerous experience for players).
So, we have a solution for Mr. McMahon: don't bring back the XFL at all.
Instead, bring back BASEketball.
1. It's infinitely safer than football
Football is not having a great time, with regards to player safety as of late. Believe it or not, but a game predicated on the idea of enormous, strong guys slamming into each other as hard as they can has resulted in countless injuries, long lasting physical problems, and - most notably - a major rise in CTEs resulting from endless streams of concussions and hits to the head. It's gotten so bad that youth football leagues are seeing massive declines, as parents worry they could be signing off on giving their children permanent brain damage.
So the idea of the XFL - which hinges on rougher, faster play with less rules and restrictions - is legitimately INSANE to pursue in this day and age. We've learned a lot about CTEs since the last time the XFL was around (2001), and taking away what few protections football does offer is certainly not going to make things BETTER. And really, there's no good way to protect football players from being hit in the head - the whole game DEPENDS on tackles and hard hits. So what's anyone supposed to do?
BASEketball. BASEKETBALL. Yes, the silly sports parody movie starring South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone from the late 90s. It has all of the trappings of the XFL (a more x-treme attitude) but it's SAFE. There's no tackling, or heavy hits to the head, or really anything that would put anyone's brain in danger (except excessive alcohol intake, but oh well). It'd take a lot of effort to find anyone getting seriously injured by playing what is essentially HORSE with a few more rules.
2. You still get to have pretty much everything that made the XFL stand out
What were the biggest selling points of the XFL (at the time)? Less rules, more goofy commentary and personality (who could forget "He Hate Me"?), x-treme team names, and "sexier" cheerleaders (which is kinda weird, but whatever. As long as they're well-compensated and treated with respect, there's no shame in it).
BASEketball lets you have ALL of those things - but better. Less rules isn't as horrifying a prospect, since the game doesn't depend on giant men destroying each others bodies. You can let players have all the goofy personality they want - hell, the game works BETTER with players being more idiosyncratic and weird, since it helps with their psyche-outs. And, yes, the game has cheerleaders with more revealing clothing and doing way more suggestive routines (but with the added benefit of them actually getting to participate in the game sometimes by acting as distractions).
See? BASEketball has everything the XFL had, but less people suffering brain degradation.
3. Ska! (pick it up pick it up pick it up)
It seems a little unlikely that XFL stadiums will have in-house bands or live music of any kind throughout the games - but whatever they do have, there's no way it'll be as weird and perfect as having a live ska band playing in the crowd (specifically Reel Big Fish). Sure, ska has gone sliiiiightly out of vogue in the past 20 years, but I swear to god it's still good.
Go ahead and listen to "Sellout" or "Superman" RIGHT NOW and tell me it's not catchy as hell. Go ahead, I dare you.
See? Bring ska back, Vince. Only you can do this.
4. It's actually entertaining and different
Why does Vince McMahon think we don't have enough football? We have so much football as it is. We have the NFL and NCAA - two major leagues that each have unique offerings and enough nuanced differences to cater to different crowds. Is anyone interested in a THIRD league - especially one completely controlled by one guy, who also won't let anyone play if they have ANY criminal record? The few appealing aspects of the original XFL seem to have been tempered significantly with its newest incarnation, so what's the point? It's just a cheaper NFL with less talented players - that's boring.
You know what wouldn't be boring? What would be something actually new? BASEketball. Weird, out of shapes people playing games half-drunk and desperately trying to psyche each other out all the time with elaborate pranks and stunts? That's something completely new to the world of professional sports - a sport that can have a sense of humor about itself, but still be legitimately entertaining and compelling.
So do it Vince - BRING BACK BASEKETBALL.