Panthers QB P.J. Walker opens up about how the XFL changed football
Unfortunately with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting the world today, sports leagues are still waiting to either finish or start their 2020 season. As for the XFL, they were the first sports league during this pandemic to officially close its doors for good. A lot of players and staff assumed the league would resume play in 2021, but the true tale of the XFL was shown when the league suspended operations in April and laid off nearly all of its staff with no plans to return in 2021. With the league only able to finish half of the regular season, some fans wondered if the XFL could have really changed football down the road? Well, according to former XFL standout QB P.J. Walker it did that and more during the shortened season.
Walker recently took his voice for the XFL to The Players Tribune where he broke down in-depth why the XFL might so much for himself as well as everybody else in the league. Here are a couple of his statements from the Tribune.
See, when most people hear XFL, they think of pro wrestling and HE HATE ME jerseys — the stuff everybody remembers from the old XFL’s only previous season, in 2001. The new league that I played in was still owned by Vince McMahon, but there was nothing pro wrestling about it. It was real football. Most XFL teams were really, really good. No gimmicks. No controversies. And I felt like the longer the season would’ve gone the better the league would have gotten — more intense, more competitive.
Beyond that, though, the best thing about the new XFL was that it gave the guys who are on the fringes of pro football the opportunity to go out there and play and show what they can do. There are so many great, talented players on NFL rosters that the league just isn’t big enough for everybody to play. And that’s a shame. The XFL was important to so many guys. It’s hard to single out names because I don’t want to leave anybody out — because there are just a lot. If the season had gone on, most of them would definitely be getting their chances to play in the NFL. I believe that. I mean, some of them already are.
The XFL was a great opportunity for a lot of players because it was physical, it was fast and it was fun. The atmosphere of the fans each week was amazing. We had almost 18,000 in the stands in Houston for the home opener, which was unexpected in my opinion. We were just blown away.
As of May 1, there have been a total of 31 XFL players who have been signed to NFL rosters. The most notable ones so far being QB P.J. Walker and 5th round NFL draft pick Kenny Robinson both heading to the Carolina Panthers. By the number of signings, and voice of Walker being broadcasted by the Tribune, it’s without a doubt clear the XFL was something special.