To survive, the XFL will need to attract or cultivate star players. With few (no) star players on the Week One rosters, the XFL will have to grow their own.
In Saturday’s last game, the XFL was sprouting something other than mung beans.
P.J. Walker, who was known in the NFL as Philip Walker, had a very good day for the Houston Roughnecks, leading them to a 37-17 win over the L.A. Wildcats. Walker completed 23 of 39 passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. He spread the ball around to eight different receivers, adding 26 yards rushing on four attempts.
Undrafted out of Temple in 2017, Walker spent three preseasons with the Colts but has not played in a regular-season NFL game. If he keeps doing what he did on Saturday, maybe that will change.
And that will potentially become a challenge for the XFL. Every player in that league aspires to play in the NFL. When the XFL creates stars, the NFL will come calling — and the XFL seems to be far less inclined to wrap itself in Big Shield than the AAF was. Don’t be shocked if the XFL eventually makes an exception or two to its compensation formula to persuade a player like Walker to make a longer-term commitment to the resurrected league, abandoning (or at least delaying) his NFL dreams.