The XFL’s first weekend was a success, with solid TV ratings and generally favorable fan reactions to the upstart league’s innovative rules. Week 2 of the XFL is a different story.
Two more XFL games were played on Saturday, neither of them was compelling, and both of them suffered from bad quarterback play. The quarterbacks playing in the XFL right now just don’t look capable of delivering the kind of football that modern fans have grown accustomed to watching.
Obviously, no quarterback who’s good enough to start in the NFL is going to play in the XFL. But for its games to be entertaining, the the XFL at least needs quarterbacks who are able to play well against XFL defenses. And currently, the XFL doesn’t have enough of those quarterbacks.
Through six XFL games, there still hasn’t been a quarterback with a 300-yard passing performance. And XFL quarterbacks have collectively thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes. In the NFL last season there were almost twice as many touchdown passes as interceptions. Football fans enjoy the quarterback-driven game that the NFL has become, and the XFL isn’t able to provide that.
Among the poor performances yesterday were Brandon Silvers of the Seattle Dragons completing just 7 of 18 passes for 91 yards, two Tampa Bay Vipers quarterbacks combining for zero touchdowns and three interceptions, and New York Guardians starting quarterback Matt McGloin completing just 8 of 19 passes for 44 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions before getting benched. Only DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones, who threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, resembled a competent professional quarterback.
The poor quarterback play has led to low-scoring games: XFL teams are averaging 17 points a game. Last NFL season, teams averaged 23 points a game.
The XFL instituted several rules that were supposed to favor the offense and result in high-scoring games. So far, those rules have not been enough to compensate for poor quarterback play.