NFL/XFL: The Next Great Merger... Kind of
A couple years ago, I wrote an article for this website explaining why the new XFL, at the time newly purchased by Dwayne Johnson and his business partner and ex-wife Danny Garcia, needed to act as a farm system to the NFL instead of a direct competitor. But a phenomenon happened, which tends to happen every four years. America has become a little more interested in international soccer. Myself especially. Most of it has to do with the World Cup recently ending and the fact that most streaming services now have deals with international soccer leagues, mainly NBC showing English Premiere League on Peacock.
The current promotion/relegation format of the EPL is three promotions and three relegations. The bottom three teams in the EPL get relegated to the English Football League 2. There are others below the EFL 2, but for the sake of this hypothetical, we will just be working with two leagues. The bottom 3 teams in the NFL are currently the Denver Broncos at 4-12, 3-13-1 Houston Texans, and the worst team record-wise is the Chicago Bears at 3-14 earning themselves the first overall pick in April’s draft.
If the XFL/NFL partnership allowed for promotion and relegation, the Bears would be moving down to the NFL, losing their draft pick and the NFL Champ could take their spot in the NFL and their first overall pick. Now, this would never happen, likely due to the amount of money that these owners would be sacrificing, but I would argue that it could force the owners to actually care about the product on the field and not the revenue sharing (looking at you Dan Snyder). It would be a chance to grow the game in smaller markets like Columbus, Ohio, or the state of Alabama.
The bottom line is that the XFL and NFL need to come to some agreement in partnership, not competition. The quicker that can happen, the better chance a league like the XFL and even the USFL has to survive and even thrive.