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Saturday, February 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Norman Chad wonders whether we really need the XFL

Seattle Dragons head coach Jim Zorn shakes hands with DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton at the end of an XFL football game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Washington. (Will Newton / Associated Press)
Seattle Dragons head coach Jim Zorn shakes hands with DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton at the end of an XFL football game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Washington. (Will Newton / Associated Press)

The XFL is back. Ask not why but why NOW?

The reboot of the XFL just debuted – the weekend after the Super Bowl. That’s like having a sewerage commission election the Tuesday after the presidential election.

They start playing XFL games on the heels of the NFL’s grandest game?

That’s like going to Paris, Texas, right after going to Paris, France.

That’s like ordering a New York strip at Sizzler right after ordering the porterhouse at Peter Luger.

That’s like visiting the border wall right after visiting the Great Wall of China.

That’s like watching 17 years of Jimmy Kimmel right after watching 17 years of Johnny Carson.

(I’ll stop now because I think you all get the point and, frankly, I’m even starting to annoy myself.)

How badly do you need to see more football six or seven days after the Kansas City Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54?

And when I say “more football,” I mean the XFL, where the ‘X’ stands for Xtraneous, Xcessive, Xasperating, Xpendable and inXplicable.

We don’t need more football.

We certainly don’t need year-round football; we don’t need year-round anything.

I mean, I’m a big fan of food detox, but there is a big difference between a 14-day cleanse and, say, a 365-day cleanse. Trust me, you’d be cleansed out before the 365-day mark.

The XFL, which fabulously failed during its one-season incarnation in 2001, has returned to prove again that few people want to watch more pro football after the NFL signs off for six months.

The expression is “March showers bring April flowers,” not “XFL passes bring spring masses.”

Nobody is thinking about RPOs in March and April. It would be as if pro hockey – training camp to Stanley Cup finals – decided to consume 10 months of the calendar.

(Editor’s Note: Actually, the NHL already does this. We would have deleted the previous paragraph, but Mr. Chad is contractually obligated to provide us 800 words per week.)

The new XFL consists of eight teams – in seven NFL cities, plus St. Louis – playing a 10-game schedule.

Out of professional responsibility to Sports Nation, I decided to take in the XFL’s opening day. On ABC, it was the Seattle Dragons at the DC Defenders; on Fox, it was my Los Angeles Wildcats – I’m thinking about season tickets, but I figure I can find cheap seats on the secondary market – at the Houston Roughnecks.

This is what I saw and heard:

    • ABC’s excitable Steve Levy: “The first carry – everything’s a first!”
    • Analyst Greg McElroy: “If you look at Ja’Quan Gardner…probably not a name you recognize.” Uh, you think?
    • McElroy was intent on emphasizing that these players were THIS CLOSE to being in the NFL, much as I am THIS CLOSE to writing for the New York Times.
    • With 11:25 left in the first quarter, the crowd chanted, “MVP! MVP!” for Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones. Now, that’s funny.
    • Defenders fans, thinking they were at a R*dsk*ns game, started booing the home team early in the second quarter.
    • Fox analyst Joel Klatt never stopped talking. He’s still talking right now as you read this.
    • We got to hear the coach or offensive coordinator calling the plays from the sideline, which captivated me almost as much as hearing the pimply kid shout out my order at Wienerschnitzel.

(Memo to the Houston Astros: In the XFL, you don’t need to steal signs, you can just listen to the other coach telling you the next play on live TV.)

Anyway, the football was entertaining and many XFL rules changes will be keepers. But for all the bells and whistles, it doesn’t alter the inescapable fact that we are not pining for more football the next 75 days.

The XFL is the proverbial tree falling in the forest that no one hears, so does it make a sound?

In this respect, it resembles most Couch Slouch columns – exquisitely written, extraordinarily unread.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Did someone forget to tell Joel Embiid that the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t tanking anymore? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Speaking of which, I guess The Process is complete – the 76ers are now trading away draft picks.

Q. With Bob Knight ending his 20-year split with Indiana, did that give you any thoughts about your first marriage? (Ken Ryan; Huntsville, Ala.)

A. I would have to violate a court order.

Q. Shouldn’t fellow Vienna, Va., resident Terry Golden get a bonus – say, an extra 50 cents – for having the most questions answered in your column? (Jan-Peter Ozga, Vienna, Va.)

A. Listen, pal, Mr. Golden has built an addition to his home off of Ask The Slouch winnings. You want me to INCREASE his windfall? You send him the extra half-buck and I’ll sign the card.

Q. Is it true that the NFL will be using the Iowa caucus app to speed up the replay process? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.comand, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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