If there is one thing CFL fans don’t want to recognize, it is that the XFL could threaten the CFL and its viability as a league.
The newly formed league averaged 2.26 million viewers across its four weeks two games. In comparison, the CFL averaged 3.9 million viewers for the Grey Cup in 2019. Despite this, it’s not the views that pose the threat, but rather the dollars. If the XFL does grow into something bigger than it is now, American athletes will look at staying in the US while playing football and getting paid in USD.
For many players, it’s a combination of the American dollar and playing at home. For Derek Dennis, all of these factors played a role in him joining the XFL.
“Honestly, for me, it was being paid in American currency. Being paid in American currency is big for me because I live in the U.S. This is where my family is, this is where I spend my time. If you know anything about economics, you know that the American dollar is a lot stronger than the Canadian dollar, so your dollar goes farther when you live here,”Derek Dennis
It isn’t just Dennis who is making this claim. Current CFL free agent, Manny Arceneaux echoed this sentiment.
“With the currency exchange and the American players being out of the country when coming to Canada, most would rather stay stateside and play in the XFL,” said Arceneaux.
Other factors come into play when players consider going to the XFL instead of the CFL, but for the Americans, earning the American dollar and staying home certainly makes plenty of sense. Playing the American game will also allow for an easier transition should they ever get a chance at the NFL, and they could also believe that playing the American game could allow that opportunity to present itself easier.
“Plenty of the guys I train with are NFL guys that have either been injured or are free agents. They are speaking highly of the XFL. It’s caught plenty of people’s attention, so you’ll see guys staying stateside and looking to get into an NFL training camp. Some will still seek the CFL though,” said Arceneaux.
“Most guys on the NFL bubble would rather play in the XFL because they can be in and out in 10 weeks and go straight to the NFL if there is an opportunity. If the league can sustain itself, it will be the first choice for players,”David William Naylor, a football insider for TSN.
The XFL has a shot to become the number two league in the world should they be able to continue down the right path. If that happens, the CFL could see a drop in talent, or could even see a worse fate. But what would the XFL need to do in order to jump the CFL into the number two spot?
“The issue would be can they pay players more than the average $55,000 per season. Good players in the CFL make more than that in Canada, I don’t see CFL stars leaving to double-dip unless it’s guys who are 30+ (years old) like S.J. Green, Derek Dennis, or Armanti Edwards who are unhappy with their pay cuts in the CFL and want to supplement their incomes,” said Naylor.
On the 613 Sports podcast this week, Derek Dennis told us the same information. You can catch that podcast here! But what could the CFL look like if the XFL becomes the number two league? Allow me to tell you.
All of the American stars you know and love will keep their talents south of the Canadian border. If a talented player does manage to slip through the cracks and find their way to Canada, as soon as an XFL team thinks they are good enough, they will be gone. The XFL seasons are shorter, would pay more in this instance, and are during the NFL off-season, allowing players to make the jump if there is a market for them.
For what would be left in the CFL, it would be a bunch of Canadians. And while that isn’t a bad thing, the league’s best players are almost exclusively Americans. Barring a few names like Andrew Harris, the top players come from down south. The league’s quarterbacks, their receivers, and some of the best defensive linemen are American. What should be the solution for the CFL? Well, I have one of those too.
This off-season, the minimum player salary increased, but the salary cap moved only slightly. As a direct result of that, the CFL has lost some great players who I mentioned earlier. The only way to ensure the Americans stick around is to pay them. The salary cap needs to go up. There are no two ways about it.
The XFL has a serious chance to become a threat to the CFL. If the league, against all odds, becomes sustainable, the CFL could see a drop in talent or could be forced to make drastic changes in order to continue.