One of the selling points of the new XFL is that its rules would result in a faster pace of play and shorter games. Through one game, it didn’t quite work out that way.
Some of the pace of play rules, including fewer clock stoppages and a shorter play clock, were noteworthy, but the first XFL game, between the DC Defenders and Seattle Dragons, still lasted more than three hours.
The XFL had said it expected its games to last about 2 hours, 45 minutes, and wanted today’s first game, which started at 2 p.m. ET on ABC, to be over before the second game, which began at 5 p.m. ET on FOX. Instead, the game ran long and for a few minutes, the XFL was competing with itself on ABC and FOX.
NFL games compete with each other every Sunday afternoon, but the NFL is an established institution and fans firmly grasp the schedule. The XFL doesn’t have enough fans to afford to have one game cannibalize the viewership from another.
So expect the XFL to do what it can to pick up the pace after today.