"In some ways, I expected this to happen," Rodger Sherman says of the XFL reboot shuttering Friday amid the coronavirus crisis. "When the fledgling AAF folded midway through its first season in 2019, because of a squabble between its founders and a new owner unwilling to wait out large financial losses, I wrote about how any minor football league without major financial backing from the NFL would be doomed to fail. Then, something weird happened: The XFL was incredible. The on-field play was entertaining, and a well-thought-out set of rules made the games unique and enjoyable. There were the kickoffs, which seemed simultaneously safer and more likely to lead to touchdowns than the NFL’s kickoffs....Perhaps more important than the actual gameplay was the league’s all-access presentation. A common criticism of the first iteration of the WWE-owned XFL was that it substituted wrestling gimmicks for football quality. If anything, the second XFL overcorrected, taking fans deep into the minutiae of the game, featuring live sound from players and coaches as they made playcalls."