Jason Whitlock explains how the XFL could eventually turn into a partner with the NFL

Video Details

Jason Whitlock, Eric Dickerson, Rod Woodson and Greg Jennings talk XFL and NFL. Will the two leagues eventually partner?

JASON WHITLOCK: Love this, love the XFL coming back. I love the fact-- this defeats the narrative that somehow football is this diminishing sport. Vince McMahon wouldn't be doing this if he thought football didn't work on television. I think the NFL, when it's been at its best, there's always been some competition out there. You can go all the way back to the AFL and what it did to professional football and took the NFL to another level.

You can go to the USFL and the competition it brought and that salary bump for players because of USFL. You can go back to the original XFL, they came in with the cameras, or the microphones on the field. And next thing you know, we had hard knocks where we were getting access to the players off the field and with microphones. And they introduced the sky cam that we all love now. I think this is absolutely awesome. And I think the XFL, this time around, is going to be successful, will last more than a year.

ROD WOODSON: I like the idea. I don't know if I like the time frame of the idea.


ROD WOODSON: It's in January so post season for football, for the NFL. So you're going against the NFL, you're going up against the heart of basketball because the All-Star game is right there. So the heart of their season's going to be going on during the end of the basketball, NBA basketball. So I think the time frame of going against that-- I think if they moved it to where that-- soon as the NBA All-Star game is over. I think right around in that time, you have a window. It's a 10- week season, eight teams.

I think it bodes well because the NFL is the only team, or the only sport, major sport, that doesn't have a minor league. It's the only sport that doesn't have it. Even golf, theweb.com, they have that. You know, you got the G- league in basketball. But it's the one league, and me being in coaching in the last several years, you seeing multiple players coming out too early who shouldn't have came out there, probably should have stayed in college another year.

And they need to be developed. And do you have the practice squad? Yes, but they don't play. And until you start playing, you don't develop your skills. You know that, as a player. So I just think this is a good idea, I think the timing is wrong. They should just move it a little bit.

ERIC DICKERSON: I agree with that totally. I think the timing-- You can't have it like, like [INAUDIBLE] basketball. You know, because everybody's going to watch the NBA Finals, you know, XFL--

JASON WHITLOCK: That's not until April and May, the playoffs though.

ERIC DICKERSON: But still, but still, people are going to watch basketball over the XFL, I think, right away. I mean, [INAUDIBLE] it's like anything, it has to catch on. I mean, it has to get hot. But my question is, is that he said he wanted to have people who have had like DWI or you know, got any criminality. So Johnny Manziel-- I mean, what does that say about Johnny? Can Johnny Manziel play in this league?

I mean, think about wrestling. You telling me all those guys that wrestle don't have records? Some kind of record? I mean, does McMahon have a record? But I mean, I think that's the big question. You don't want alienate everybody. But I said, the NFL, we'd have a lot of players, NFL wouldn't be playing right now if they didn't have some kind of record. So I feel like that I think he's got to drop that part of it.

GREG JENNINGS: I like the idea, however I don't think it could sustain success. When you look at what the NFL does and who the NFL is from top to bottom, league office, to player personnel, to coaching. If I enter into the XFL, I'm trying to get to the NFL. League office, whatever position you hold, if you're good--


GREG JENNINGS: --Every position, they're looking to get to the next level. And so I don't think you can sustain success when you're going to have players who are only coming because they're really trying to get to the NFL. And so when you think about the NFL, you're talking about the elite of the elite. You're not starting with some of those players in the XFL. You're not starting with a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rodgers or all these guys. You have to hope that I get one, maybe two guys that catch on. And then, like I said, they're going to think they're good enough to play in the NFL.

JASON WHITLOCK: Let me throw a curve ball at you all. Here's what I think is not being said. And this is just my theory. I have no inside information, this is my theory. This is a much longer play that Vince McMahon is making. And I think he's making this play, this is just my theory, with the approval of the NFL. I think what Rod said off the top, hey, we don't have a developmental league for the NFL. And I think anybody that has a brain looks at the NCAA and college football and says, you know what, this amateur thing is eventually going to blow up.

College can't fix their system right. We've got a lot of players that go into college football, don't like the fact that they're getting paid and everybody else is getting rich, and they bring some of that bitterness and animosity into our game. We just got exploited for three or four years in college football. And that changes their mindset when they reach the NFL. I see this as a potential disruptor for college football. I see some 18, 19, 20-year-old guys eventually say, no, I'm not going to be bothered with college football. I'm going to go play in the XFL from January to March, or whatever the league is, make $100,000 bucks or 150, who knows what they may be paying at that time, and then go into the NFL. And so I eventually see a partnership between the NFL and the XFL coming down the line.

ROD WOODSON: I think that's the key. I think if the XFL is going to go against the NFL, it's not going to win. But I think if they partnership similar to the NFL Europe, where the NFL let certain players, their are developmental players go to the NFL Europe, they got some playing time under their belt. And they came back and matured. I mean, think about this. If the arena league wasn't there, Kurt Warner, who is a Hall of Famer, would never have made it.


ROD WOODSON: So you need some type of avenue, some type of revenue for these guys who are coming out early. And maybe they don't go to college. I'm not really sure if that's going to be the case or not, but there's something there for them to improve their skill set to get to where the best of the best play.

ERIC DICKERSON: Well, first of all, every guy's not go play in the National Football League. So some of these guys that come out of college and maybe high school that go to the XFL, they'd be, you know, I may never reach the NFL, but me still prolonging my football career-- And playing in the XFL, that may be enough. I mean, some guys haven't played for two years. All of a sudden, man, I go back, I get a chance to play in the XFL. I get a chance to play football again because you know how it is. Guys want to play, if you love football, you just want to play football. And if you can get some money for it, doesn't have to be a lot, I'm getting paid.

JASON WHITLOCK: I've always felt like what Rod is talking about. The NFL needs a partnership with a junior league where they can test out certain things, where they can test out manipulations of the rules before applying them to the NFL. And again, that's where I think this is going. And again, I see it as a potential disruptor for college football because I think if you look at-- and we don't have time to go all the way here, but if you look at the Colin Kaepernick and the protest movement and where that energy is coming from of I just want to be rebellious and I'm upset and why it's not there in the NBA.

The NBA players, the best ones don't spend three or four years in college sports mad that man, my coach is making 10 million and I'm here eating ramen noodles and hustling some girl to buy me clothes. I think a lot of NFL players come to the NFL angry about their college experience and it expresses itself in ways that football, I think, has recognized. We need to do something about that. And that's why Vince McMahon may be making this play.