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Josh Gordon and the disparity between the NFL and XFL

Too good for one league, not good enough for the other.

Seattle Sea Dragons v DC Defenders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Josh Gordon is finally playing meaningful football in Seattle.

If you haven’t caught up on any of the XFL this year, it’s actually pretty entertaining! We’ve got a football team currently in season, and that’s always fun.

But there’s an added entertainment factor that former NFL star and one-and-a-half-time Seahawk is out there wearing a Seattle Sea Dragons jersey.

And he’s playing extremely well.

Gordon, with his brief and rocky local ties, serves as the perfect example of the problem between the XFL and NFL.

For starters, it’s taken only three games for him to establish himself as the best receiver in the XFL.

I grabbed enough of the league to show only three players with over 10 receptions are on the same screen as Gordon, and he’s got an almost two yards per catch lead over the other guys. He also has three touchdowns this year, and at 65 yards he owns the longest reception of this XFL season to date.

Meanwhile, QB Ben DiNucci is no superstar, throwing three interceptions and committing five fumbles through three games. Yet, Gordon remains a class above the league.

But...this league, not the NFL.

This isn’t entirely drug/substance-related either, as Gordon was ultimately re-re-reinstated and played a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the 2021 season. He then was with the Tennessee Titans for five weeks in 2022, seeing 24 snaps in Weeks 2 and 3.

He turns 32 in one month.

For all the interest regarding the XFL as a promising developmental league for the NFL, the wide gap that exists manifests pretty well in the Josh Gordon story. Whether he’s been unable to stay on a roster, unwilling, or GMs unwilling to stick with him, he clearly is far superior to the talent pool in the XFL. He has traits and experience that the players around him don’t have - whether that’s yet, or ever, could be debated.

It’s massively unfortunate that we never got a full look at what late-career Josh Gordon might look like on the Seahawks. But in the mean time he’s reminded us that the NFL is truly for the elitest of elite athletes, and it’s an incredibly hard world to break into.