20 Years in the Making: ‘This is the XFL,’ Again

A look at the new teams' names and logos. (YouTube/ESPN)

“This is the XFL!” was the first statement shouted by WWF/E (World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment) promoter and XFL owner Vince McMahon before the debut game of the XFL in 2001. The XFL was a 50-50 venture created by NBC & WWF/E which the two set to combine and revolutionize football. NBC at the time was once the leader of sports and entertainment, but lost the rights to cover the NFL.

The XFL was a football league created in 2000 which promised to be the polar opposite of the NFL (National Football League) by bringing the hard-hitting, smash-mouth football to America.

However, what it brought was vulgarity, scandalous women and poorly played football which ultimately led to the demise of the XFL in 2001. Since Vince Mcmahon announced the XFL will relaunch in February 2020, speculation has begun regarding the probability of Its success or failure. Will the XFL overcome their history and overcome the stigma that was created in 2001?

In February 2000, the XFL was announced to launch in one year’s time. There was no TV deal, no teams, no players but the announcement went forward. Wrestling fans know exactly who Vince McMahon is and the craziness he can bring. However, on the other hand,  football fans who know nothing about wrestling or Vince began wondering how this outrageous idea was really going to be able to compete right away with the NFL?

As time ticked on towards the first kickoff, the XFL continued to create headlines, sometimes not in the best ways. For example, during the 2000 AFC Championship Game in Oakland, the XFL flew a blimp over the game attempting to create attraction from the NFL audience. However, the XFL Blimp became the center of attention, by crashing into a restaurant. Nobody was injured during the accident but this gave an omen for the future of the XFL.

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McMahon announcing the revival of the XFL years ago. (YouTube/ESPN)

The XFL would go on to establish teams and rosters: N.Y./N.J. Hitmen, L.A. Extreme, S.F. Demos, Las Vegas Outlaws, Birmingham Bolts, Orlando Rage, Memphis Maniax and Chi. Enforcers. The teams had a little over four weeks to practice before the first game. The XFL promised to bring the fun and excitement that the NFL was failing to bring.

The first game brought in a record 9.5 rating on NBC which skyrocketed Saturday night’s primetime ratings by 86% at the time. The excitement and anticipation reached an incredible high. With the up and close action the XFL brought with the skycam, on-field cameras and the players having live microphones, the XFL introduced the world to new technologies that revolutionized the game of football.

However, the gaudy cheerleaders, the dangerous mentalities, a bizarre rivalry between announcer Jesse Ventura & coach Rusty Tillman and lackluster football were all things that could not keep the ratings up. From the week 1 kickoff, ratings plummeted over 50% week 2 and continued to fall as the season went on. The XFL attempted to draw ratings with scandalous acts like sending a cameraman into the cheerleader’s locker room, but it was all an act.

The season concluded with the Million Dollar Championship game which the L.A. Extreme defeated the S.F Demons 38-6. This was to this date the last XFL game in existence. The XFL shut down operations at the end of the 2001 season and the WWF/E and NBC both lost over $50 million.

17 years later in January 2018, Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment resurrected the XFL. This XFL is a complete transformation from the first go round with a new: staff, roster, coaches, rules, locations and teams.

A breakdown of the new rules of the XFL that change how the game is played. (YouTube/Fox Sports)

The new teams are the: St. Louis Battlehawks, Seattle Dragons, N.Y. Guardians, Houston Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Vipers, Dallas Renegades, L.A. Wildcats and D.C. Defenders. The teams have had much, much longer than a month and a half to practice with their rosters. The XFL has also gained TV rights to air their games on Fox Sports, ABC and ESPN starting February 8.

The XFL has drawn much anticipation and suspense heading towards the inaugural kickoff. Will the people change their view of the XFL from nearly 20 years ago? Will the new XFL create a new image and lead to a year two?

David Jacobus
Staff Writer

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