Over the years, there have been several professional football leagues that have attempted to establish themselves as alternatives to the National Football League. We’ve had the USFL, the WLAF (which eventually morphed into NFL Europe), and the UFL. But one league that tried and failed spectacularly, and has largely been ridiculed since its demise, is coming back for another go at it.
Yes, folks, once again. . .
THIS. . .IS. . .THE X-F-LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
Vince McMahon, who founded the original XFL back in 2001 and saw it fold after one season, is giving it another go.
The league will start in January 2020, and the league will have eight teams (with locations that have yet to be determined). They will play a 10-game regular season, and McMahon said in his introductory press conference today that the target time for games to be completed will be two hours rather than the three hours that the average NFL game takes.
If you want to watch the entire introductory press conference, you can watch it here:
McMahon has stressed that this is going to be completely independent from WWE. This is under the umbrella of a company called Alpha Entertainment, which McMahon has dumped $100 million into recently. It appears that it’s also going to be free of some of the gimmicks that were a hallmark of the previous incarnation of the XFL. It also means that there won’t be crossovers with WWE talent or anything of that nature.
Frankly, I don’t see where this is a bad idea at all. McMahon and company are obviously taking more time to plan things out this time around than they did with the last incarnation. Last time, the league was announced in February of 2000 and started their first season one year later. This time they’re giving themselves two years to get everything squared away.
I know that Vince McMahon probably comes off as a little crazy, particularly to people that don’t pay particularly close attention to the
wrestling Sports Entertainment industry. But he’s certainly not stupid. He’s not going to try to go head-to-head with the NFL, and I’m reasonably certain that he’s learned from the mistakes of the first go-around he had with a professional football league.
Also, it should be pointed out that while the XFL starts in 2020, the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. . .the one that caused a lockout last time it needed to be re-negotiated. . .expires in March of 2021. The NFLPA is, reportedly, already telling players to start putting money away in the event of a lockout or player strike. Now, I’m certainly not saying that players are going to be jumping ship or anything like that, because that would be a ludicrous suggestion (and one that likely couldn’t happen anyway). However, if the CBA negotiations get as bitter and divisive as it sounds like they’re expected to. . .well, people are going to want their football. And it appears that Vince McMahon wants to be in a position to give it to them if that happens.
In addition, even though McMahon has said that the XFL will be separate from WWE, he would potentially have the ability to use the WWE Network to broadcast games if he wanted to. That would add the potential for an “on demand” service as well. That’s something the NFL doesn’t really do, unless you have NFL Game Pass and can go back and watch games that way. Still, with the WWE Network having a pretty decent subscriber base already, it would be a way for him to potentially get the product out there.
I’ll be honest. . .I’m pretty excited by this whole idea. I really hope that Vince McMahon can pull this off. I’m not sure it can go any worse than the last incarnation of the XFL did and, as stated earlier, I’m guessing that McMahon has learned some things from last time and that things will be much different this time around.
Only two years until we all get to find out, I suppose.