In what many sports professionals are calling the “worst move of the century,” WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced this morning that he would be re-launching the XFL, or the “X-Treme Football League,” a football promotion that he created and co-owned with NBC Networks back in 2001. The league was meant to be complimentary to the NFL, in that it would be played in the NFL’s off-season and feature more “regular” people as opposed to high-paid athletes.
The league itself lasted exactly one season after it failed to garner any fans. There were major differences to the play that fans of the NFL never got behind, including having all games played outside in natural grass and there being no point-after-touchdown (PAT) kicks. Teams were even allowed to print anything they wanted on the back of their on-field jerseys, with players emblazoning random sayings like “HE HATE ME” on their backs. Religious scripture and bible quotes were also common. These bizarre rules, coupled with the lack of any recognizable players, made the whole promotion flounder right out of the gate.
McMahon has acknowledged that the XFL was a failure, but has promised that his “NewXFL” will not become the laughingstock of sports history for a second time.
“There were a lot of things that we did wrong the first time with the XFL, and this time there are going to be changes.” said McMahon. “There are things we promised football fans that we just didn’t deliver on. We said there were going to be almost ‘no rules’ in the XFL, but really there were plenty, and they were just all taken right out of the CFL and World Football League handbooks. Well, not this time.”
McMahon went on to describe several changes that he feels will be advantageous to the sport, including allowing his players to use steroids if they wish, full-contact hits after play has stopped, and the ability to bring foreign-objects onto the field, such as brass knuckles, steel chairs, or kendo sticks.
“We are going to make this the WWE of the football world, just like it was supposed to be the first time. You want football and you want violence, and that is what the NewXFL is going to give you. It’s going to be the ‘Attitude Era’ of football, if you will. Hell, even the cheerleaders are going to be hotter this time around.”
McMahon has recently been in the news for losing over a quarter of a billion dollars worth of stock in his company, after traders and investors got cold feet over the low subscription numbers in McMahon’s new WWE Network, a streaming service available on many platforms including Roku, Android, and Apple TV set-top boxes.
“This is not the time to talk about recent setbacks, or past failures.” Said McMahon when questioned about the WWE Network. “[But] I don’t think that The Network is a failure at all. I think it’s a fantastic idea that all true wrestling fans love. We’ve got content going back for over 40 years worth of wrestling. The subscriptions will come over time. We knew that’s how it would go.”
McMahon continued with the promise that as the NewXFL takes off, it would be available to current WWE Network subscribers at no additional cost as part of their regular Network programming. For non-subscribers, the games will be shown on SpikeTV, making the move over from NBC/Universal Networks on its initial run.