In another example of “if you live long enough, you’ll see everything,” professional wrestling tycoon Vince McMahon unveiled the re-birth Thursday of his spring football league that lasted only one season in 2001, the XFL.
McMahon had recently, converted $100 million in shares of his WWE stock to apparently, finance to comeback for the concept that was long on bravado, and insults towards the NFL, but in the end, way too short on audience and attendance.
So, McMahon and Dick Ebersol, who led the production of the product for NBC Sports 17 years ago, decided to cease the league after only one season.
In Fact, last spring ESPN debuted a “30 for 30” documentary about the one year rise and demise called “This WAS the XFL.”
Now, it will be back, but we must also qualify, allegedly.
That’s because, it’s one thing to make the announcement and have grandiose plans and your own financing, but the real challenge is, who will believe in this idea and jump aboard a second time around?
McMahon announced Thursday afternoon that the league will begin play in 2020, will have hope to have eight franchises, again and play a 10 game schedule. He did not offer specifics on cities or how they would be picked.
One thing we know, the previous incarnation had a franchise in Orlando. It was coached by former Gators coach, Galen Hall, and quarterbacked by former 49ers QB and now Purdue head coach, Jeff Brohm.
Will there be a Florida city involved, if this comes together? We will soon find out.
As expected, McMahon was full of bravado and promises, including saying that his new XFL will not allow players with a criminal record and that everyone will be standing for the national anthem.
The biggest criticism of the many the XFL had previously, was that the quality of football was sub-standard. And if your product is suffering, the rest of the dominoes will fall, too.
In the end, the biggest details are all that matters, including what intends to pay players, and how to overcome the perception that it’s second or third rate football.
McMahon says that this time unlike 2001, they will spend more time with their training camps and player development before they play in 2020 to help the quality.
That’s the biggest variable for what McMahon and the “new XFL” will being trying, again.
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