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A New Chapter In The XFL Story Begins Without Vince McMahon

After nearly two decades, The XFL was brought back from the dead by its founder Vince McMahon. Only to see his vision die and be reborn again, this time without him being a part of it.

The XFL is back. Hopefully, this time it’s for good. 

The original XFL, started by Vince McMahon back in 2001, despite creating innovations that last today in the sports world, failed overall as a football league.

Some pundits would have you believe that the 2020 version of the XFL also suffered the same fate. To many, the purchase of the league through bankruptcy by Dany Garcia, Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Gerry Cardinale, and RedBird Capital is the XFL “failing upwards.” 

The 2020 version of the XFL didn’t fail. It’s still alive because of the great work that was put in by so many. The new owners are believers. Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and RedBird saw the value in what the league presented and built in a short period.

Recently in Sports Illustrated. Dany Garcia expressed her feelings on the XFL.

So when Vince re-launched the XFL this year, I was extremely excited. I actually was an avid fan right from the beginning. I ordered a ridiculous amount of merchandise. I decided I would have numerous teams that I would support. I was also envious. I wished we had been in that conversation right at the beginning. – Dany Garcia to Sports Illustrated on her fandom and interest in the XFL.

https://www.si.com/xfl/2020/08/05/xfl-dany-garcia-dwayne-johnson-interview

I was so impressed with the quality of play. I was very impressed with the production of the product. I loved the new rules. I thought the XFL did a wonderful job of breaking the barrier between the athlete and fan and allowing you to have that real sense of ownership. They were beginning to tap into that intangible phase, the phase where magic can happen.- Dany Garcia on what impressed her the most about the XFL.

https://www.si.com/xfl/2020/08/05/xfl-dany-garcia-dwayne-johnson-interview

Can the new owners recapture what the XFL had going for it and then build upon it? The 15 million dollars to purchase the league may seem low, but the commitment and the price tag in making the league work over the long haul will be high. It’s going to take a substantial investment financially for the league to operate and be a success. The new ownership group of the XFL knows this.

There is still one chapter to close in the XFL story before moving forward. 

VINCE MCMAHON’S VISION

Very few people are as universally loved as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He has a deep connection to the sports and entertainment world. Johnson also shares a spiritual connection with football players. Something, Dwayne started out as in college before seeing his pro career ended abruptly in the CFL.

The love for ‘The Rock’ is intense. The same can not be said for Vince McMahon. Despite all of his achievements, McMahon has had a lot of detractors over time. Especially in the present-day. 

Many of McMahon’s business partners have a different viewpoint on him. Recent reports of ESPN and Fox treading cautiously forward with a McMahon-less XFL support the notion that McMahon has strong faith from many closely associated with him. To these networks, the best asset that the XFL had going for it was Vince McMahon.

Rightfully or wrongfully, McMahon’s involvement with the XFL steered many people away from the league. They ignored all the great work that the XFL was doing, simply because they couldn’t get over that it was Vince McMahon’s league. 

A point of contention among those involved in the Chapter 11 sale process of the XFL was Vince McMahon’s motivations. Up until the final hour of the league’s sale, many of the unsecured creditors believed that Vince McMahon was trying to keep his creation alive for himself by any means necessary.

The feeling by some is that Vince McMahon ensured the future of his league by making sure that it fell into the hands of his choosing. 

Publicly, Vince McMahon may never come out and express this, but he has to be happy that his vision of “re-imagining” the game of football fell into the care of Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia. Two passionate go-getters who wholeheartedly believe in the XFL. Rather than an anonymous investment group with no emotional attachment to the league.

The reimagining that McMahon sought for the XFL may extend beyond just the football field.

Early indications suggest that the co-founders of Seven Bucks Productions, Garcia and Johnson plan to expand their XFL into a multi-platform entity. With year-round content on multiple viewing platforms that intersect with all entertainment avenues. The plan figures to include documentaries and reality shows dedicated to following the teams and it’s players.

The new owners may not share everything that Vince McMahon desired for the league’s future, but what it ultimately represented and aspired to be, will remain intact. The Rock and Dany Garcia have already embraced McMahon’s mantra for the XFL ‘For The Love Of Football.’

Like him or not. The XFL doesn’t get to this point without Vince McMahon. The league he founded and resurrected now moves on without him but the spirit of what he started lives on.

I am a credentialed reporter and writer. Over time, I have covered and followed the NFL, NCAA, and multiple football leagues intensely. Like the USFL, WLAF, NFL Europe, AAF, UFL, and of course, the XFL. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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