The XFL is a league that features American Football. The league consists of eight teams equally divided by the Eastern and Western divisions. An XFL season typically runs from February to April, with each team slated to play ten games. The best four teams will then go on to the playoffs to decide the champion.
The league was founded by none other than the WWE’s chairman and current CEO, Vince McMahon. The aim of the XFL was to create a league that had less drama, simple play, and fast-paced games compared to the NFL. The 2001 version of the XFL had lots of experimental and entertainment tools placed on it in hopes of attracting more viewers.
Things like Skycams, live-feed from players’ microphones, and specialized in-game interviews were abundant in the 2001 XFL. Many criticized these additions and compared the XFL to sports entertainment rather than a legitimate, professional league. The XFL folded after one season due to viewership taking a nosedive.
As early as 2017, there were talks of the XFL’s revival. Many signs pointed at the eventual revival. Some of these signs were; Vince Mcmahon selling shares of WWE to fund Alpha Entertainment, the purchasing of the United Football League trademarks, and Vince McMahon himself openly suggesting the XFL’s revival.
On February 8, 2020, the second version of the XFL aired. The first game had the DC Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons. The initial response was overwhelming, and fans loved the XFL’s return.
The 2020 XFL season featured eight teams from two divisions. The New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, Tampa Bay Vipers, and the DC Defenders represent the Eastern Division. The Western Division comprises the Seattle Dragons, Dallas Renegades, Los Angeles Wildcats, and the Houston Roughnecks.
Vince McMahon meticulously overlooked the XFL’s second revival. Through his directive, the league discouraged political protests done through gestures. These gestures included kneeling during the national anthem, raising one’s fist, or forming an “X” with both arms raised.
The league also didn’t draft notable players with criminal records. One example was Johnny Manziel. Although the league went back against this ruling, an official has stated that they would allow its teams to sign Manziel should they want to. Come draft day, the XFL stood by its decision and did not include Manziel. To this day, a felony conviction still serves as a disqualification to play in the XFL.
Vince McMahon has been very vocal about the controversial ruling. McMahon has said that viewers evaluate players through many things, including how good of a human being they are. McMahon believes that players wanting to show a sign of protest should do it on their own time for political protests.
People don’t want social and political issues when wanting to entertain as these two are problems themselves. The league itself wanted to present itself as non-political as possible.
Betting on the Super Bowl’s Coin Toss and other similar activities were available for the fans while watching the XFL. The XFL also had an in-house mobile app aptly named PlayXFL. On this app, fans could win cash or prizes if they predicted the exact score of specific weekly XFL games.
As with many companies and leagues, the XFL folded in 2020. Although the initial response from fans was positive, the viewership of the league significantly dropped after a few weeks. From 3 million viewers, the league had only 1.4 million viewers as of the cancellation.
Another factor that contributed to the XFL’s 2020 demise was the pandemic. Many state laws that were imposed prevented the XFL season from continuing. In the early stages of the pandemic, Washington passed a law prohibiting a gathering of 250 or more people. Although the XFL was rumored not to follow guidelines in less-strict states, it soon followed suit after major sports leagues like the NBA decided to cancel their games as well.
Resuming the league was a real option during the pandemic. However, the social distancing and further implementation of other pandemic protocols ended the leagues’ hope of getting back their games. On April 10, 2020, the league suspended its operations. It also terminated many, if not all, its existing employee contracts.
There were rumors of the XFL coming back for the 3rd time in 2022. However, plans have stalled, and the XFL is slated for a 2023 return. Now, a more than familiar face that fans from the WWE will recognize will head the XFL. That familiar face is Dwayne Johnson, better known to his fans as “The Rock.”
The Rock and his business partners have acquired the XFL and plan to change it for the better. With a 2023 return, you can expect several things such as new rules and new personnel. If things are more positive and the Rock and other people involved get good returns, you can expect more teams to be added to the XFL.
The XFL aims to break the monopoly of American football from the NFL. Headed by the Rock, the XFL is eyeing a 2023 return with a more positive outlook. Expect fans to tune in to this league.
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