The XFL was a professional American football league that played one season in 2020. It was the second version of the XFL, the first having been played in 2001. The league was created by Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), as a spring football alternative to the National Football League (NFL).
The league was announced in December 2018, with eight teams set to begin play in February 2020. The teams were: Dallas Renegades, DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians, Seattle Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Tampa Bay Vipers. Each team played a ten-game regular season schedule, with the top two teams in each division advancing to the playoffs.
The XFL’s 2020 season began on February 8th and was initially successful, with strong television ratings and positive feedback from fans. However, the league’s success was short-lived, as the season was suspended after only five weeks of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 10, 2020, the XFL filed for bankruptcy, and on August 21, 2020, it was announced that the league was purchased out of bankruptcy by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners.
Outside factors contributed to the XFL’s failure, mainly the timing of the league’s launch coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. That and the league’s lack of a paying TV deal hurt the XFL’s chances for survival.
In summary, The 2020 XFL was a professional American football league that played one season, it was created by Vince McMahon as a spring football alternative to the NFL, it started with 8 teams and had a promising start with good television ratings and positive feedback but the season was suspended after 5 weeks of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league filed for bankruptcy and it was announced that the league would not be returning.
Top Players From The 2020 XFL
The 2020 XFL season featured a talented group of players, many of whom had experience in the NFL or other professional leagues. Some of the top players from the 2020 XFL include:
- P.J. Walker: The quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks was one of the most productive and exciting players in the league. He led the league in passing yards (1,338) and touchdown passes (15) and was named the XFL’s MVP. After the XFL folded, Walker signed with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, where he currently serves as the backup quarterback.
- Cam Phillips: The wide receiver for the Houston Roughnecks was one of the league’s top playmakers, leading the league in receptions (31) and receiving yards (455). Phillips had previous experience in the NFL, and after the XFL folded, he signed with the Carolina Panthers.
- Jordan Ta’amu: The quarterback for the St. Louis BattleHawks was one of the league’s most efficient passers, completing over 70% of his passes. He finished the season with 889 passing yards and 6 touchdown passes. He was signed by Kansas City Chiefs after the XFL folded.
- Matt Jones: The running back for the Seattle Dragons was one of the league’s top rushers, finishing the season with 312 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Jones had previous experience in the NFL, and after the XFL folded, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Deatrick Nichols: The defensive back for the St. Louis BattleHawks was one of the league’s top defensive players. He led the league in interceptions (4) and was named the XFL Defensive Player of the Year. After the XFL folded, Nichols signed with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.
These players where among the best in the league and were able to showcase their talents and skills to a wider audience, many of them were signed by NFL teams after the XFL folded.
Coaches In The 2020 XFL
The 2020 XFL featured a diverse group of coaches, many of whom had experience coaching in the NFL or other professional leagues. Some of the top coaches from the 2020 XFL include:
- Bob Stoops: The head coach of the Dallas Renegades, Stoops was one of the most successful coaches in college football history before joining the XFL. He won a national championship at Oklahoma in 2000 and had a 190-48 record during his tenure there.
- Pep Hamilton: The head coach of the DC Defenders, Hamilton was a former NFL assistant coach and college offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2019 and has also worked for the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Michigan Wolverines.
- June Jones: The head coach of the Houston Roughnecks, Jones was a former NFL assistant coach and college head coach. He was the head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and the SMU Mustangs and also served as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers.
- Winston Moss: The head coach of the Los Angeles Wildcats, Moss was a former NFL assistant coach and player. He was the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers and has also worked for the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders.
- Kevin Gilbride: The head coach of the New York Guardians, Gilbride was a former NFL assistant coach and offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants and has also worked for the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Diego Chargers.
The XFL coaches brought a wealth of experience from various levels of football, from college to NFL. The head coaches had a unique approach to the game, and it was interesting to see how they adapted to the XFL rules and how they managed to implement their strategies in the league.
Standings For the 2020 XFL
The 2020 XFL season was scheduled to be a 10-week regular season with four teams advancing to the playoffs, however, the league was suspended after the 5th week of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time of the suspension, the league standings were as follows:
- Houston Roughnecks (5-0): The Roughnecks were the only undefeated team in the league at the time of the suspension. They were led by quarterback P.J. Walker and head coach June Jones.
- Dallas Renegades (2-3): The Renegades were in second place in the XFL West standings at the time of the suspension. They were led by quarterback Landry Jones and head coach Bob Stoops.
- DC Defenders (3-2): The Defenders were in first place.
- St. Louis BattleHawks (3-2): The BattleHawks were in second place in the XFL East standings at the time of the suspension. They were led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and head coach Jonathan Hayes.
- New York Guardians (3-2)
- Los Angeles Wildcats (2-3)
- Seattle Dragons (1-4): The Dragons were in fourth place in the league standings at the time of the suspension. They were led by quarterback Brandon Silvers and head coach Jim Zorn.
- Tampa Bay Vipers (1-4): The Vipers were in fourth place in the league standings at the time of the suspension. They were led by quarterback Taylor Cornelius and head coach Marc Trestman.
It’s worth noting that the XFL’s season was cut short, so it’s not possible to know how the standings would have ended up if the season had continued. The league’s suspension and ultimate folding means that it did not have any official playoffs or a champion.
Vince McMahon & Oliver Luck Lawsuit
In April 2020, Oliver Luck, the commissioner and CEO of the XFL, filed a lawsuit against Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL. The lawsuit was filed after the XFL suspended its 2020 season and filed for bankruptcy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luck’s lawsuit alleged that McMahon and Alpha Entertainment failed to provide the necessary financial support to keep the league afloat and that they were aware of the league’s financial struggles but did not take action to address them. Luck also claimed that McMahon and Alpha Entertainment used league funds for personal expenses, such as funding McMahon’s other ventures, including WWE. The lawsuit sought $23 million in damages.
McMahon responded to the lawsuit by denying the allegations and stating that the league’s suspension and bankruptcy were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that the league had sufficient funds to continue operating. He also stated that the lawsuit was a breach of Luck’s employment contract and that Luck was not entitled to any damages. Luck was also accused of misuse his company phone for personal calls and signing ex-Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway against McMahon’s wishes.
The lawsuit was settled out of court on June 20, 2022.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia, RedBird Capital Partners Buy The XFL
In August 2020, it was announced that Redbird Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia had acquired the assets of the XFL in a bankruptcy auction. The purchase price was not disclosed, but it was reported to be around $15 million. The purchase included the XFL’s trademarks, intellectual property, and other assets.
Redbird Capital Partners, which is led by Gerry Cardinale, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has a history of investing in sports-related businesses, including the YES Network, AC Milan, Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. After the purchase of the XFL, Cardinale said that the company planned to relaunch the league in 2022 with a focus on player development and fan engagement.
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