Vince McMahon had to give up on the XFL for a second time as the league went into bankruptcy back in April. This left many fans wondering, “What would have happened if McMahon kept the league going?”
After the XFL went into bankruptcy, it was speculated that Vince McMahon might put in a bid to buy it back. It turned out that McMahon stated later that he would not try to retrieve the league.
Of course, fans were treated with the news in early August that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital were buying the XFL for $15 million. While excitement has filled many fans’ hearts, some have criticized McMahon for selling the league too soon. The problem was McMahon had reportedly spent about $200 million from 2018 to 2020.
This has left many to wonder what if McMahon would have stuck it out. Would he be doing things differently for season two of the reboot? Would teams change locations? Would different players be brought in? While this is all speculation as we will never know the truth, it does leave many possibilities that could have happened for McMahon’s XFL.
Possible Scenarios For McMahon’s XFL
XFL Moves Season to Fall 2020
ProFootballTalk’s Mike Folio first suggested the idea with college football conferences like the Big Ten and the Pac-12 postponing their seasons. Folio suggested having teams filled with mostly college players and 8-16 teams playing in one city.
The reality is this couldn’t happen with the current situation for the XFL. It would take too much work in hiring personnel, staff, coaches, and players back in about a month. Players would need time to get back into shape and learn their coaches’ systems. This would result in poor play on the field with a rushed product.
This could have worked if Vince McMahon still owned the XFL. If the staff and players were furloughed. The league would have had staff, coaches, and players available with the exception of players like P.J. Walker and Jordan Ta’amu in the NFL.
McMahon could have moved the league to a city and played the remaining games with the players they have now. Fox and ESPN would still be available to broadcast the games and would have been excited to show live sports. They could nab some college football opt-outs to join the league. The XFL could have played on Saturdays to replace college football.
Would this have been hard to put together? Possibly due to timing, but it would have been easier than the current situation. McMahon could have taken advantage of the situation and see the league grow in popularity. He could have done that or waited until the Spring.
Teams Play in Bubble Spring 2021
The XFL was making this pitch during the bankruptcy process suggesting a 12 week tournament between the eight teams. They would play in one location like a bubble and broadcast the games as a television event. This appears to be the idea that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital bought into.
McMahon could have considered the same idea that could have saved the league some money by paying for one venue. They would still have the majority of their personnel still with the league. It could have given them more time to find new talent in free agency or college.
If college football came into the picture in the Spring, the XFL could move their start date to April or May. While it isn’t an ideal situation for the league, they would have less competition to deal with.
Speculation was swirling about what the XFL was planning on doing with some of their teams. Fours teams came into the conversation: New York Guardians, LA Wildcats, Tampa Bay Vipers, and Dallas Renegades.
In this scenario with McMahon still owning the league, commissioner Oliver Luck could have decided to move Tampa Bay to Orlando as a new location. The LA Wildcats were discussed as being moved to possible Arizona or another California city like San Diego. New York might have stayed in the area, but a new venue was an option to find a smaller field for them to play instead of MetLife Stadium. As for the Renegades, the rumor was they might have moved to San Antonio due to the success of the folded AAF team Commanders.
Due to COVID-19’s effect on the economy, expansion might not have seem to be the best idea, but potentially adding two teams could have been on the table. Cities like Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Chicago were discussed as real targets for expansion. The city of Birmingham, Alabama has been fighting hard for an XFL team to join their city. That could have been another possibility for the league.
Implementing New Rule Changes
There were suggested rule changes prior to the season that didn’t make the final cut in their rule book. There were small things the league would be interested in adding or subtracting to the rules. Rule changes are unlikely to happen now, but McMahon’s XFL would have had time to make the necessary changes.
The XFL was considering not legalizing fair catches and going with the five-yard halo rule like the original XFL had. In the end, this was scratched and they allowed fair catches. The league put an emphasis on returns especially on kickoffs. Bringing this rule back adds excitement to the game and puts an importance on punt returns.
The point-after conversions didn’t quite go the way the league was hoping. After the first weekend of XFL play, no team went for a three-point conversion. This number would increase, but not nearly as high as the league was hoping. Coaches played it conservatively as they went for one and two-point conversions. Eliminating the one-point conversion could add more excitement to the game and force coaches to go for more points.
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