It has been 17 years since the XFL last played a game, but come 2020, Vince McMahon, the owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, will unveil the start of the XFL once again. The announcement was made on Jan. 25, where McMahon announced that the league would kick-off in January or February of
McMahon announced that the league will start off with a ten week schedule that consists of 8 teams. These teams are yet to be announced, but McMahon did state that he wanted the teams to reside where the NFL had markets in. The expected names of the teams and their locations will be made official in 2019.
Also, in his announcement he stated that the new league would forbid any player from making a political statement on the field during games. When it comes to the XFL draft, any player that has a criminal record will not be considered to play in the league.
Many people are wondering why now after so many years and the “colossal failure” as McMahon has stated the previous XFL was, to unveil a new brand of XFL football. But, with the success of the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary titled This Was the XFL, a new interest was peaked for the old league. It is also hard to deny although McMahon will not state it, that with the current dip in NFL ratings this past year, maybe a new look at professional football could succeed.
It would have to depend on a certain number of things to occur, and it seems that McMahon is open to try a couple different tweaks to the way pro football is played. Namely one of them would be to keep the entire game time down to less than two hours, as opposed to the normal three hour game. It is uncertain how this would be done, but with the time that McMahon has to figure out his new league, an idea can surely be made.
That is also another good strategy that undoubtedly hurt the last run of the league, and that is the time to prepare. When the XFL was last announced in March of 2000, the kick-off to the league’s first game was in February of 2001. With the league not planning to start until 2020, more time is made for rules, where teams will play, and also the kind of players that will eventually play on the field. Who knows, maybe at the start of 2019 a top college athlete could be persuaded to play for a team in the new league. Much like what happened with Herschel Walker did in 1983 when he decided to play for the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. If something like this could happen it would gain serious interest and solidify the XFL.
One thing though is for certain. And it bears in mind pointing out, that whatever McMahon does with this new league, he needs to stay away from the gimmickry that plagued the old XFL. From the scantily clad cheerleaders to the name personalization on the back of the jersey. The new XFL needs to stay away from this as much as possible if it even has the slightest chance of success. McMahon himself, has stated that much would need to change from what happened prior in the old league, and this no doubt is one.
The type of play too, will be a key factor in making the XFL a success. Any new league experiences teething issues in their first year. The XFL in 2001 was full of sloppy play and bloopers of all sorts. It will be a tough challenge to present a new league that is exciting to watch and doesn’t come off as second rate in the eyes of fans watching.
Previously, the old XFL was a split partnership with NBC and McMahon. Now the XFL is all McMahon’s, and that brings to the question of where on television will we see the games? That much is still in the works as at the time of this writing an announcement has not been named for a television deal. In his launch announcement, McMahon has cited interest in streaming the game live on a number of platforms, but nothing for certain has been made yet.
It seems as if McMahon wants his legacy as an entrepreneur to have that final stamp on it by having a pro football league that is a success. He has pretty much done everything that there is in the world of pro wrestling, and McMahon has never taken to failure kindly. He has never fully given up on the dream of having his own football league, and now it appears that it could be another possibility.
It is true that McMahon would have to do a many number of things to make the league a threat to the NFL. But, given the time that he has to come up with a new look on pro football anything is possible. What kind of XFL will fans see in 2020? Nothing is certain, but it could all be new and exciting to watch.