The XFL is back.
No, seriously. The XFL is back.
The XFL was a pro football league that played its only season in 2001. A joint venture between Vince McMahon’s WWF (now WWE) and NBC, the XFL was supposed to provide a higher-octane, more entertaining style of football than the NFL. (Remember Rod “He Hate Me” Smart?) But the product on the field was inferior, the TV ratings were poor and McMahon himself declared the XFL to be a “colossal failure.”
Or maybe it was just way ahead of its time. Nineteen years later, McMahon is giving the XFL another try as the reincarnated brand’s first season kicks off Feb. 8. The eight-team league consists of the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks and Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL East, and the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats and Seattle Dragons in the XFL West.
Football fans will recognize many of the XFL’s players and coaches from their previous stints in the NFL, CFL and college ranks. For some players, the XFL is a chance to reboot their football careers. For others, it’s a chance to display talents that might’ve been overlooked at the pro level in the past.
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and FS2 will combine to televise every game of the 10-week XFL regular season. Playoffs will air April 18-19 on FOX and ESPN, and the championship game will air April 26 on ESPN.
That is provided the XFL can survive the spring. Recent history is not encouraging. The Alliance of American Football launched last year, struggled financially and folded before it could complete its first season.
We know of at least one famous fan who’s excited: