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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The XFL: The Short-Lived Dream of Vince McMahon

McMahon speaks about creating a team in Dallas before the league had begun. (Youtube)

What does the future hold for the XFL?

Vince McMahon, the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), first started the Xtreme Football League (XFL) back in 2001 but failed to keep it afloat for more than one season. 19 years later, he was reliving his dream as the XFL was officially back on its feet with eight teams competing on national television every week. Though, after only five weeks of operation, McMahon was forced to shut down the XFL indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many were quick to question how McMahon was able to restart the league in the first place despite its previous economic troubles. It was revealed that he acquired a large percentage of the funds needed for the XFL by selling over 100 million dollars worth of his WWE stock. While McMahon still has a large percentage of his net worth invested in the WWE which is keeping afloat amidst the current global pandemic, it is still very unlikely he will be able to self-fund the league as he did for the inaugural season.

Before COVID-19 ended their season, the XFL was averaging over 3 million viewers per game and there did not appear to be any financial worries. Even when play was first suspended, all players and employees were paid their full-season salary. Though shortly after, the XFL began to release a large number of its employees, and it was later announced that the XFL’s parent company, Alpha Entertainment, had filed for bankruptcy which effectively ended the XFL’s short-lived dream.

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The XFL publicly thanked all the fans and supporters of their league and currently do not have plans to continue into the 2021 season.

What was the XFL?

The original purpose of the XFL was to attract football fans who wanted to watch more action and physicality than the National Football League (NFL) had to offer. This idea of rule changes continued to be part of McMahon’s business plan going forward in 2020. Two years prior to the league’s formation he hired Oliver Luck, the father of retired NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, to help redesign some of the rules without sacrificing player safety. 

Both leagues play under the same basic rules of football, but the XFL did not want to replicate the NFL, so they decided to modify a couple of rules to change up the gameplay. 

This infographic will show examples of the small rules and gameplay changes designed by the XFL in the two years prior to its opening.  

In 2020, however, McMahon had another approach when it came to increasing viewership. By starting the season soon after the NFL season ended, McMahon hoped to attract fans eager for more football, which he partially succeeded in doing. D.C.’s XFL team, the Defenders, was selling tickets ranging from 24 to 170 dollars while it’s NFL counterpart, the Washington Redskins, was selling tickets for as low as four dollars last fall. 

“I personally had no interest in the XFL after the season ended, but I can see why it was so exciting for many fans”

Alex Camel-Toueg, a self-proclaimed Redskins superfan and WIS junior

What does the future hold for XFL players?

The XFL was seen as a second chance for many players who didn’t make it to the NFL, and when the season officially ended NFL teams were allowed to sign former XFL players for the following NFL season. The most notable signing was P.J. Walker who had been released from the Indianapolis Colts after only two years. He went on to lead the XFL in passing yards and touchdowns while playing for the Houston Roughnecks and is now a backup quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. 

Although there are a handful of players who received NFL contracts, most will not be able to play professional football again without the XFL. Quarterback Josh Johnson, who has played for 13 different NFL teams over his 12-year professional football career, has likely seen the end of his football career after his lone season with the Los Angeles Wildcats.

Vince McMahon once said in an interview, “If I lived through whatever the adversarial position was, I won. No matter what happens, if I’m still breathing in and out, I won.” The XFL is sadly dead but McMahon isn’t, so there is always a chance the XFL will reappear in the future.

by Jonas Tomkin

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