So Vince McMahon is bringing it back, the XFL returns in 2020. The big question is will it be successful second time around?
Let’s answer this by first asking what is, or more appropriately, what was the XFL? In 2001 McMahon launched his alternative to the ‘No Fun League’ (NFL) and it was brilliant! Gone was the coin toss, instead players has to scramble for the ball, no more fair catches, WWE (WWF as it was back then) commentators calling the action, The Rock on the field introducing the players and not forgetting the cheerleaders that weren’t exactly covered up. The fans wanted blood and it was served up. So what went wrong? You could split the XFL into two sections, gimmicks and bad football. The gimmicks soon wore off and the bad football turned viewers off. So much so, after just one season, the XFL was done… Or so we thought.
Now it’s back, what do we know? Well truth be told not a lot really. We know the league returns in the spring of 2020 with shorter, quicker games of about 2 hours. There will be 8 teams but no news on where in the world they will be from. Do you have a criminal record? Well you won’t be able to play, this rules out Johnny Manziel who has already expressed an interest. Politics will not be a part of it, something that has thrown the NFL into controversy and the players will have to stand for the national anthem.
In answer to my original question, will it work this time? The XFL has every reason to be optimistic and this is because the world is a very different place now compared to 2001. The internet and social media have made the world a much smaller place. In 2001 I had only heard of the XFL because I watched wrestling and it wasn’t on TV in the UK. Thanks to social media I knew about the about the launch of XFL 2020 within minutes and this will be the case for any news in the next 2 years. A spring league is perfect as it fills the void left by the NFL and fans that want to watch football won’t have to wait until September. It also takes them out of competing with the NFL, a battle not many would back the XFL to win. Let’s not forget the XFL did have some good innovations, we have the XFL to thank for the wide use of Skycam for example. McMahon has already hinted at new ways of digitally broadcasting content and with the success of the WWE Network, already has vast experience in how that would work.
In conclusion, McMahon would not want to risk a failure again. He has given himself 2 years to get this right and by giving so little away at this early stage enables him to listen to feedback and advice. It seems that the gimmicks are gone but what about the standard of football? Only time will tell… but let’s hope they keep the cheerleaders.