21 November 2000
There have been some good moments and some bad moments in this trip that we call the rise of the XFL.
This latest moment, brought to you by ESPN the magazine and Vince McMahon himself, has left most people baffled as to how it should be defined.
In the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, Vince McMahon has quoted that XFL players not only will be allowed to date the cheerleaders, they'll even be encouraged to do so. "Yes, our cheerleaders will date our players," McMahon has said. "Yes, they'll be hot babes ... We're going to have three or four of them surround our announcers -- who'll be sitting in the stands, by the way... then, when the quarterback fumbles or the wideout drops a pass -- and we know who he's dating -- I want our reporters right back in her face on the sidelines demanding to know whether the two of them did the wild thing last night."
Do the Wild Thing?
First, a note to the underage crowd reading this, "the wild thing" means mixing Pop Rocks and Pepsi Cola.
Now the media is all over this interview. They are taking all sorts of tangents from this story, expanding in many different directions about what will happen when the first XFL game is played on the 3rd of February.
Those of us who have been following the XFL from the start know full well that when Vince McMahon did this interview he was doing what he does best - building hype for his new league.
It may be true that the cheerleaders will be featured more than in the NFL. Most of the XFL demographic looks forward to this aspect of the new league. One of the problems that the XFL has is that they are trying to break into a market dominated by the NFL, and the NFL has most of the marquee players that are in football today.
The truth is that the XFL has a real mountain to climb when it comes to building respect towards their product which will be on the football field come the 3rd of February. The XFL is looking for a trump card upon which to build their league. After all they are attempting to put this whole thing together in less than 12 months.
What they have come up with is WWF style "smack" talk. Of course, the mainstream media is eating this stuff up like crazy. In the past week, McMahon and his gang has been in most major media outlets in one way or another, whether it is the cheerleaders, the Jesse Ventura announcement or the ESPN article comments. And there is no such thing as bad publicity.
It will be interesting to see what the media will have to say in the final days leading up to the first XFL game. A good prediction is that most media reports, whether they be positive or negative, will have the public watching the game on the night of February 3rd.
Expectations will be high. Expectations will cover the entire spectrum.
Maybe some will watch for a chance to see a folding chair wielded on the sidelines or maybe to see a cage be lowered over the field. Others will watch just to see those ever so beautiful and sexy cheerleaders. Some others will be watching because they love the game of football and they want to be there just in case a game breaks out.
And Vince wouldn't have it any other way. McMahon and his marketers in Stamford, CT are working hard to create a stir with this league. The remarks made in ESPN magazine were not a mistake. They were calculated comments made by a master showman.
You can bet that on February 3rd, while the frenzied media, the testosterone filled demographic and the starved football fans are watching the inaugural XFL game, Vince McMahon and his XFL cronies will be sitting back, lighting up big fat cigars and laughing all the way.
And we salute them.
If you are a football purist, don't panic. On the 3rd of February, the football game will be real. There might be more to watch than the game though, so sit back, relax, light up yourself a big fat cigar, and enjoy the show.