The XFL pokes fun at the NFL on Superbowl Sunday

It’s been just over a week that the XFL has announced plans to re-launch in 2020, and they’re already attempting to take on the NFL. Not to mention showing moxy, by poking fun on Superbowl Sunday, the NFL’s biggest day of the year.

The XFL twitter account @XFL2020 posted three videos, all poking fun on nuances of the NFL that they feel makes the game less exciting to watch: Confusion over when a catch is a catch, the slow pace of the NFL game, and rules in the NFL that are confusing.

In the XFL, a catch is a catch.

Less stall, more ball.

Simpler rules.

The XFL Kicked-off Seventeen Years Ago Today

On February 3, 2001, the XFL kicked off with two Saturday night games broadcast live in prime time, split into east and west games.

In the west, the Las Vegas Outlaws hosted the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. Moments before the first ever scramble for the red-and-black football, Vince McMahon stood at the 50-yard line of Sam Boyd Stadium, and announced, “This is the XFL!” The sellout crowd was deafening.

The XFL’s quirky scramble for the ball, which replaced the traditional coin toss to determine who would have first choice of possession was the first change the fans witnessed. In the western matchup, Jamel Williams of the Las Vegas Outlaws came up with the ball over Donnie Caldwell of the New York/New Jersey Hitmen.

In the east, the Chicago Enforcers visited the Orlando Rage where fans witnessed Orlando’s Hassan Shamsid-Deen receive a separated shoulder in the opening scramble for the ball. An injury which unfortunately ended his XFL career. The game also saw receiver Kevin Swayne receive a deep pass from Quarterback Jeff Brohm, and score the first ever touchdown in XFL history.

Because of the XFL’s connection to the WWE, there was a notion that wrestling matches might break out. No wrestling took place… just hard-hitting football, played by journeymen who were largely participating for the love of the game.

XFL 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the XFL launching?

An opportunity exists to re-imagine America’s favorite sport by putting fans at the center, while leveraging a changing media landscape and evolving consumer viewing behavior.

Who owns and runs the XFL?

Vince McMahon is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity.

Will teams be owned by the league or will teams be owned and run by independent entities?

The new XFL is a single entity structure with plans for eight teams at launch, all of which will be owned by the league.

When is the XFL launching?

The new XFL is scheduled to launch in early 2020.

Where will teams be located?

The selection of cities will take place over the coming months, and a mix of major and mid-major markets in all regions of the U.S. are possibilities.

Have team nicknames been determined?

Team identities and logos will be revealed after cities are selected.

When will games be played?

Games are being planned for Sundays.

How many games will be played? What’s the postseason structure?

Plans include each team playing a 10-game regular season, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal games followed by a championship game.

How big will team rosters be?

Active rosters will have approximately 40 players.

What will players’ salary structure look like?

The players’ salary structure is still in development, but players will be paid to play, and paid more to win.

Will there be testing for illicit drugs and PEDs?

The XFL’s comprehensive player health and wellness policy will include drug testing.

Reference: XFL.com

Why would anyone think TO is suitable for the XFL?

It came as no suprise to see that “The Sporting News” has asked Terrel Owens if he would play in the XFL.  After all, the media is all about generating clicks, and a Terrel Owens story has to generate a few just on name recognition alone. However, Owen’s response was quite predictable.

“Absolutely not,” Owens told Sporting News on Wednesday. “The XFL is two years away. Vince McMahon, he had a run at that in 2001 and it didn’t really do so well. He’s had a number of years to try to figure it out, and has only two years before it starts up to put it back on the right track.  I don’t foresee it being a great success unless they make some drastic changes to bring together some quality talent and bring together a quality game. That’s what it’s about. He can’t make a mockery of football. He’s looking at it like a business, but you need to have quality with that.” Reference: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/terrell-owens-xfl-return-vince-mcmahon-wide-receiver/bmhztel2bujp1wt46ztslnx7h

Why would anyone think that a 44-year old Terrel Owens was a candidate for the XFL? Sure, he’ s fit, but there are plenty of talented 20-year olds that will be more than suitable for play in the XFL.

Categorize this story as “bashing the XFL”. We’ve seen it before, and we will see plenty more  between now and 2020.

That being said, you’d think TO would be happy to see increased opportunities for young football talent to play the game we all love.

XFL Announcement Conference Call

Below is a written transcript of the XFL Conference Call done with reporters on 25 Jan 2018.

Questions are in bold, with Vince McMahon’s answer, in italics.

  1. Brian Fritz, Sporting News: Vince, I guess the big question now is why do you believe now is the right time to bring back the XFL?
    • Well, football is America’s favourite sport. There is 7 months of no football, and uh, there is 70 million fans, so why not now? Now is a perfect opportunity. I’ve always wanted to bring it back.
  2. What do you think of a lesson you learned from the first time you did the XFL to what you will do now
    • Well I think the most important thing we learned with the older XFL and now the new XFL is the quality of the play. But frankly, we only had a short time in the past to put everything together. We have two years now to really get it right. It’s the quality of the play.
  3. Joe Flint, Wall Street Journal: Hi, Vince talk a little about your media plans. Will you be looking to put this, offer this as a package to the broadcast or cable networks? Or for your own streaming service? What do you think there?
    • Well again, as we reimagine the game we re-imagine the way we distribute the game. I think it’s important to consider the standard way we do this. I also think it’s important to consider the new way, so it’ll probably gonna be a combination of any number of forms of presentation.
  4. Have you had any initial talks with anyone?
    • No, no initial talks not really. We just know interest is there
  5. Brian Campbell, CBS Sports: How will this announcement affect your day to day control of creative decisions of WWE?
    • It won’t affect it at all.
  6. Will you be staying in the same role completely?
    • Yes I will continue to be the CEO and Chairman of the board of WWE.
  7. What type of opportunities do you see available for WWE talent, broadcasters, wrestlers to cross over between brands
    • Thank you for asking, there will be no crossover whatsoever in terms of talent or anything like that from the WWE to the new XFL
  8. Darren Rovell, ESPN: I guess the question I have is what is your role as far as being out in front? Obviously you had a presence in 2001. What will people see of you?
    • Quite frankly this may be the last you see of me in terms of being out front. We’re gonna hire people who really know what they are doing. It won’t be me.
  9. Chris Palmeri, Bloomberg News: Can you say if the controversy about bending knee and the ratings slump that the NFL has had, seeing it play a role in you launching this now?
    • No, I’ve always wanted to relaunch, and have this plan for sometime
  10. Why are you not doing it this time through the WWE?
    • Quite frankly, 100 million dollars to start with is too rich for WWE as far as investments concern
  11. Paul Newberry, AP: I assume this will be the same timeframe you mentioned out of season I assume a spring league with the same timeframe as the old XFL?
    • There will be a spring league, it’ll start end of January, early February and play through. Not exactly a spring league.
  12. Neil Best, Newsday: In terms of the ownership model, will it be franchise or owned all 8 teams? Any idea what cities will be involved?
    • It’ll be single entity, we’re not gonna have the franchise model. We are way away from announcing cities. We are doing research as cities concern, and that’ll be something we announce in the future.
  13. Emma Ockerman, Bloomberg News: I wanted to ask, I know that data analysis and research have been a big part of expanding the WWE Network. Can you explain a little bit about the research backing the demanding of the XFL?
    • Yes, well I’m not gonna make reference to any research that makes reference to WWE, and we’ll get into the research and what have you going forward. We have done a lot of it thus far, with more to come in terms of putting all of this together.
  14. Jackie Waddel, CNN: My question is about concussions and CTE. Obviously this is a huge point of concern with the NFL right now, and getting attention amount fans and the general public. Do you have any plans or ideas about how your going to keep players safe?
    • Reimagining the game of football means you are reimagining it on all levels. This means safety and we will make it as safe as possible. It’s still football, but we will make it as safe as possible.
  15. Any specific measures that you can say?
    • No, not anything specifically except we’re gonna bring in experts in these fields. We’re gonna listen to medical experts and (?) their advice.
  16. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union Tribune: Will President Trump support this in any way even if it’s just with statements? And can you speak to San Diego as a market?
    • I have no idea whether or not President Trump will support this, and let me use this as an opportunity to say that as far as our league is concerned, it’ll have nothing to do with politics. Absolutely nothing to do with social issues either. We’re there to play football. We want really good football. When they tune in, I don’t know they want political issues. They want good football, and that’s what we are going to deliver. And as far as San Diego is concerned, we don’t know yet.
  17. Richard Deitsch, SI: Vince, why are you not concerned with there being oversaturation of football as a product, with the NFL to college football, to CFL to arena league.
    • There’s 7 months where there is no football on the grid iron, and I think if the demand is there, and as well I think the quality of the play. This is going to be a different game, a fan centric game. It will be faster, it will just be a better football game than what everyone else is accustomed to. I think we are going to make our own demand.
  18. John Lassiete: Are you going to suspend players if they have a political opinion, is there going to be no free speech?
    • Well I think this: You know the rules and regulations, as I mentioned. Your gonna have a booklet, whatever it is to make sure all the players understand the rules, as well as everyone else. We intend for everyone to abide by those rules. As the national anthem is concerned which is where you might be going now, I think this: The national anthem is a time honoured tradition, and it played to this day and many many years in the past prior to most athletic events. In our country and other countries. So whatever our rules are, is whatever everyone will abide by. There is plenty of opportunity that the players and coaches can express themselves in terms of personal views as far as social aspects are concerned. Whether it’s Facebook or whatever. But again, we are here to play football. That’s everyone’s job.
  19. Roger Simmons, Atlanta Sentinel: Could you tell us, do you have in your mind a criteria the type of cities you are looking for? Cities that don’t have an NFL franchise?
    • That’s not the criteria. We’re gonna go where fans want us to go. Where there is more interest, and of course there is a lot of factors. We are nowhere near that right now.
  20. John Shumway, KDKA TV Pittsburgh: Are you going to be targeting places that already had the existing NFL type of facilities?
    • Without a doubt, you wanna play football where football is played. And the stadiums. There may be a situation where we play a baseball stadium when a football stadium isn’t available in that market, but nonetheless the intent is the play most specifically where other NFL teams play?
  21. Is Pittsburgh on your radar?
    • Every city, I love Pittsburgh. Every city is on our radar.
  22. John Healy, New York Daily News: You said you wanted to make the game safe, but you also want to make it faster. Is this time to bring back any bigger hits? How are you going to make it possible if it’s gonna be a faster game?
    • Well again, I think that there may not be a halftime for one example, we’re gonna listen to football experts. Their gonna tell us. The goal is to make it a much faster game. Sitting and watching a much faster game is leborious sometimes, sometimes it’s not depending on the quality of the play. But, we intend to have a much faster game. We’re gonna try to get to two hours, that’s our goal. That’s an experience that I think most people would enjoy and it doesn’t take up too much of their time.
  23. Steve Feitl, Asbury Park Press: Obviously the XFL was in the headlines last year when the ESPN documentary came out early in the year. Did the reaction to that play into this decision at all?
    • No, we have been thinking about doing the XFL for many many years. I do think Charlie Ebersol did a great job capturing the interest and the appreciation for each other that Dick Ebersol and I have had and have today. He’s a wonderful human being and we had a blast together in the old XFL.
  24. Did you have any thoughts to giving it a different name this time around?
    • Um, we did, but we kept coming back to the equity of the XFL from a marketing standpoint it was already there. We think it’s a cool name.
  25. Neil Docking, The Daily Mirror: You mentioned there is no TV partner as of yet, will you be looking to have a social media streaming component? And are you exploring broadcasting the product internationally, in the UK for example where there is a growing audience?
    • Yes, I think again, all options are available to us. And I think that’s something that was never there before. We can do any number of things, or a combination of things as well. In terms of traditional platforms, as well as digital and what have you. So, there are many options that are available to us that weren’t before. And again, by simplifying the rules, it makes the XFL (a) more global friendly environment.
  26. Tony Maglio, The Wrap: Just a clarification, will you allow nicknames on the back of jerseys like He Hate Me, and number two ‘cause you mentioned the national anthem thing, just to clarify, will it be in the rules that you have to stand for the national anthem?
    • Well first question I’m not sure about the individuality of the He Hate Me, we’re not there yet, but it’s amazing that people remember that, Rod Smart. That was extraordinary. Whether we do that again, we are gonna listen to football experts, we’re gonna listen to what the audience, what the fans want. As far as the national anthem is concerned, I think again it’s a time honoured tradition to stand and appreciate the national anthem with any sport. In any country they do that, so I think it would be appropriate if we did that.
  27. Ryan Wooley, News Radio 950: You mentioned about streaming the games and the broadcast network, is there a specific network you want to place it on? Is there a specific broadcasting team, national announcers? Local guys? How is that gonna work?
    • That’s all to be determined. There’s interest with everyone. There’s interest in traditional networks, there’s interested in a lot of areas. And again, we can have a different feed and different customized feed for anyone. By doing that, you can appeal to the older audience, and a younger audience as well. You can give them what they want and how they want it.
  28. You say your still looking for teams and places to place the teams, do you see old teams coming back? Or will everything be all new?
    • I think everything will be all new, but if theres something from the past that you want to bring back, we aren’t constrained to do that. We are reimagining the XFL as well.
  29. Jimmie Traina, SI.com: Will any invites be submitted to players like Johnny Maziel, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick?
    • Well I think this, that one of the things that I said was the quality of the human being is very important and just as important as the quality of the player, what I mean by that is you want someone who does not have any criminality whatsoever associating with them. In the XFL, even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL. That will probably eliminate some of them, not all of them. If Tim Tebow wants to play, he could very well play.
  30. Rob Wollard, AFP: Could you clarify on the players that will be allowed to play in the league, would Colin Kaepernick be welcome in the league?
    • Again I think anyone who plays the game of football well and meets our criteria in terms of the quality of the human being as well as the player, why not? As long as everyone abides by the rules as laid down.
  31. Just to clarify, you would have to standing during the national anthem?
    • Your gonna know them (the rules) before you sign on to the XFL, so I assume anyone who signs on is going to abide by those rules.
  32. Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald: Any thought with broadcasting with Jim Ross, Jessie Ventura, do you know if there will be a crossover?
    • There will be no crossover whatsoever.
  33. Justin Barrasso: What drives you for this process?
    • I think this: I’m gonna hire professionals, people who really know what they are doing. I’m gonna take a backseat to that, I’m not gonna be out front.
  34. Did you seek her opinion (Linda McMahon) on this decision?
    • No.
  35. Will there be specific differences on the field between the XFL and the NFL?
    • I think there will be a lot of differences. The big difference will be what do the fans want.

(Transcript reference: http://www.wrestlingheads.com/?p=18381)

New XFL Kicks Off In 2020 (Official Announcement)

STAMFORD, CONN. – Professional football will be reimagined when the new XFL kicks off in early 2020, Vince McMahon announced in a live stream event today.

The XFL will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including shorter, fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.

Plans for the XFL at launch include eight teams, 40-man active rosters and a 10-week regular-season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.

“The new XFL is an exciting opportunity to reimagine America’s favorite sport,” said McMahon. “As we move towards kickoff, we look forward to listening and implementing innovative ideas from players, coaches, medical experts, technology executives, the media and most importantly football fans.”

McMahon, a visionary and an accomplished business executive, is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity. McMahon will continue as WWE Chairman & CEO.

Relive the full streamed announcement at XFL.com and YouTube (youtube.com/xflofficial). For the latest updates, follow the XFL on Facebook (facebook.com/xfl), Twitter (@xfl2020) and Instagram (@xfl), and be sure to join in on the conversation using #XFL2020.

Rumors Aside, Fans Should Take a Big Bite of a World Without the XFL

(Originally posted on TheFanForce.com)

Just like Andy Kaufman and the venerable Elvis, the XFL’s death was unsure and frought with rumors of revival. In the end the fans have lost out! The XFL’s revival will only be seen in the NFL’s new camera angles and the play of stars like LA Xtreme’s Tommy Maddox.

“Vince McMahon is a marketing genius. Everything he touches is golden.”

How many times had we heard these words when the XFL was first founded? It seemed like the thing to say at the time, especially for all the disillusioned football fans that were looking for something exciting to compete with the stodgy NFL.

The truth is that Vince McMahon IS a marketing genius. The marketing of the XFL leading up to the February 3rd kickoff was pure genius. The XFL surprised the sports world when over 10 million people tuned in to watch the first game.

The truth is also that everything he touches IS NOT golden. Here we have the proof.

Apparently even Vince McMahon has bosses. Namely the WWFE shareholders.

Once the inaugural XFL season was completed there was plenty to decide about the XFL. McMahon wouldn’t let on as to how much trouble the league was in. His only response to anyone who asked was that “there will definitely be another season.” Little did we know that Vince McMahon did not dare say anything else, lest the WWF stock dip even further.

WWFE shares had been falling from the start. Ever since the XFL was announced the stock had dove. Part of this was due to the entire stock market making a correction, but part of the blame was still directly on the shoulders of the XFL.

But who can actually fault the XFL? It was the media that had the public convinced that the XFL was a huge failure. The truth was that the XFL would have probably lost about $25 million on this first season and then lose an additional $10 million for two more years. Then the league would probably become a moneymaker. These loss figures were actually part of the original business plan for the league.

But what about the TV deal?

The truth is that losing the Saturday night slot on NBC was not part of the XFL’s failure. The XFL knew that the Saturday night experiment was a failure and was content to move the games to Sunday afternoons. The league also apparently had TNN ready to be the flagship network of the XFL’s Sunday afternoon broadcasts. The bottom line is that this would have downgraded the XFL’s broadcasting power to that of a minor league, equivalent to that of the Arena League or NFL Europe. But let the truth be told, the XFL was actually on this level.

So everything was in place for a second season, right?

Not so fast! This plan, as congenial as it sounds to sports fans, was not enough to appease stock analysts.

It was felt that without glowing good news about the XFL the WWFE stock would further decline. This could not happen. The WWF had already lost millions over the stock decline. Any further decline would create losses that would dwarf the mere $25 million that the corporation had lost through the XFL startup year.

On the other hand, news of the WWFE dropping the XFL would probably cause the stock to rebound.

So this is what happened. Quickly and decisively on May 10th the league was closed and the WWFE stock immediately showed signs of recovery.

Meanwhile, coaches, players, front office staff and most importantly, THE FANS were shocked.

The only hope came from a determined Mike Keller, the XFL’s Director of Football Operations, when it was reported on May 11th, 2001 in USA Today that he was going to try to keep this league alive: “Keller, it seems, already is talking about possibly keeping the XFL alive. “I’m going to assess things,” he said. “The branding of this thing is something to consider. The XFL is one of the best-known brands in sports now.”

Later in July, a rumor was leaked that Mike Keller was about to fail in his endeavor. In the end it was apparent that Mike Keller would not be allowed to continue the league, as he could not be allowed to succeed where Vince McMahon had one failed.

Now, with heavy hearts, I am here to represent the TRUE FANS of the XFL in pronouncing the XFL officially dead.

There will be some people that will call us fools for hanging on this long waiting for the league to be revived. But those that do so can shake their heads in disbelief all they want.

It was the true fans of the XFL that continued to believe that this new league could continue because it was simply a great idea.

Those true sports fans that actually stuck it out and watched the games and honestly enjoyed it will always wonder why such a good thing was considered to be so bad.

Comments

TheFanForce Responds:

Replies: 5 comments

O.K ths XFL is dead.But why Can’t other products live on? Like A video game,& Sports wear, How about an offical XFL fantasy football league by the WWF! Offering the winning franchise a million bucks! What would be the buy in? I just wish I could at least look foreward to playing a XFL PS2 video game by EA or Dreamcast! Somebody comment at my address. – Posted by Shaun Harrod @ 07/26/2001 03:18 PM CST

I sorely regret the end of this exciting, innovative, and different football league! all who had a part in it’s demise, and all who criticized it, will soon be lamenting the fact that they never realized what a good thing they had untill they lost it. What a fresh break it was from the dull and monotonous games of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, etc etc. It was real people(players), virtually equal in ability, viewed by real everyday people, and commentary that was entertaining and interesting (not just stats relentlessly bombarding uncaring and uninterested ears). The XFL’s first and (hopefully not) only season-WAS THE BEST SPORT SEASON OF ANY SPORT IN THE LAST TEN YEARS! – Posted by The Count @ 07/26/2001 09:44 AM CST

I was hoping somebody would purchase the XFL and revive it. I thoroughly enjoyed the games and attended several live myself, including the first game in Chicago in the cold and the rain. With a major decline in the NBA ratings, I still think the XFL could survive, especially without a TV network being half owner. This kept the major sporting news services, such as ESPN (Owned by ABC) to give anything positive about the league. I assume the XFL will never revive, but I can always hope it will be. – Posted by Bill @ 07/23/2001 09:38 PM CST

The XFL Better Not Be Dead. Because The NFL Sucks! – Posted by Tommy Beck @ 07/22/2001 08:06 PM CST

We miss this League. – Posted by Sal @ 07/20/2001 05:05 PM CST

Message to the Sports World: Don’t Write Off the XFL

(20 April 2001) — As the first ever XFL season comes to a closing, let’s take some time to recollect some of the many exciting moments of the inaugural season.

In the first televised game in XFL history, the game of football was presented to Sin City. In this opening day shutout, the world was introduced to none other than “He Hate Me”, Rod Smart. This nickname took off to become one of the most popular nicknames in modern day sports. And, although many people have come up with their own version of his nickname, Rod Smart proved that he was the one hated by many.

In the second weekend, names like John Avery, Tommy Maddox and Jermaine Copeland were uncovered as the Chicago Enforcers and Los Angeles Xtreme took it to each other for four quarters and two overtimes.

Week number three proved that Mike Pawlawski was one of the best quarterbacks in the league as he and Terry Battle fought back late in the game as the San Francisco Demons scored 13 points to defeat the Memphis Maniax.

Jim Druckenmiller introduced himself to the XFL world as the Memphis Maniax beat the Xtreme in what was the messiest and wettest game of the year.

In week number five, Jeff Brohm and the Rage proved themselves to be for real as they became the only 5-0 team in the league. This week also proved to be the turning point for the Chicago Enforcers regular season as a last second LeShon Johnson touchdown defeated the Dealers of Doom, Las Vegas Outlaws 15-13.

Thinking they were on a role, the Chicago Enforcers traveled to Memphis who soon brought Chicago back down to earth with a last second Druckenmiller touchdown pass to Hobbs. ‘Druck’ also passed for over 400 yards in week six.

On March 18, the Orlando Rage finally experienced what a loss felt like. At the hands of Tommy Maddox and the Xtreme, Orlando was demolished by a score of 31-6. Orlando also lost Jeff Brohm for the rest of the season, which later proves to be fatal to the team’s success.

Week number eight…the Birmingham Bolts become the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention and the Orlando Rage become the first team to clinch a bid for the million dollars waiting at the end.

Only two weeks left and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen need just one victory to clinch their play-off spot. But, the Enforcers have other plans as Kevin McDougal and LeShon Johnson carry the team into a second place tie in the East Division.

The final week of the season, and still three play-off seeds are open. Los Angeles and Chicago help themselves with big wins over San Francisco and Orlando, respectively. Due to a Las Vegas loss, San Francisco is in the play-offs as well.

The first ever XFL play-offs…as expected, these games proved to be exciting! Like usual, the XFL comes through again with tons of action as the San Francisco comes back from a 16-0 deficit to defeat the team with the best record, Orlando Rage. And, in the rematch of the best game of the Inaugural Season, the Chicago Enforcers literally hand the game over to the Xtreme in Los Angeles. This sets up a tie-breaker between the San Francisco Demons and Los Angeles Xtreme in the ‘Million Dollar Game’.

Recalling some of these games or moments might have given you goosebumps. As you know, all of the games in the first ever XFL season were very exciting and most of them came down to last minute touchdowns, or last minute turnovers. Even with a short, 10-week season, the XFL provided enough big plays and memorable moments to last a long time.

This league has a lot to be proud of as it broke barriers in many aspects of sporting broadcasts. Although it does not admit its liking of the XFL, NFL officials have gone on the record saying it will incorporate some of the great ideas the XFL has introduced to the game of football. The XFL must take pride in its accomplishments, look at its strong spots and improve its weaknesses, a task which is already under way.

Even though the Chicago Enforcers were beat by the Xtreme, I am proud of the effort my team put forth this season. Coming back from an 0-4 start to make the play-offs is no easy task. But, they did it and gave Chicago something to talk about in the sports society.

With one full season under our belts, we, the die-hard fans of the new football league, must all stand proud. The media was against us before we even started the season, and we stood tall drawing better television ratings than MLS, golf, NHL, arena football, NBA on NBC, the NHL All-Star game, and the NFL’s All-Pro game. More season tickets were sold in its inaugural season than what was anticipated, thus the league averaged an astounding 23,000 fans in attendance per game. Not bad for a start-up league!!

Personally, I am proud to be an XFL fan and will continue to wear my Chicago Enforcers gear in the off-season. I look forward to the day the Enforcers main office calls my house to ask me if I want to renew my season tickets…my response will be “Hell Yeah!” I am proud to admit that I was part of those 1.6, 1.7, etc television ratings every Saturday night on NBC and Sunday night on UPN. And, I will be the first one to stick it to the media when our league, the fans league, the XFL, makes its return in 2002.

As this article and the XFL Inaugural Season comes to an end, my friends, it is now time to go back to my “Chicago Fans Only Enforcers Supporters” article. To my team, the Chicago Enforcers, I now applaud for the effort you put forth this season making every minute of every game exciting. You turned a dismal season into one that opened the eyes of an entire league. And, although you fell short in the end, I continue to applaud and support the XFL…

…and, I ask those true, die-hard XFL fans to do this with me upon the completion of this Saturday’s ‘Million Dollar Game’. After the game, I will remove my Chicago Enforcers hat, tip it to Vince McMahon and his XFL staff for putting together such an awesome, entertaining football league, a league that actually cares about us, the people in the stands or watching on television. To Vince McMahon and his staff, I can’t wait until the second season.

And, to the rest of the world, don’t write off the XFL!

— Troy Pringle – ChiEnforcers1@xflboard.com

The XFL’s Xclamation Point On Saturday

The football experts predicted that LA would make it to the championship. San Fran wasn’t expected to be there.

(19 April 2001) — It’s been a wild season for the XFL. The misunderstood league has had a lot of ups and downs in it’s first year. No sports league has ever recieved more scrutiny then the XFL. The league is trying to carve out a niche for itself in a sporting world that is not willing to accept it. Saturday Night at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the LA Xtreme are pumped up to claim one million dollars and the XFL’s very first championship. They face the league’s most popular team and their California rival, the San Fransisco Demons. The football experts predicted that LA would make it to the championship. San Fran wasn’t expected to be there.

There are so many storylines developing for this game. The playoffs were a mild success for the league this past weekend. The ratings were up on both NBC and UPN. The NBC telecast went up 20 percent and the UPN game on Easter sunday went up 5 percent. With all that being stated, it appears that the Million Dollar Game will be the XFL’s final broadcast on NBC, at least in primetime. NBC, part owner of the league, has a iron-clad contract with the XFL for 2 seasons. If NBC were to part ways with the league, they would have to pay a penalty somewhere in the range of 10 to 30 million dollars. That sum would cover their end of the bargain for the second season of the XFL. Unless NBC moves the game to a better timeslot or to one of it’s cable partners. This is it, Saturday Night is most likely, the XFL’s final broadcast on NBC. They wanted the XFL to save saturday nights and to help replace their NFL loss. It didn’t work. The expectation level was too high for a brand new sports league.

So here we are, On NBC, Saturday Night at 8pm eastern, 5pm pacific, 1 million dollars is up for grabs and the future of these players pro careers is also on the line. The winner walks away with the XFL’s very first championship and 1 million dollars, the loser gets absolutely nothing. The pressure level will reach epic proportions on saturday night. The LA Xtreme and Demons have met twice this year. At Pac Bell Park in Week One, the Demons beat LA in dramatic fashion with a game winning field goal, in what was perhaps one of the XFL’s best games this season. In week 10, LA avenged that loss with a 24 to nothing shout out at home. Round 3 begins this saturday night with all the marbles up for grabs. The XFL’s offensive player of the year, Tommy Maddox has finally matured into a quality quarterback. The UCLA star left college at the tender age of 19 and was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He was brought in to eventually replace Denver Icon John Elway. Not a good situation for him. Maddox ended up as a backup for the Giants and Rams. He barely played and was jettisoned out of the league. The XFL and Al Luginbill provided Tommy Maddox with the opportunity to prove himself as a leader. Luginbill’s history with developing quarterbacks is very good. The evidence: Kurt Warner in NFL Europe. Maddox was not even projected as LA’s starter. The Xtreme selected Scott Milanovich with their first ever draft pick. Maddox outplayed him in camp and the rest is history. Tommy is now being courted by the NY Jets, the Chiefs and several other NFL teams. This may be his last ever XFL game. If he falls on his face, he may ruin his chance to get back to the NFL. Talk about pressure. The Xtreme is the league’s most talented team. No one would argue that point. The Xtreme wideouts are very talented and this will be their stage to prove themselves. Peyton Manning’s favorite target at Tennessee, Jeremaine Copeland has been the best pro wideout outside of the NFL the last two years. Copeland broke the pro record for receptions in a game last year with NFL Europe. This year, He has led the XFL in receiving. Copeland is joined by Kansas State Star, Darnell McDonald. McDonald averaged a touchdown a game this season thanks to his 6’4 220 pound frame. These two great young talents are joined by young NFL vets, Damon Gibson and Damon Dunn. In the backfield, Saladin McCollough is emerging as a great young back. He is backed up young NFL vets, Ken Oxendine and Rashan Sheehee. The offensive line is led by a monster in Jerry Crafts. The nearly 400 pound tackle has provided great protection this season along by his side has been good young pro prospects in Bobby Singh and Chris Brymer. The LA defense has NFL vets like Leomont Evans, Jamal Duff and Ron Carpenter but their strength is their youth. Al Luginbill attempts to add another championship this saturday to his mantle.

The most fascinating story by far in this game is Demons Head Coach, Jim Skipper. Skipper left a cushy job in the NFL as Giants assistant head coach/running backs coach to join the XFL. He left right before the 2000 NFL Season to pursue his dream. Skipper watched as his former team, the Giants got to a superbowl last year. Skipper left the Giants becuase he wanted so badly to become a head coach and in the NFL, the opportunity was not there for a great african american assistant like Jim Skipper. His dream was to be a head coach and he had waited long enough. He couldn’t wait anymore and now he has gotten the opportunity to live out his dream with the San Fransisco Demons. The XFL has been a dream league for hardcore football fans and for pro football players and coaches who want to showcase their skills. Skipper has done a fantastic job with his team. The Demons have been hampered by injuries to their roster all season long, but they battled through adversity to surprise the critics. The offense is led by California legends, Mike Pawlawski and Pat Barnes. Pawlawski has battled through serious neck injuries to get to where he is now. Barnes has been a quality NFL backup and he has proven himself as a starter in college and NFL Europe. It looks like Skipper has a tough decision to make at Quarterback if Pawlawski is healthy. Barnes was fantastic last week in Orlando and it will be hard to sit him for this game. The Demons offense has been riddled with injuries but they have found alot of good young talents for the future in Calvin Anderson and Brian Roberson. Their passing attack runs through CFL Star, Jimmy Cunningham. The 5’7″ star has always played bigger then his stature and he is one of the league’s most exciting players. The San Fran defense has also played well this year and they are led by NFL veterans like Craig Powell, Dwayne Harper and Toby Wright. Their young defensive stars like Eric England, Jermaine Miles and Wendell Davis have also played extremely well. The football coaching and playing talent is there on both teams and their dreams and hopes have come down to this big game.

This is it, the final showcase for the XFL in year one. The stakes are high for both teams on so many levels. In a way, the XFL has one final chance to show what the league is all about. This is their showcase game. It could be the final XFL game for many of these players. Some will move on to the NFL. Some will be let go next season. For the league as a whole, People have been told to expect a second season. NBC or not. It remains to be seen whether or not, the XFL will continue on. If they don’t have a second season. Then Saturday will be their last ever game. The Xclamation point of a wild year and the Xclamation point to yet another football league.

— Mike Mitchell – MMitchell@xflboard. com