(26 September 2000) — I was at an airport last year waiting for a connecting flight, and waiting out the time by spending it in the airport bar, and having a very expensive, but cold and refreshing beer. On the bar television was wrestling. No, not Olympic wrestling, but WWF wrestling.
A middle aged woman, sitting in the next table was watching the television with a dumbfounded look on her face. She turned to me and asked, “Is that real.” She had a thick British accent, and when I inquired sure enough she was not from North America. I took the opportunity to explain to her what she was watching.
Sure enough, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The “faked” wrestling matches, the behind the scenes bickering, the scantly clad women and the ridiculous storyline were all too much for her.
Flash forward one year. The same people who brought us WWF Wrestling will now be bringing us the XFL. Here we go again! Faked football games, ridiculous storylines and behind the scenes bickering. We’ll see all of this, won’t we?
This is a very confusing subject right now. If you believe the mainstream media the XFL will consist of the same type of action as in the WWF. Wrestlers will be quarterbacking the teams and the women of the WWF will be providing the cheerleading. Of course, this is yet another steaming load of manure served up by the media to the hungry masses. But where does the media get it’s ideas?
Partially from the league itself. For example, Vince McMahon has gone on record to state that the players would be encouraged to date the cheerleaders. The XFL has also promised us the same sort of scantly clad women that the WWF shows. This all sounds like great fun and games for the XFL’s target demographic: 18-25 year old men. But, it does not mean that there will not be honest to goodness football taking place on the field.
The XFL is very busy hiring real football players. There will be no need for a wrestler to play quarterback when the teams will have real players with professional and college experience. The league has also hired real coaches who have previous experience coaching real football clubs. Let’s get real. Men like Jim Criner (Las Vegas) and Gerry Dinardo (Birmingham) are not going to perform from a script. They will operate from a playbook.
Still, I fully expect some sort of WWF style hi-jinks to take place on the XFL telecasts. Why? Because this league will be totally different from what we have come to expect. There is no doubt that an average XFL broadcast will top anything the NFL has done. The players will be less talented than the NFL, but the fan’s experience will be greater.
The NFL is very busy right now miking their players and providing “extreme” camera angles for the home viewers. Shoot! They even hired Dennis Miller to do color commentary on Monday nights. Does anybody else think that lately the NFL sounds desperate?
To top it all off, even though the NFL is not sure of the exact nature of what the XFL will unveil on February 3rd, 2001, they are quickly retooling their broadcasts.
In case anybody from the NFL is reading this, here is a tip. Go to your boardroom and see if you can match this: The XFL will be about football. Real live football. The rest of the programming will be brought to you by the same guys who brought you the Undertaker and the Rock.
Should be easy to copy, right? The NFL already has real live football. But what about the entertainment value?
Of course, the NFL has Dennis Miller! He should be able to come up with something new and fresh.
Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor