The XFL’s First Million Dollar Game

Home town fans could be sparse, but QB’s on opposing teams both come out swinging in defense of their own league.

LOS ANGELES – (AP) (21 April 2001) –The stands in the Coliseum are expected to be nearly empty and the national television audience may be the smallest ever for a pro sports title game.

To the San Francisco Demons and Los Angeles Xtreme, it’s still 60 minutes of football with a championship at stake when they meet today in The Million Dollar Game for the XFL’s first title.

“Our team and entire organization are just excited to be in the game and can’t wait until it starts,” said Demons coach Jim Skipper, a longtime NFL assistant.

The Xtreme’s Tommy Maddox, the Most Valuable Player of the XFL after throwing for a league-high 2,186 yards and 18 touchdowns, also is eager for the 5p.m. kickoff.

“I just love playing the game and winning,” said Maddox, a former UCLA star and NFL backup. “To be able to play for a championship, I don’t care what league it’s in, that’s exciting.”

The title game, with the winning team dividing up the $1million bonus, concludes what began as a promising first season for the new league jointly owned by the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. But crowds dwindled and viewers tuned out by the millions.

After a debut that had the highest ratings in its time slot on NBC, some of the league’s games later in the regular season were believed to have been the lowest-rated prime-time programs ever on one of the three major networks. NBC is almost sure to back out of its two-year deal after the game.

Attendance also has been thin — Los Angeles’ semifinal victory over Chicago drew only 13,081, the Xtreme’s smallest crowd of the season and 22,802 fewer than their home opener.

Despite the waning interest in the league, XFL president Basil DeVito has said the XFL will be back next year.

Critics have questioned the quality of play in the eight-team league, but the players and coaches believed it improved over the course of the 10-game regular season.

“There are a lot of people out there who have really missed the boat,” Demons quarterback Mike Pawlawski said. “There are a lot of good players in this league. To bash this league is to bash NCAA football around the country. This is better than college football.”

Skipper noted that about half the Demons players have been on NFL rosters. He said that, while the league may not have big, fast and agile linemen, the players in the new league’s skill positions “are as good as anywhere.”

Members of today’s winning team will receive $22,000 to $26,000 apiece, depending on how they vote to split the bonus. That is about half the salary each was paid for the entire 10-game season.

The Demons and Xtreme split two regular-season meetings.

The Demons won 15-13 at San Francisco on Feb.4, when Pawlawski completed 31 of 47 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns and Mike Panasuk kicked a 33-yard field goal as time ran out.

The Xtreme won the rematch in the L.A. Coliseum 24-0 on April 7, with Maddox throwing for 164 yards and one score while Pawlawski passed for 136 yards, with two interceptions.

The Demons are expected to have Pawlawski back following a shoulder injury.

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 –

Million Dollar Game Conference Call

Comments made by the starting Quarterbacks and the Head Coaches during a media conference call on Wednesday, prior to the Million Dollar game.

Los Angeles Xtreme

Quarterback Tommy Maddox

On receiving the Player of the Year Award…

“It’s a big honor and anytime something like that happens, it’s overwhelming. I think it’s a team award more than a personal award. You have to look at the supporting cast. I have been very lucky to be surrounded by a lot of talent at the receiver and running back position as well as the offensive line. You prepare yourself to play well, but it’s been a great year to be apart of and you hope to have a chance to play for a championship when you start out and there are only two teams have that shot and we are one of them. I love playing and winning the game and to be able to play for a championship, I don’t care in what league, I am very excited about that. There are a lot of people watching the game. I get a lot of feedback from people that have watched and enjoyed the game and I think the ratings are overrated.”

On the NFL…

“I am thinking about San Francisco. I didn’t play in this league to get back in the NFL. I played because I wanted to play the game of football. This was an opportunity for me to do that. My concern is to win the first championship and after that I will sit down and figure out where to go from here.”

On Mike Pawlawski and Saladin McCullough…

“It is great to play against Mike. He is going to bring his A game. You are going to have to be sharp during the game because he is going to be sharp. All the games that we have played together have been close except for last week. We jumped on them early and it got out of hand. Other than that, all of our games have been close. I know he is questionable, but I know if Mike can play, he will. I feel fortunate to have been able to beat him last time.”

“Saladin McCullough is the X factor. He brought something to the table where teams have to focus on him during the week. He can run the ball well, last week he rushed for 164 yards and he can also catch the ball well. The offensive line has worked very and they are opening wholes and giving him a chance to get into the secondary and he is tough in the open field.”

On the receivers…

“From top to bottom, we may not have an NFL superstar, but from top to bottom they are the best receiver core I ever played with. The league has a lot of skilled position guys that are very good. Are receiving score is special because they all do different. We have guys that are big and physical and we have guys that can run by you. There are a lot of motivation that goes with why these guys are playing in this league. Some are motivated by the chance to play in the NFL someday and this is their best chance. Sometimes when you get the chance to play in the NFL it is a let down because you work so hard to get there, there are not those let downs on this team. Back when I was in the NFL, we were a little rugged coming out of camp. But guys got use to playing again. I think we got to the level where we wanted to be rather quickly. The level of play the last five weeks have been great. Everyone jumped on us early and never gave us a chance. I wouldn’t say the level of play is bad in this league. There are a lot of players that deserve to go to the next level. When I was in the NFL, I was kind of frustrated because I couldn’t go out and play a full 16 game season. That’s been the most fun about this league. Not only can you learn from your mistakes, you have a chance each week to go out and correct them. I have a chance to play for the championship because we were able to sustain things over the season and when we got knocked down we got back up and went on.”

On Jose Cortez…

“Jose had a great year leading the league in field goals. In the beginning he was struggling a bit with his confidence and to his credit he continued to work hard. He has been great for us down the stretch. In week three when he kicked four field goals and won the game for us helped his confidence. It’s been great to see him go through the year the way he has and he is a great kicker with a strong leg and is very accurate.”

On the XFL Salary…

“Being around the guys has been great because you don’t have to deal with all of that because people know that we have to do this together. We can’t go out there and worry about the individual things because that is when you get beat. People are really focused on winning and what it takes to win so it’s has been great.”

On going back to Texas…

“I going to go home and evaluate everything and go from there.”

Head Coach Al Luginbill

“This group of individuals will do something special, they don’t get these opportunities every day. When you do get them you extend the effort so that when you walk away you gave everything that you have to accomplish what you want on that particular day. You only have three hour to get this done. It’s a one time shot for this year and it’s what everyone in this league is tried to do and get to and we are fortunate enough to be here and now we are trying to win the game.”

On the running game…

“There is no question over the last few weeks he has brought a lot to the table for us. He balances up our offense, He is an excellent running back, he has great field vision and is an outstanding receiver. The three things you look for in a running back. The ability to carry the ball with natural instincts, the ability to catch the ball and the ability to pass protect and he does all three well. People have to make a choice. Are we going to take away the pass first or the run first and let them try to beat you throwing the football. Against Memphis they said ‘we are going to run it if you will,’ and we didn’t do it that day we got behind in the ball game, so it was our intent to be able to run the football against San Francisco and make sure they weren’t able to take the running game away from us.”

On Tommy Maddox…

“I don’t think his NFL experience had anything to do with it other than it matured him to what professional football is all about. We heard what people said about him and we said ‘the heck with that, we are going to clean the slate here and start over with a young man that we feels has a chance to be excellent and if we are right, this organization is going to be successful. Early in the year there were people taking pot-shots at our offense and in the first three to four weeks we were very inconsistent and that falls down on the quarterback and head coaches shoulders. But we hung in there and stuck with what we knew we could do and got better and better. Tommy had a lot of great people around him with a great supporting cast. I told people he is the person that runs our ship. If you don’t have an outstanding player at that spot, you are going to have a difficult time winning.”

On Tommy Maddox going to the NFL…

“I have never seen anything but focus. I think he will be very careful about what he does with is future. He has a future in this league. If this leads to a bigger and better life for Tommy Maddox, because he is able to play and start in the NFL, that is great.”

On the quality of play…

“Let’ make sure we understand the product. The ratings didn’t have anything to do with me. Our focus was winning the football game. I do not pay attention to the media or I wouldn’t have come to work in this league. It is a great opportunity to be successful, but I knew it would not happen overnight. We are further along than any of us expected to be. People on the outside did not have a true fill for what our game was all about and don’t now how difficult it is to put eight teams together from scratch. The Play was spotty for the first five or six weeks, but eventually it became very interesting week in and week out. Not really because the greatest thing we will have is the continuity of people coming back. Our league will be established. I think we will pick up where we left off. I am not a proponent of long training camps. A mini-camp in December, training camp in January and kick it off in February. Our punter is our third quarter, which is part of the 38-man roster. Noel Prefontaine has played quarterback on all levels.”

San Francisco Demons

Quarterback Mike Pawlawski

On the shoulder…

“Shoulder is good I have been taking snaps, so I’ll be ready to go on Saturday. As a thrower at the end of the season, I don’t think your shoulder is ever 100% but actually going through camp it actually feels pretty remarkable. It is as close to (100%) as it can be at this point in the season. Well I got a lot going on right now, My wife and I just had a baby on Monday, so on top of the title game I have a lot of other things on my mind too. I am pretty excited about, I had this experience two years ago in the Arena Football League and it was pretty fantastic, and I went to a couple of Bowl games when I was at University of California (Berkley) and I really enjoyed those. Each game has its own dynamic. I am fortunate to play on a team full of guys that I love to be around, that makes it pretty special. The fact that it is an inaugural bowl game for this league makes it pretty special because the guys no that everything is going to be record establishing and this will go down as the first championship game.”

On the XFL…

“I can say unequivically that there are a lot of people who have missed the boat that want to dislike this league for whatever reason they want. There are a lot of players in this league that can really play the game. For them to bash this league and football would be to put down NCAA Football. There is no way college football is as good as this. The players in this are either a missed opportunity or missed a step or that close to being NFL players. A lot of them have been and a lot of them are hoping to be NFL players again and will have a chance I would imagine based on the inter league chemistry a lot guys will be able to play in the league again. I think people who are bashing our league have there own personal reasons. My understanding when I took media course is there wasn’t suppose to be any personal bias when you read the news, but who am I to comment on the media.”

On Tommy Maddox…

“Tommy had a great year. Tommy and I came out (of college) the same year and were rivals in the Pac 10 we played each other. We shared a trading card together so we have known each other for quite awhile. I am just really happy for him, he has played extremely well this season and I am glad to see him have that kind of success.”

On Rivalry…

“Why not. I have lived in Southern California, so I understand it from both sides, clearly northern California is right. Anytime you a interstate game between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it could not be more perfect. You have the LA Dodgers and Giants, you use to have the LA Rams and San Francisco 49ers, it just fits. Nobody in the Pac-10 like the LA Schools.”

On winning the game…

“We have to score more points than they do. I don’t know about the running game, but I hope we make some changes. The last time we played them, it did not work so hot. We did not execute really well either, we definitely didn’t bring our “A” game for that one. We made a lot of mistake and a lot of mental errors. You can’t win playing against a good team making mental errors. They were in playoff form and at that point, we weren’t. This has been a team that gets up for games all year long. The team has always found a way to win games and they showed it last week when we got up for the Orlando game and won that one. This team finds away to win when it is really focused.”

On Playing at the Coliseum…

“I played down there at Cal when they use to have a track. People are a lot closer to you, which I guess is good if you are the home team. It’s not like playing at Oregon or Washington State where are right on top of you howling profanities. You enjoy playing at the Coliseum because of all the history and what goes on down there. My memories of the Coliseum is going down there and playing USC with the history of Troy blaring in the back ground and you couldn’t hear yourself speak, and them talking about Marcus Allan, O.J. Simpson, Rickey Bell and all these guys, and you think “my God, how can this school have all these players.” But I love playing down there. The last time we played there was actually the first time I ever loss at the Coliseum.”

On Pat Barnes…

“Pat has been great. I said it all year long that Pat deserves to be a starter in this league, there no question about it, he is a hell of a quarterback. Having Pat here, as a coach you have to be extremely happy because you have a guy that should be starting and for whatever reason coming out of camp, I got pegged as a starter. Pat is a great quarterback, he has played extremely well and has come through and is in a tough position as a backup you don’t get the snaps all year long and your not put in the same position as a starter, so it’s harder to be successful. He has done a great job when he has come in, he has won two out of three games when he played. I loved him when he was at Cal, I covered him, I worked at a radio station. I was a huge Pat Barnes fan back then and nothing has changed since.”

Head Coach Jim Skipper

“Our entire team and organization is very excited to be at the game and can’t wait for the game to start.”

On the team…

“I think our guys had our eyes on the final prize throughout the season, we just persevere and hang in there and I think we work as a unit. Our goal was to do whatever it took to get into the playoffs so we could be in the championship hunt. I do not think we have a superstar on the team. We play real good and everybody just pulls their load and we stick together and we have a blue collar mentality and when we get in tough situation, I think that come out. We preach all year long that the game is not over until it’s over and it doesn’t end until it ends. Each game has its own personality. Sometimes you can jump off to a big league or sometimes you can get into a whole. When things happen to you early, you have time to overcome it.”

Depth at QB…

“We were lucky to have two guys. Mike Pawlawski is having a outstanding year for us and he went down with a neck injury and Pat Barnes stepped in and did a terrific job for us. We happen to be in a situation where we have two outstanding players. I think Pat Barnes can play and be a starter in this league. He is a true professional. They are very compatible with one another.”

On the League…

“We look at our roster and we have over 50% of our players that have been on NFL rosters. I though outside of the O lineman we had people at the skilled position that is good as anywhere. I think there is a little bit of a drop off from the NFL, meaning that it is hard to find offensive lineman. There are a rare breed of cats, you might be able to find the size your looking for, but you have to have good footwork and that is a rare combination. Outside of offensive lineman, our skilled people are just a notch below. But as far as pure ability to catch the ball and run, our receivers are as good as anywhere.”

On the extra point and defense…

“What happens is one point is now from one yard, when originally it was from two yards. From the two-yard line the percentage is roughly 45 percent, so from the one-yard line the percentage is going to be higher. It’s a 10-point lead and the cut off nine, it went from seven to nine.”

On the defense…

“Our defense has been playing consistent defense throughout the year. We were ranked number one most of the year, then we had trouble stopping the run, but guys stepped it up real big last week. Now we are playing rock solid defense.”

On the Demons and NFL…

“I think the New York Giants and San Francisco Demons are blue-collar teams. They give it there all every snap. When I made my final decision that was calculated in that the Giants would go to the Super Bowl. It just so happens that Super Bowl Sunday was the exact same day we would break training camp. I have been a career assistant and I know if the opportunities come, they will be few and far in between minority or not. It’s not like you can take a civil service exam and whoever scores the highest gets the job.”




STAMFORD, CONN. – After a grueling 10 weeks of regular season football left only four teams standings, the Orlando Rage, Los Angeles Xtreme, Chicago Enforcers and the San Francisco Demons will start all over again in a two-week war where the winner will walk away with $1 million.

The XFL playoffs open this weekend with the semifinal round pitting the Rage against the Demons and the Xtreme against the Enforcers, with the winners advancing to next Saturday’s XFL championship, “The Million Dollar Game.”ä

The playoffs open Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET (live on NBC) when the Eastern Division champion Rage, 8-2 and an unblemished 5-0 at home during the regular season, host the Demons (5-5) at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

The Rage are looking to continue their roll through the XFL behind back-up QB Brian Kuklick, with regular starter Jeff Brohm sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury. The teams met once this season, with the Rage dropping the Demons, 26-14, in Orlando in Week Two.

Sunday the playoffs move to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the high-flying Western Division champion Xtreme (7-3) hosts the XFL’s hottest team, the Enforcers (5-5), at 7:00 p.m. ET (live on UPN).

Los Angeles won the division last week with a 24-0 blowout of San Francisco, but will be weary of a streaking Enforcers team which has won four straight, and is looking to continue an incredible turn-around after starting the season 0-4. Los Angeles defeated Chicago in a wild, double-overtime thriller, 39-32, back in Week Two.

The winning teams will earn the chance to play for the XFL’s million-dollar prize on Saturday, April 21, at 8:00 p.m. on NBC. “The Million Dollar Game” will be held at the site of the highest-seeded team based on regular-season records.

In addition, the XFL unveils its new extra-point options this weekend. Following a touchdown, teams may elect to run or pass for a one-point conversion from the one-yard line, a two-pointer from the five-yard line or a three-pointer from the 10-yard line. A defensive team returning a turnover into the end zone will earn the attempted point total.





ORLANDO RAGE: 8-2, Eastern Champion Orlando has excelled this season because of balance on defense as well as on offense. Galen Hall and Will McClay started with the basics in the draft by building around the offensive and defensive lines, added a smart and talented QB and filled in the gaps. The Rage has feasted in 2001 by establishing their running game with the threat of big passing plays. A consistent performance by Brian Kuklick is critical for the success of the Rage. The Orlando defense has bent but rarely broken this season.

S.F. DEMONS: 5-5, Western second seed Jim Skipper’s lunch bucket boys have made this season a success by equal measures of determination, luck and a never-quit attitude. Mike Pawlawski has been the heart and soul of a Demons team that has just found a way to win. They will have to capitalize, as they have all season, by moving the stakes and continuing to score when they get the opportunity. San Francisco’s chances will come down to big plays by their special teams, creating and capitalizing on turnovers and getting in Brian Kuklick’s face early and often.


Orlando Offense: Brian Kuklick must eliminate the mistakes and turnovers that have started to create some doubt in the minds of the Rage team. The best battle of the day may be in the trenches where the best OL in the XFL will try to dominate perhaps the most underrated DL in the league. If the running game goes, Kuklick will find opportunities to exploit the SF defensive backs. Orlando will try to get the upper hand early on the Demons defense and take the pressure of f their quarterback. If they accomplish that task, the Rage will roll.

San Francisco Defense: Not a big name in the bunch, the Demon defense will quietly take away an opponents primary weapons and force them to play their game. SF must shut down the ground game of Orlando then set their sights on forcing Kuklick to throw the ball into coverage. The Demons pursue well and have been opportunistic. They must give Pawlawski the ball for short drives and some quick scores. San Fransisco cannot come out with a lackadaisical attitude as they did against Las Angeles to finish the regular season. If they do.their season will really be finished.


Orlando Defense: The Rage are strongest when teams have to go the distance on them. Speed and talent in the defensive backfield and at linebacker shores up regular mismatches between opponents and the Rage defensive line. Given time, Mike Pawlawski will eat up a defense with precise passing. On his back he cannot be a threat. The Rage have succeeded with ball control and keeping the ball away from opponents. Orlando’s best bet on defense will be to disguise defenses, cause an early turnover and then let their DB’s take over in a passing dual.

San Francisaco Offense: The Demon offense sputtered last week against LA. Nothing seemed to work. Mike Pawlawski must get time to throw and the creative minds of the Demon offensive staff must find a way to find mismatches downfield. It may come down to a special teams score or turnovers to put the Demons into short drives. They will be hard pressed to stand up to the Rage if they have to go the long route.


ORLANDO, FLA. – After spotting the San Francisco Demons a touchdown, the Orlando Rage roared back to score twice in a 41-second span late in the first quarter, then built the lead to 26-7 en route to a 26-14 win at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

The Rage relied on what would become their trademark balanced attack in the win, scoring on a long pass from Jeff Brohm to Mario Bailey, twice on the ground and once on defense. Demons QB Mike Pawlawski threw 52 passes on the day, completing 36 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.




  • RB Derrick Clark, who is the starter and goal-line runner in Orlando’s three-back rotation, led the Rage in rushing this season with 395 yards. He scored a touchdown in seven of Orlando’s 10 games and also led the team in point-after conversions with five.
  • QB Brian Kuklick enters the playoffs with just three professional starts under his belt (2-1 record). Kuklick has completed 55.7% of his passes (68-122) for 994 yards and six touchdowns but has been intercepted 10 times.
  • WR Dialleo Burks finished fourth in the league in receiving yards (659) on just 34 receptions. His 19.4 yards per catch average was tops in the league, and he finished second in the league with seven touchdown receptions. Burks’ 51-yard TD reception against Chicago last week marked the second time in two games that Burks had a reception for 50+ yards and marked his 4th play of 40 or more yards this season.
  • Orlando Rage players scored the first and last touchdowns of the 2001 season. WR Kevin Swaynescored the first touchdown in XFL history with a TD reception from QB Jeff Brohm early in the first quarter of the Feb. 3 opener against Chicago. WR Dialleo Burks scored the last touchdown of the inaugural XFL season also against Chicago on a pass from QB Brian Kuklick. Both touchdown passes covered the exact same distance..51 yards.
  • In 23 “Red Zone” opportunities this year, the Rage have put points on the board on 20 occasions including 16 touchdowns – for a scoring success rate of 87.0%.


QUESTIONABLE: DT Mark Campbell (Knee), S Hassan Shamsid-Deen (Shoulder), C Cal Dixon (Quad), OL Sean Love (Back). PROBABLE: TE Terrance Huston (Cervical), DE James Roberson (Back), RB Brian Shay (Knee).


  • Last week, QB Mike Pawlawski didn’t complete a touchdown pass for San Francisco and had two interceptions in a game for only the second time this year. He finished second in the league in passing despite missing two games with a neck injury and finished with a mark of more than 200 yards though the air per game.
  • RB Kelvin Anderson filled in nicely when RB’s Juan Johnson and Terry Battle were sidelined with injuries and has rushed for 206 yards as a starter in the Demons’ last four games.
  • WR Jimmy Cunningham is the only receiver to play and catch a pass in all 10 San Francisco games and he has caught at least two passes in every outing this year, pacing the Demons with 50 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns, all team-leading totals.
  • DE Jermaine Miles shares the Demons’ record in tackles for lost yards with eight for 41 yards
  • Mike Panasuk fell below the 40-yard mark as a punter for the first time this season after his performance at Los Angeles. He finished the year with a 39.6-yard mark. In addition, he made five of 11 field goals during the regular season and opponents averaged just 17.1 yards on 35 kickoff returns.


DOUBTFUL: QB Mike Pawlawski (Shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: RB Juan Johnson (Knee). PROBABLE: LB Jon Haskins (Knee), DE Jermaine Miles (Ankle), C Michael Kiselak (Toe),

LB James Williams (Achilles and Groin), S Toby Wright (Achilles).




L.A. XTREME: 7-3, Western Champion The Xtreme are coming into the playoffs with a full head of steam. They should be full of confidence and ready take on all comers. Coach Al Luginbill has found a nice balance in his offense. The emergence of Saladin McCullough has come at just the right time to take some of the pressure off Tommy Maddox. The receivers are the best combination in the XFL and their special teams can be explosive. If the Xtreme is to win they must keep their composure should the Enforcers explode for a big play on them.

CHICAGO ENFORCERS: 5-5, East second They came out of nowhere but this team never quit and that will be their strongest attribute. Coach Ron Meyer did a terrific job at keeping this team together. As Kevin McDougal brought a steadying influence to the offense the defense simply crushed teams in their stretch drive for the playoffs. All of that being said, the future of Chicago rests with the health of John Avery’s hamstrings. A healthy Avery can create the imbalance needed to shake up the Xtreme. Don’t take anything away from Leshon Johnson, but Chicago needs a productive Avery.


LA Offense: Way too many weapons. The most productive QB in the league, an emerging running game, a solid offensive line and the best set of receivers in the league create a formidable offensive machine. Playing their best as the weather got better they will be hard to beat at home. Maddox is the master at moving the stakes, McCullough has given him the balance that has made him even more dangerous. If LA gets on a roll, they can put some big numbers on the board.

Chicago Defense: Steadily improving throughout the year, this unit is playing a fairly dominant style of football coming into the playoffs. The D-Line has done a decent job of stuffing the run setting up a feast for the Chicago backers and pass coverage. Early in the season the backs gave up big plays, but have settled down into a reliable coverage group. They will be tested by Maddox but have the skills and determination to take the best LA has to offer and make a game of it. The blitz of the Chicago LB’ers will key the success of the enforcers.they must get to Tommy Maddox.


LA Defense: The LA defense has been stifling as of late. Shutting down Orlando then San Francisco at home has given them the kind of confidence to excel in the playoffs. Solid in the defensive line they create pressure and opportunities for the secondary. They must be the ones to stop John Avery and LeShon Johnson or Kevin McDougal will ‘Big Play’ the secondary to death.

Chicago Offense: Big Play pretty sums up the Enforcer offense. John Avery has shown the ability to “take it to the house” any time he touches the ball. Kevin McDougal has given Ron Meyer and the offense a steady, reliable and productive signal caller who can burn a defense with his arm or his legs. If Avery is limited, so will be the Chicago offense. Johnson has been productive but he just does not put the pressure on a defense the Avery does. If Chicago bombs the Xtreme early this game will be very interesting. The Enforcers have overcome incredible hurdles to get this chance.they may become, truly, a force this weekend.



LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Trailing 25-13 late in the game, the Xtreme scored twice in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, before winning a 39-32 thriller over the Chicago Enforcers in the second round of overtime at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.




  • The last time LA and Chicago played, the Xtreme came from down 12 points with 12 minutes to go to force two overtimes and beat the Enforcers 39-32 at the Coliseum in Week Two. The victory was the first in Xreme history. The contest has stood up as the only double overtime game this season.
  • This weekend’s game will feature the season leaders in passing touchdowns and yards (Tommy Maddox-LA); rushing yards (John Avery-Chi); receptions (Jeremaine Copeland-LA); receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns (Darnell McDonald-LA); scoring, field goals made, and field goal accuracy (Jose Cortez); and interceptions (Corey Ivy-Chi).
  • The Xtreme boasts the best passing attack in the league averaging 214 yards per game in the air while the Enforcers come armed with the best rushing attack averaging 126. 5 yards per game on the ground. The Xtreme have the only quarterback to throw for over 2,000 yards in Tommy Maddox (2,186). The Enforcers have the only running back to rush for over 800 yards in John Avery (800).
  • The Xtreme and the Enforcers have combined to win seven of the ten XFL Offensive Player of the Week award this season. Enforcer quarterback Kevin McDougal (Weeks Five and Nine) and running back John Avery (Weeks One and Eight) have each won the award twice. Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox (Week Seven), RB’s Saladin McCullough and Rashaan Shehee(Week Ten), and receiver Jeremaine Copeland (Week Two) have each won the award once.
  • The Xtreme defense led the league in takeaways with 24, while the Enforcers defense led the league in interceptions with 15 and ranking second in total takeaways with 23.


OUT: WR Larry Ryans (Knee). QUESTIONABLE: WR Damon Gibson (Toe), RB Saladin McCullough (Hamstring), WR Darnell McDonald (Calf). PROBABLE: CB Terry Billups (Hamstring), G Chris Brymer (Knee), S Tinker Keck (Bicep), RB Ken Oxendine (Achilles), C Jose Portilla (Knee), S Jeff Russell (Shoulder).



  • In only nine games RB John Avery finished the regular season with 1,097 total all-purpose yards for an average of 121.9 yards per game. On the season, he has 800 yards rushing and 297 yards receiving. He also has seven touchdowns (5 rushing, 2 receiving).
  • Since quarterback Kevin McDougal was inserted into the starting lineup, the Enforcers are 5-1.
  • Starting tackle Christopher Perez finished his CFL season on November 26 by helping the BC Lions win the Grey Cup. After playing 21 games for the Lions, he joined the Enforcers in January and on Saturday, he will be playing in his 32nd football game since July of 2000.
  • The Chicago Enforcers were last in the XFL in pass defense, giving up 192.2 yards per game in the air. However, the Enforcers led the league in interceptions with 15 as Corey Ivy (5) was first and Dorian Brew (4) was second in the XFL in picks.
  • Enforcers place kicker Andy Crosland entered the Orlando game with five field goals in nine games. Against the Rage, Crosland made all three of his field goal attempts, including a career best 42-yarder.


DOUBTFUL: DE Jason Chorak (Ankle), DE Casey Dailey (Knee). QUESTIONABLE: RB John Avery (Hamstring). PROBABLE: CB Ray Austin (Shoulder), LB Jamie Baisley (Calf), DB Dorian Brew (Ankle), DB Quincy Coleman (Bicep and Shoulder), WR Fred Coleman (Pectoral and Ankle), S Kerry Cooks (Ankle), DE Larry Fitzpatrick (Ankle), G Paul Janus (Hand), G Rob Murphy (Knee), OT Christopher Perez (Ankle), T Tony Ramirez (Knee), TE Willy Tate (Hamstring).

Bias Looks Bad on the Media

Until recently Ted Turner owned the WCW. Turner also owns the Atlanta Braves. Turner’s WCW did the very things that McMahon has been ridiculed for. Where is the media outrage for Turner’s team?

By Sonny Sanders – Bolts Team Reporter

Birmingham – (9 March 2001) — Rumors of the demise of the XFL are not new. Since the first announcement by Vince McMahon the media has forecast a short and inglorious reign for the XFL. Every media outlet has spewed forth negativity toward all aspects of the fledgling league.

The XFL was branded a sleazy bastardized version of the NFL. Rumors of proposed nudity and cheerleaders lap dancing with drunken fans spread like wildfire. The XFL would unleash every known perversion for all to see and would do so under the thinly veiled guise of professional football.

The football itself was slighted long before the first player was drafted. The media joked about the games being scripted and fixed. Even after legitimate coaches and players were signed the media’s blast of negativity continued to pound at the XFL. The media has helped sway public opinion to their side.

The XFL is not perfect and should also accept some blame for the loss of fans support. The announcers are not the best in the business but neither are they the worst that have ever covered a game. The talent on the field is below that of the NFL and the media has used this as a battering ram to bash the XFL at every opportunity. They fail to point out that NCAA talent is also inferior to the NFL.

What are the real problems that hinder the XFL? Is it bad games? The NFL has plenty of bad games each week. The NFC Championship game was one of the worst games ever. How many Superbowls have been great? The problem is not the announcers. Nor is it the cheerleaders, players, or level of competition.

The one aspect of the XFL that has the so-called media experts riled up is Vince McMahon. They perceive McMahon as one step above pornography. Their stance is that the WWF is sleazy and caters to the lowest common denominator. I am not going to debate the pros and cons of professional wrestling. It is what it is and does not claim to be anything more.

McMahon, as owner of the WWF, is not encouraged to participate in a legitimate sport. The media wants to persecute him for having the gall to enter into the arena of “real” sports. The media stands back with its high and mighty self-righteous attitude wagging its finger at McMahon and saying bad boy.

Behind all of this ranting about the evils of professional wrestling mixing with real sports is a dirty little secret that they have failed to mention. Until recently Ted Turner owned the WCW. A wrestling organization that is just as sleazy as the WWF was owned by the man that also owns the Atlanta Braves!! The WCW is no different than the WWF. There is partial nudity, profanity, and violence. Ted Turner’s company did the very things that McMahon has been ridiculed for.

Where was the outrage about Turner degrading the MLB and the Atlanta the Braves? Why is it that one man is viewed differently by the media and considered a pariah while another is accepted?

The media’s bias against McMahon is evident and is uncalled for. Football fans should be outraged by the media’s blatant attempt at telling you what you should like. The XFL is football. Is it the greatest football to ever be witnessed? No, but neither is the NFL. Should the XFL be subject to condemnation by the media solely because of McMahon’s involvement? No.

It is a shame that a league with so much promise may be doomed by unjustified criticism.

How to “Save” the XFL

Should the XFL be using more tough guy interviewers and color commentators like Jesse Ventura to promote it’s unique brand of football?

By the Masked Prognosticator

(27 February 2001) –– With steady crowds in some cities, stabilizing ratings, and a dedicated hardcore fan base, the death of the XFL has been greatly exaggerated.

The ratings have declined but you knew that going in, though their rapid decline is troubling.

Rumors abound that NBC will soon dump the XFL. I doubt it. With tens of millions of dollars invested, and no football contract with the NFL, the XFL should a home on NBC.

However, I feel strongly that the XFL’s days in NBC’s Saturday night lineup are numbered, and that is fine. The XFL belongs on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, not competing for prime time ratings.

Even the NFL, NBA, baseball and NHL are NOT on prime time network television from fall to spring- except for playoff and All-Star games. With the exception of Monday Night Football, regular season pro sports do NOT draw on prime time TV except for in the summer against reruns. Isn’t it a bit much to ask the fledgling XFL to do the same?

NBC dropped the ball with it’s XFL strategy. The right move would have been to show the first game on prime time, grab a portion of the large audience, THEN in week 2 broadcast on a day slot. You grab the headlines and publicity of the great ratings number, then save face in week 2 when all the curiosity seekers don’t tune in.

Now, you have no-win situation where NBC may be forced to embarrass themselves and Vince McMahon by “canceling” the XFL on prime time.

Don’t worry- when the axe falls, the core audience, the 2.0 18-30 year old demos, will follow the XFL no matter what time slot you put it on. And even if NBC dumps the league altogether, an improbability since they are under contract, TNN and UPN should be happy with 2.0 ratings.

What we have learned is that the XFL will NOT be a mainstream phenomenon for right now. It’s place is among successful cult TV shows on the lines of pro wrestling, Battle-bots and American Gladiators. Once NBC relegates the XFL to that status, the question will then become can the league stay profitable, but that’s a story for another day.

Then there are the critics and the media. The fact that the media have destroyed the XFL is not shocking. Think about it. You are a sports beat writer. Your living depends on getting access to NFL football players and locker rooms. You put over the threatening XFL, your certainly are NOT going to be as over with the Jerry Jones and Danny Snyders of the world. See under “press pass revoked”.

But enough rationalization. I’m not just an XFL writer, but I also am a fan, and I am willing to face reality. The XFL has many flaws, and it is an endangered though certainly NOT extinct species. With some fine tuning, I think the XFL can be a huge hit for a very, very long time. Here’s my 2 cents:


Frankly, I can not believe the XFL with all it’s brilliant marketing never caught on to this. What is the grand prize for the team that wins the Big Game at the End?

$1 million dollars!

What are the two top rated TV shows of the past year and a half?

“Survivor” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

Their Grand Prizes?

Yup. Of course the answer is $1 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!

The XFL has done a POOR job at promoting this. They’ve done a a decent job of reminding the fans that these are NOT all major league players, just good football players who are regular guys trying to win 2500 bucks each week. But what XFL’s Marketing Department has forgotten is that the XFL really is NOT a football league- it is a GAME SHOW.

Why not each week, in the promos, REMIND the viewers that $1 million is ultimately at stake? In their commercials, repeat like a mantra, “$1 million, 1 million”. Trust me, it’s a marketing hot button in our country right now. Can you say “Who Wants to MARRY a Millionaire”? Top selling book: “The Millionaire Mind”.

How about this commercial? Have an announcer say “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”. Then have some XFL players, covered in mud, sweating, during a game, one after another, say “I do!” into the camera. Intersperse the commercial with footage of the hardest XFL hits you can get, with the message being that these guys are playing this hard because they want to win the jackpot! Or whatever, but you get the idea.

I say screw the $2500. As the Boz might yell . . “Let’s talk 7 figures, BABY!!!!”.


I loved what Jesse Ventura did with Rusty Tillman Saturday night. Rusty, not a wrestling personality, didn’t play along, but the Body was great doing his pro wrestling shtick.

Except for Michael Barkan, who does a great job getting in the players faces, most of the time it’s some wimpy reporter asking the coach a wussy question then getting a crummy response. Or better yet, tough guy coaches throwing papers in the interviewers faces and threatening them.

Why not have more Jesse asking the tough questions? How about guys like Mr. T? Or Ken Shamrock? Or some washed up boxer like Michael Spinks?

I’d love to see Rusty Tillman pick a fight with them! How great would it be to see Tank Abbott ask Kippy Brown how bad he feels that his play calling is going to cost his players $2500 each (and of course, a shot at the $1 million?).

Here’s another idea. Let’s say a player makes a bad play and the fans start booing. Why not stop the game and let Chuck Zito run out to the field and get in his face?

Also, referees should be called to the carpet immediately by reporters after making questionable calls.


Chuck Puleri getting into it with the New York fans over the house mike was one of the best moments in the XFL. Then Rusty Tillman gets all over him! Next week, Rusty runs off the field and refuses to talk to Jesse Ventura.

Look, when you are trying to coach a team, the sideline reporters are very distracting. They need to respect that these guys are trying to win. But guys like Rusty need to get into the act more. The coaches and the players KNEW when they signed what the deal was.

McMahon needs to send out a memo: Coaches, let your players have fun. Do the interviews, even if you are pissed. Or next season, it’s back to Arena 2.

By the way, just as an aside, sideline reporters- GIVE THE GUYS A COUPLE MINUTES TO CATCH THEIR BREATH!


If there is a huge, glaring flaw with the XFL, it’s that Vince McMahon thought that his football players would have great personalities and become big stars. What he forgot is that unlike the WWF wrestlers, football players are NOT trained on how to give interviews.

Spend more time with Chuck Puleri or trash talking Mike Pawlawski, even if they don’t make a big play or mistake. Identify who gives great comments and who does not, and make sure only the right personalities get on camera.

Hand out a $2000 bonus to the player or coach that gives the best interview of the week. I’d bet THAT would inject a little personality in some of these guys!


Why not? This is the XFL. Like J.R. said, it’s “work in progress” This is Vince McMahon’ league. He with NBC owns all the teams. He doesn’t have to answer to a Rules Committee or a Board of Governors.

Why not throw in some rules to make the games more interesting? They did in week 2 after J.Lo had a hissy fit! If they can do it for her, why can’t they do it for themselves and the fans?

It was the curiosity factor that gained the XFL 10 rating points in the first place. Wouldn’t some wild ass rule changes bring some of those curiosity seekers back?

How about a 12th Man Rule. For one play and one play only during a game, either team may run a play with 12 men on the field. Or announce for one weekend only, the team that outscores the other by the most points gets an additional $1000 bonus?

How about with only three games left in the season, you announce that whichever team wins the most of the remaining games, regardless of the current standings, gets an extra bonus and their city gets to host the Big Game (though I feel the BG should be held on the home field of the finalist with the best record). Or the #1 draft pick. If there were more teams, how about a fifth playoff spot?

Whatever. This would get teams like possibly 0-7 Chicago something to play for.

Here’ my all time favorite rule change idea: the 3 point conversion. After scoring a touchdown, say a team is still down by 2 or 3 points. They can run a play from the 35 yard line or kick an extra point from the 50. If successful, they get 3 extra ticks!

If you have a matchup between two low scoring teams, such as Las Vegas vs. Chicago, announce that field goals will be worth only 2 points each for that game only. You can think of a thousand ideas.

After all, this is the XFL. If it’ going to be extreme football, MAKE IT EXTREME!!

Hey, “Survivor” has a different contest each week, right?

Look we don’ expect the XFL to implement these ideas (though, as a fans league, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did!). But the message is clear: SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.

What are your thoughts? You can email the Masked Prognosticator at

XFL Cheerleader Bares All in Nude Pictorial and Interview in Mystique Magazine

Bonnie-Jill Laflin, cheerleader with the Los Angeles Extreme.

SOURCE: Mystique Magazine

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 15 — It had to happen. Bonnie-Jill Laflin, a cheerleader with the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme football team and one of the models in the national TV commercials for the league, speaks frankly about the XFL in a no-holds barred interview and nude pictorial published today at Mystique Magazine’s website.

Accompanying the sexy pictures from a recent photo shoot in Costa Rica is an interview with Bonnie-Jill about what is really happening on the XFL sidelines and going on behind the scenes of the XFL PR machine.

Among the highlights:

“I decided to do the XFL because for me it was great exposure and I hoped it would help with my sports broadcasting career,” she says in the interview. “But what they have shown so far on national TV is girls looking like strippers, and it looks like we may not get all the breaks we thought we would get.”

As someone who has cheered for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, Laflin says she was embarrassed and humiliated being on the sideline of last Saturday night’s nationally broadcast game in Los Angeles. “Everyone was drinking and there were tons and tons of fights,” she says in the interview.

“Tons of people were arrested, beer was being thrown, and people were throwing dollar bills at our platforms where we were dancing, like in strip clubs. It was so out of control and reminded me of a (Oakland) Raider game, but triple that. Most of the guys don’t even know what’s going on in the game. They’re there to get drunk. I was very upset at the way it was handled. Towards the end of the game all the police were in riot gear. It was scary and I was kind of embarrassed.”

Laflin says an XFL representative told her squad that Playboy might be interested in doing a feature on the XFL cheerleaders. However, she chose to appear first on Mystique Magazine’s website because she says Mystique Magazine’s pictures are better than Playboy’s. “Everything from the outfits we wear, the make-up, the hair — everything, just looks better than Playboy,” she says. “Mystique is classy. There will be people that think it’s bad just because it’s naked shots. In anything you do you make decisions knowing it can be for the worst. I think there are going to be some times when I reach a dead end when people see that I have done nudity, and I know that getting in to it. But I think in the long run it will end up helping me.”

The complete interview, in both text and audio format, plus photos of Bonnie-Jill is available at Mystique Magazine’s website.

Prior to cheering for the XFL, Laflin cheered for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL and was the NBA cheerleader of the year in 1994 with the Golden State Warriors. She has appeared on hit TV shows such as Baywatch and Ally McBeal. She also has been featured in numerous commercials, has modeled for Frederick’s of Hollywood, and appears in national print ads and billboards for companies such as Budweiser. She is a sports expert, and has been a guest on Fox Sports Radio, ESPN Radio, and One on One Sports.

Mystique Magazine is an interactive online magazine that features daily news and photos from the world of beautiful women, as well as an online TV show Girl Watcher which takes viewers to the hottest places in the world in search of every-day beautiful women.

SOURCE: Mystique Magazine

NY-NJ Hitmen GM Drew Pearson Comments on the XFL

By The Masked Prognosticator

(13 February 2001) — For those out there who think the XFL has not gone mainstream should have listened to the Mike and Mad Dog Show on New York’s top rated sports talk station, WFAN 660-am on Monday. Despite the Big Apple featuring eight major league sports teams, including two that won a title and one that fell short of such, the talk of the town was obviously the New York-New Jersey Hitmen.

The main attraction of today’s show was NY-NJ GM Drew Pearson. Pearson, who called in, is a former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro receiver who started a very successful sports headwear company upon retiring. That business indirectly landed him the XFL gig.

Among some of the more interesting remarks Pearson made on today’s show:

Pearson was asked if he was bitter about not getting a break in the from office of the NFL after retiring…

In 1985 Pearson was an assistant coach and scout for the Cowboys. He thought this would be his “in” in the NFL. Unfortunately, that did not take place, but he said any bitterness he has in not succeeding in the NFL: “That is a non-issue now.”.

Interestingly, Mike and the Mad Dog kept pressing Drew as to whether or not he harbors ill-resentment to the NFL. He sounded like he has bitterness in his voice, but said he had ” . . been bitter.” but kept emphasizing he was not now. He said “I’ve done everything you would want . . .said the right things . .” but still could not the big break he thought he deserved in the NFL.

Pearson was asked if the XFL player thought the all-access cameras were intrusive…

Pearson said “If they had a problem with it, they needed to express it at that point” (when they were signed by the XFL).

As expected, Pearson was drilled about the talent level of the XFL…

Pearson pointed out that when he entered the NFL in the 1970s, he was an unsigned, undrafted free agent, and was picked among 100 guys in the Cowboys training camp. (and eventually went on to be a great receiver) Asked if there was a “short list” or what backup there was should several players get injured, Pearson admitted the talent pool out there right now was “severely limited”.

In a remark that could bear research, he did say that “100%” of the talent in the XFL had NFL experience of some kind, though this included training camp rejects.

He remarked that the quality of play “is not surprising to me” and “can improve, and will improve”.

He pointed out that the players were together for only 5 weeks and “It takes a long time . . . it binds trust and loyalty, knowing that your teammate is going to carry out his assignment. He pointed out that this is the reason the NFL’s quality of play has suffered some because some players don’t keep their players long enough. At least in the XFL, because every team is in the same boat, every team is on a “level playing field”.

When asked about New York’s pathetic QB situation…

Drew Pearson reminded the hosts, tongue in cheek of course, that he used to play quarterback.

Pearson also recounted how he got involved in the XFL…

He was a licenser of NFL headware, for which he paid $7,000,000 for the rights to the league.

He eventually became the sole distributor of WWF headwear, and that is how he hooked up with Basil DeVito and Mike Keller. When he was convinced that the XFL “was not going to compete with the NFL” and that it would be “real football” he signed on for the Hitmen job.

What was encouraging about the broadcast…

After the interview, the hosts did not get into the quality of the XFL. In typical New York fashion, the main topic seemed to be whether or not the Hitmen should get rid of Chuck Puleri.

Unnecessary Roughness

By Madd Max – Maniax Tream Reporter

(7 February 2001) — What a weekend for the XFL. Vince McMahon’s brainstorm has television network executives turning their heads. Whether you are for or against the XFL, you have to hand it to Mr. McMahon, the opening weekend ratings were better than you can imagine.

ESPN (a.k.a. Eggs Stain Protruding Noses) came out and said they would not cover the XFL, and had ESPN radio personalities warning callers that they would not discuss the league on air. Tsk, tsk…ESPN is now showing highlights, albeit negative ones. The 9.5/17 share ratings were higher than even Vince projected, and with all the talk around office water coolers, there is a chance that those numbers are reachable again this weekend. When all the bugs are worked out, Vince really may have that grinch-like smile permanently.

Inaugural weekend observations:

Overall consensus for odd camera angles: use them, but less often…..On field interviews: maybe at half-time, not during play…..Cheerleaders: more like strippers in uniforms-but hey, what’s wrong with that?…..Xtreme trash talking leads to hoof in mouth disease…..Rage and Enforcers put on quite a show to a full house…..Hitmen fans will not tolerate a slow start…..Demons made fans Xtreme-ly happy with a great show at Pac Bell…..Las Vegas hasn’t rocked like that since the King disappeared…..Maniax ground out and old time football win…..Bolts hung tough…..Shame on ESPN…..Kudos to NBC, TNN, UPN and the Governor!

It’s Real Football

By Sonny Sanders – Bolts Team Reporter

Birmingham – (6 February 2001) — I have to admit that in the beginning I was a skeptic. I was wary of the XFL. I was fully aware of the WWF and the fact that it is a predetermined event. It’s fake. I was not sure if the XFL would be a joke or at best a NFL parody. Nothing more than a play toy for Vince McMahon. Slowly the XFL is proving that it is a legitimate football league. McMahon claimed that it would be old school football but displayed in a high tech manner. Still doubts lingered. Then things started to change. NBC jumped on board and dropped millions dollars into the league. NFL-Europe coaches and players were interested. Current and former NFL players wanted to become a part of the NFL. Finally Las Vegas laid down the odds.

Even though the XFL has instituted less than serious rule changes, it is still being taken seriously. Vince McMahon counters all questions by explaining how much better the XFL will be in presenting the game while telling us all that the XFL is not in competition with the NFL. The fact is that they are in competition. The XFL may also be wining some of the battles. Soon after the XFL announced a few of the ideas for covering the game the NFL adopted the “Ref Cam” and “Eye-Vision”. Still Vince tells us that the coverage in the XFL will blow us away and change the way the game is displayed forever.

The money that Vince McMahon and NBC have spent on the XFL has proven, in my opinion, that they are serious about making the XFL work. It is not the NFL and doesn’t try to be. The XFL does consider the talent to be below the NFL but that the entertainment value is beyond the NFL.

I’m sold. The XFL is good entertainment. Will it make the people in Birmingham forget Auburn and Alabama? UAB? No. It will however give football fans three more months of good football and fill the gap in an otherwise dead period.

Is the XFL real football? Yes. Is it good football? Yes.

Before anyone assumes that this is an XFL love fest let me say that some things need to improve. The broadcast of the games was a little sloppy. The announcers are not going to win any awards and camera angles were disorienting at times. There were problems with seating and concessions at some stadiums. These problems are not major issues but should be addressed to improve the look and feel of the game. There are mixed reviews on the “Scramble for the Ball” instead of a coin toss and the sideline interviews were useless.

Overall I would rate the first ever broadcast for the XFL as well done with room for improvement. The action on the field was good. Not close to the NFL but better than college level. With dedication and an overall good decision making by the XFL has made me a fan. Forget that Vince McMahon is the man behind the curtain. If you love football sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.