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)

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

The Sports World Hates The XFL

(13 Apr 2001) –They hate us? or They Hate We?…… The Sporting World has made their agenda well known. They have two words for The XFL…. GO AWAY!…… Ever open your local newspaper or listen to your local sports radio? If you are looking for coverage of your favorite XFL team, Good luck! The only attention that the XFL gets is negative attention. The games are not taken seriously and the players and coaches are ignored. The sporting world has had a field day with the XFL’s ratings. Here are two numbers for you: 1.2 and 1.1. Those are The NHL’s ratings on ABC. I don’t see too many press releases on those stats. Anybody ever hear about NFL Europe ratings? Well I’ll tell ya, NFL Europe averaged a 0.3 on Fox Sports Net last season. Where’s the press on those figures? Have the XFL’s ratings been good? No, but are they comparable to other sports franchises? Yes.

Here are some more fascinating figures…Major League Soccer.. 0.2, Golf average 2.0 this year, NBA average on NBC, 2.3, Arena Football ratings average 0.2. Outside of Tiger Woods, Nascar, NCAA Finals and the NFL. Sports ratings are in a slow period. Let’s face it, the XFL has made alot of mistakes and their ratings have been a huge dissapointment. Last week, the XFL on NBC drew a 1.5. Only 1.4 million viewers watched the broadcast. The game only ranked 14th out of the top 20 rated sports programs on television. The UPN telecast ranked 19th. The XFL made alot of mistakes and hopefully as a brand new league they can fix their mistakes.

It’s a fact. History dictates that the only football that Americans want to see is the NFL and College. Even the mighty NFL failed miserably in trying to create a spring football league in the United States. Remember the World League of American Football. It lasted two years and is now known as NFL Europe. The CFL tried to expand to American teams. That didn’t work either. Everybody knows the story about the USFL. They tried to compete with The NFL head on and they lost big time. There have been many other spring leagues that have come and gone. The Arena League has survived as a small time league with unique features. Their attendance averages about 7,000 but it’s not pro football. It’s 50 yard ball in small arenas. The XFL, quite frankly, is trying to do something that has never been done. No 2nd US Pro Football League has made it since the AFL (now AFC) in the sixties. You can thank Joe Namath for that one.

The media points out the quality of the football. Eighty-three percent of the players in the XFL have spent time with NFL teams. Seventy-eight percent of the XFL’s players are 29 and younger. The XFL players are college all stars, NFL rookies and draft picks, NFL Veterans slashed because of the cap, CFL stars, Arena League stars and NFL Europe stars. All the media has to do is research the teams. I’m not making this stuff up. The information is available. Take a look at the rosters for yourself. The coaches have the same type of resumes. Recently a poll conducted with NFL employees shows that 89 percent of them support The XFL. The NFL of course, doesn’t want any of it’s employees coming out to make good remarks about the XFL. CBS president, Les Moonves has gone on record stating that he wants to use XFL features in next season’s NFL broadcasts.

For all the talk by the media about Vince McMahon’s entertainment shows, Dick Ebersol, NBC and the cheerleaders, the media has never bothered to focus on the players, coaches or the way that the XFL treats it’s fans and viewers. How many friendly stories have you seen about the XFL? Not many and if you have the positive publicity has come from NBC employees, XFL employees and the fans that have experienced the games. The last part of that group is all that really matters, the fans. This season, the XFL gave fans free trips to follow their teams. Some fans were even allowed on the field when a team won. A selected fan was granted a 2,500 dollar bonus. Now if that’s not catering to the fans. I don’t know what is. How often are sports fans treated like garbage. Hey if your favorite NFL team goes 7 and 9 get ready for a ticket increase. The same goes for other sports franchises. Not one media outlet mentioned how the XFL treated it’s fans. How many sports teams do you know that you would give you 2,500 dollars if your team won? When Chicago fans came out in a monsoon to watch their team the XFL gave those fans free tickets for the next home game. How cool is that! That’s why XFL games average 23,000 fans per game. Not bad for a startup league with bad or no publicity.

As a football fan, I want to see The XFL make it. I think it’s a shame that only 1,800 football players get to play pro ball in the states with The NFL. The XFL gives players and coaches a chance to showcase their skills in this great country. So many great young players get overlooked when they get out of college. Some have bad luck and get injured in the NFL and they never get another chance to play pro ball. The XFL gives players and coaches, the opportunity to prove themselves. Some players will benefit from having played in The XFL. They will move on to The NFL and get another chance to make it. The same goes for the coaches. Be on the lookout for Hitmen runningbacks coach, Joe Lombardi, and yes he’s related to the great Vince himself, the man, NFL’s very championship is named after, Vince Lombardi.

As for the fans, the XFL has been a fan friendly league that is willing to listen to us. They have screwed up in alot of instances but the effort has always been there. The rules and TV features have been great. There is still alot of room for improvement in certain areas. There will be alot of structural changes in the off-season. I don’t know if this league is going to make it. History tells me that it won’t, but I hope that it does. The league is a breath of fresh air and I hope that other sports leagues take notice and use some of the features and practices that Tthe XFL does.

I have a feeling that the sporting media will continue to ignore this league in the hopes that it will all go away. These same types made fun of the ABA’s 3 point shot. These same types ragged on the AFL’s teams, uniforms and rules. It’s not a good idea to walk around life with a closed mind, I remember a certain group of critics that told Christopher Columbus that he was a fool. They told him that the earth was flat and that his mission as pointless. Thank god, Good Ol’ Chris didn’t pay attention to the critics.

Mike Mitchell – mmitchell@xflboard.com

Archive: 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.

The XFL is Bringing Us Real Football – Media Sharks are no better than Schoolyard Bullies

I hear and see a calm coach like Al Luginbill say “get out of my face” to a cameraman, as the last minute pressure of an extremely close game causes his firm facade to crack — just a little bit.

(21 February 2001) — Why keep picking on the XFL?

It seems that the media sharks are swarming because they smell blood.

Mostly, they think that they’re practicing good journalism, but in actuality they are no better than a bunch of schoolyard bullies. Picking on the “new kid” when he is down.

Why not report on the real story here? Why not take the XFL for what it is: Real football, presented in a unique way, and setting a standard for the method in which televised sports will be presented in the future. You just know that the NFL, and other football leagues, are going to be using some of the XFL’s gadgetry when they come back in their next season.

For me, the XFL moment that most impacted my opinion came in Week 2. I keep picturing Outlaw’s quarterback Ryan Clement rolling on the field and moaning. Then he pointing out the “later than usual” hit by Shante Carver that helped cause his shoulder injury. Then he kept telling the training staff “It’s separated, it’s separated” as they escorted him off then field.

If it wasn’t for the XFL I would never had experienced real football, almost from the point of view that Ryan Clement does.

There is nothing glamorous about Clement’s injury. In fact it’s a shame to have happened. It’s just that these are the trials and tribulations that a football quarterback has to deal with when he is playing a real football game. Now I can better understand it, because I was pretty much there.

I hear and see a calm coach like Al Luginbill say “get out of my face” to a cameraman, as the last minute pressure of an extremely close game causes his firm facade to crack — just a little bit.

Like most fans, never having played the game, the closest I get to playing a football game myself is when the camera does a close-up such as this. Now the XFL brings it into my “TV Box Dealy” on a weekly basis.

I can even hear all the grunts and the huffing and puffing of the linemen just after the ball is snapped.

I hear the play calls. I don’t really understand them, but I sure love to hear them.

I hear and see Los Angeles Xtreme quarterback, Tommy Maddox, comment about every little thing that seems to bother him.

I hear and see a calm coach like Al Luginbill say “get out of my face” to a cameraman, as the last minute pressure of an extremely close game causes his firm facade to crack — just a little bit.

So why wouldn’t I like the XFL? It is giving me a unique view of my favorite sport.
Upon mentioning the XFL in public one will find that some people absolutely love the league and others totally despise it. When you ask the people who don’t like it, “why”, most will tell you that they have never actually watched a game. They just heard that it is “bush-league ball”.

If they had seen a game they would realize that the football is not really substandard. Mind you, the XFL is not for everyone, it’s just that people should not be turned away because they expect to see a bad football game. On the contrary, the “football” has been this league’s strongest point.

Football by amateurs? Some of the media “wags” will have you believe that the XFL is not worth watching because the players are “second string”. Frankly if you actually watch some of the games you will see some of these so called “second string” footballers giving a greater effort than most of the players I see in other leagues. And they do all this simply for the love of the game!

For the love of the game? Isn’t that just a hackneyed sports cliché?

Not when the XFL is concerned. If you have any doubt, just watch any XFL match and see what these players will do for their low by NFL standards pay envelope.

Put this in perspective for a minute. These are not millionaire players. These players are football machines that are running on minimum wage. Even though the salaries are below normal there is still a “waiting list” for players who still want to play in this league. These are players who either want to showcase their talents or even better yet – play football.

The XFL is certainly not hurting the game of football. The increased football on network televisions will certainly entice more fans to enjoy the game in the long run, whether it be NFL, CFL, College or Pop-Warner for that matter. Plus more players get to play the game. The XFL player selection process has proven, where they had more than 10,000 applicants, that there is an abundance of football talent out there. Now the XFL gives some of them a chance to play.

Maybe it’s the cheerleaders that people don’t appreciate?

During an XFL broadcast, there is a generous sprinkling of cheerleader close-ups. Images of scantly clad women? Of course, the average Joe appreciates the bawdiness of the XFL, just as they probably appreciate it on other televised sporting events, other reality based programs and certain sitcoms which also push the limits of prime time TV.

But it is still the football that brings me back week after week.

By Mark Nelson – XFLBoard.com

The XFL Draft

(25 October 2000) — The XFL draft may prove to be one of the more exciting events that the XFL has staged on the road to its inaugural game on the 3rd of Feb 2001.

Over the weekend of 28-30 October, 2000, a total of 560 players will be picked from a draft pool reported to be over 1500. If you do the math you will see that unfortunately the draft will also prove to be a disappointment for over 900 players who will not be picked in this years draft.

Actually the draft has already begun with the territorial picks that happened last week. Each of the eight XFL teams was able to pick up to 11 players – with no team allowed to protect more than two quarterbacks.

The territorial draft schools for each team are as follows:

  • Birmingham: Alabama, Auburn and UAB
  • Chicago: Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame
  • Las Vegas: BYU, UNLV, Nebraska.
  • Los Angeles: San Diego State, S. California, UCLA
  • Memphis: Tennessee, Memphis, Mississippi State
  • New York: Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse
  • Orlando: Florida, Miami and Central Florida
  • San Francisco: Cal, San Jose State and Stanford

Once the picks are validated, the territorial players claimed by each team will be removed from a draft list that now exceeds 1,500 players.

The real XFL draft action begins Saturday in Chicago, with 10 rounds scheduled. A total of 80 players will be selected on Saturday.

The remaining rounds will be selected by teleconference during the next two days, with each team choosing a final total of 70 players for its preseason roster.

XFL
Draft: The Numbers Game
Draft
Picks
Per
Team
Total
Players
Territorial
Picks prior to 28 Oct
11
88
28
Oct Draft Day
10
80
29-30
Oct – Teleconferencing
49
392
Totals:
70
560

Mark Nelson XFLBoard Editor