It came as no suprise to see that “The Sporting News” has asked Terrel Owens if he would play in the XFL. After all, the media is all about generating clicks, and a Terrel Owens story has to generate a few just on name recognition alone. However, Owen’s response was quite predictable.
“Absolutely not,” Owens told Sporting News on Wednesday. “The XFL is two years away. Vince McMahon, he had a run at that in 2001 and it didn’t really do so well. He’s had a number of years to try to figure it out, and has only two years before it starts up to put it back on the right track. I don’t foresee it being a great success unless they make some drastic changes to bring together some quality talent and bring together a quality game. That’s what it’s about. He can’t make a mockery of football. He’s looking at it like a business, but you need to have quality with that.” Reference: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/terrell-owens-xfl-return-vince-mcmahon-wide-receiver/bmhztel2bujp1wt46ztslnx7h
Why would anyone think that a 44-year old Terrel Owens was a candidate for the XFL? Sure, he’ s fit, but there are plenty of talented 20-year olds that will be more than suitable for play in the XFL.
Categorize this story as “bashing the XFL”. We’ve seen it before, and we will see plenty more between now and 2020.
That being said, you’d think TO would be happy to see increased opportunities for young football talent to play the game we all love.
ESPN’s Jonathan Coachman reflects on the backlash a racy XFL commercial caused the league after many found the spot to be distasteful.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have you had any initial talks with anyone?
- No, no initial talks not really. We just know interest is there
- 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.
- Will you be staying in the same role completely?
- Yes I will continue to be the CEO and Chairman of the board of WWE.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Is Pittsburgh on your radar?
- Every city, I love Pittsburgh. Every city is on our radar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Did you seek her opinion (Linda McMahon) on this decision?
- 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)
STAMFORD, CONN. – Professional football will be reimagined when the new XFL kicks off in early 2020, Vince McMahon announced in a live stream event today.
The XFL will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including shorter, fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.
Plans for the XFL at launch include eight teams, 40-man active rosters and a 10-week regular-season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.
“The new XFL is an exciting opportunity to reimagine America’s favorite sport,” said McMahon. “As we move towards kickoff, we look forward to listening and implementing innovative ideas from players, coaches, medical experts, technology executives, the media and most importantly football fans.”
McMahon, a visionary and an accomplished business executive, is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity. McMahon will continue as WWE Chairman & CEO.
Relive the full streamed announcement at XFL.com and YouTube (youtube.com/xflofficial). For the latest updates, follow the XFL on Facebook (facebook.com/xfl), Twitter (@xfl2020) and Instagram (@xfl), and be sure to join in on the conversation using #XFL2020.