Butkus Proves It

(20 October 2000) — Did the XFL lie to it’s fans?

After all, there are many fans who have stepped forward to support the Chicago Enforcers and even some who bought season tickets simply because Dick Butkus was going to be on the sidelines. Most XFL fans bought into the whole concept of Dick Butkus as a Head Coach. Were they lied to?

As fans learned yesterday, Butkus would not be coaching the Enforcers after all. He has stepped “up” into a job as the Director of Football Competition. Meanwhile a far more experienced coach, Ron Meyer, has taken his place at the Chicago sideline.

It was reported that Butkus was sullen during the press conference. Is this the attitude of somebody that just got promoted? It was also reported that this was a better fate for Butkus, rather than firing him in mid-season, which would be a bigger blow to fans. Is the league trying to tell us that it was just not working out? Did they say that they made a mistake and that they are going to correct things? No, they told us that Butkus was getting a promotion.

Simply stated, the XFL did not lie to it’s fans. The league never made any promises that Butkus would be “coach for life”. Anybody who knows sports can tell you that coaches come and go like the wind. However, the league has come across as liars to some.

This is mainly because the XFL markets everything so hard-core. When they have marketed their league, the sound bites and the rhetoric have been unyielding. When Butkus was hired, the press release went on at length to practically proclaim him “king”, the Head Coach of the Chicago Enforcers.

At the time it was exciting and fun, the fans ate it up. Looking back now, it now looks more like a steaming load of manure.

The marketing gurus at the league would have you know that this is the way things are done. It is their responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity to build up some PR for this new league. Fans and proponents of the XFL would have to agree with them. The XFL has a huge mountain to climb when it comes to gaining respect, every avenue to build hype should be explored.

Marketing. This is why the league sported an article called “Butkus Proves It” since July 22nd on the X-Zone, at the XFL web site at http://www.xfl.com,. It was an article about Dick Butkus, saying how he is going to be a such a hard-nose, smashmouth coach, just like Chicago is accustomed to… yada yada yada.

Marketing. Also the reason that the league hired a cessna to buzz soldier field during a Bears game with a banner declaring “Butkus is Back”. This was a good stunt, and worthy of the Butkus the fans came to know – Head Coach of the Enforcers.

Then, this week, Head Coach Butkus was no more. The much celebrated article, “Butkus Proves It”, was removed from the official web site on the day of his “promotion”. Butkus was given a new job: enforcing the rules – because he is such a good enforcer, since his playing days with the Bears, yada, yada, yada…..

Give us a break.

The XFL is going to make mistakes. It is only natural to expect some mistakes when you think of the magnitude of what they are attempting. The big questions is why don’t they admit to their mistakes?

Instead they state that they gave Butkus a “promotion”.

It’s unfortunate, with this type of guerilla marketing the casualties have been the fans. Butkus proves it.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

The Final XFL Player Selection Process

(16 October 2000) — The XFL draft is coming up in two weeks. It is time to take a breather and reflect on how the final months of preparation will be for the XFL teams.

The question that many people have been asking is this: How will the XFL go from where they are now to having eight fully staffed teams?

In the next two weeks, each team will be identifying their territorial players. Each XFL team has been assigned a total of three schools from which they may automatically claim players. Before the actual draft, each team will probably have already selected between 10-15 players.

The XFL league meeting is scheduled for Chicago on 26-28 October 2001. On the 28th of October the draft will take place. At the end, a total of 70 players will be selected by each XFL team.

The XFL has tentatively scheduled two mini-camps for each XFL team this fall, to be held in their respective cities. These camps will be held on 13-20 Nov 2000 and 11-18 Dec 2000.

XFL Training camps will run from January 2nd, 2001 until January 28th, 2001. From the 70 players that were initially drafted the teams will cut to 63 players on January 14th 2001 and then to 55 players on January 21st, 2001. On January 28th, 2001, final XFL rosters will be announced with 38 active players and 7 practice squad players.

XFL Player Selection Overview

  • Prior to 28 Oct 00 – Protected players from territorial schools selected.
  • 28 Oct 00 – XFL Draft. Each team to pad rosters to 70 players.
  • 13-20 Nov 2000 – XFL Mini-Camp #1
  • 11-18 Dec 2000 – XFL Mini-Camp #2
  • 2 Jan 2001 – Training Camp Starts.
  • 14 Jan 2001 – Rosters trimmed to 63 players.
  • 21 Jan 2001 – Rosters trimmed to 55 players.
  • 28 Jan 2001 – Final XFL rosters announced with 38 active players and 7 practice squad players.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

Lights… Camera… Action. Real Live Action!

(26 September 2000) — I was at an airport last year waiting for a connecting flight, and waiting out the time by spending it in the airport bar, and having a very expensive, but cold and refreshing beer. On the bar television was wrestling. No, not Olympic wrestling, but WWF wrestling.

A middle aged woman, sitting in the next table was watching the television with a dumbfounded look on her face. She turned to me and asked, “Is that real.” She had a thick British accent, and when I inquired sure enough she was not from North America. I took the opportunity to explain to her what she was watching.

Sure enough, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The “faked” wrestling matches, the behind the scenes bickering, the scantly clad women and the ridiculous storyline were all too much for her.

Flash forward one year. The same people who brought us WWF Wrestling will now be bringing us the XFL. Here we go again! Faked football games, ridiculous storylines and behind the scenes bickering. We’ll see all of this, won’t we?

This is a very confusing subject right now. If you believe the mainstream media the XFL will consist of the same type of action as in the WWF. Wrestlers will be quarterbacking the teams and the women of the WWF will be providing the cheerleading. Of course, this is yet another steaming load of manure served up by the media to the hungry masses. But where does the media get it’s ideas?

Partially from the league itself. For example, Vince McMahon has gone on record to state that the players would be encouraged to date the cheerleaders. The XFL has also promised us the same sort of scantly clad women that the WWF shows. This all sounds like great fun and games for the XFL’s target demographic: 18-25 year old men. But, it does not mean that there will not be honest to goodness football taking place on the field.

The XFL is very busy hiring real football players. There will be no need for a wrestler to play quarterback when the teams will have real players with professional and college experience. The league has also hired real coaches who have previous experience coaching real football clubs. Let’s get real. Men like Jim Criner (Las Vegas) and Gerry Dinardo (Birmingham) are not going to perform from a script. They will operate from a playbook.

Still, I fully expect some sort of WWF style hi-jinks to take place on the XFL telecasts. Why? Because this league will be totally different from what we have come to expect. There is no doubt that an average XFL broadcast will top anything the NFL has done. The players will be less talented than the NFL, but the fan’s experience will be greater.

The NFL is very busy right now miking their players and providing “extreme” camera angles for the home viewers. Shoot! They even hired Dennis Miller to do color commentary on Monday nights. Does anybody else think that lately the NFL sounds desperate?

To top it all off, even though the NFL is not sure of the exact nature of what the XFL will unveil on February 3rd, 2001, they are quickly retooling their broadcasts.

In case anybody from the NFL is reading this, here is a tip. Go to your boardroom and see if you can match this: The XFL will be about football. Real live football. The rest of the programming will be brought to you by the same guys who brought you the Undertaker and the Rock.

Should be easy to copy, right? The NFL already has real live football. But what about the entertainment value?

Of course, the NFL has Dennis Miller! He should be able to come up with something new and fresh.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

Sixty-Seven Days in San Jose

The XFL has announced it will move the “Demons” franchise to Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.

(18 September 2000) — The day was Monday the 10th of July, 2000. The headline on XFLBoard.com had read: Do you know the way to San Jose? We’d like to think that this 1968 Burt Bacharach song title had something to say about the XFL decision to start-up a franchise in this progressive bay area city.

Almost ten weeks later the franchise was moved to San Jose’s “big brother” — San Francisco. To coin another song title, this time from Dean Martin, “Ain’t that a kick in the head”.

The reasons for the move are plentiful, according to the XFL. For starters, they never did come to a deal to play in Spartan Stadium. Secondly, the new stadium in San Francisco, Pacific Bell Park, is much better for the Demons franchise mostly because it will hold many more fans.

But hold on a minute! The XFL did not have a deal with Spartan Stadium? Didn’t the 10 Jul 2000 press release say that the San Jose Franchise would play in Spartan Stadium. We checked our records. The title of the press release is “XFL Confirms Team for San Jose: Spartan Stadium to Host Home Games.”

So the XFL made a mistake. Mistakes are allowed, right?

From our experience with XFL fans here on XFLBoard.com, there are a few cities which have rallied around their new XFL franchise: Birmingham, Memphis, Chicago and San Jose. San Jose fans have been a fixture on this site since the announcment on 10 July 2000. Since the new announcement last week we’ve barely heard a “peep” from anyone from San Francisco. What we are trying to say is this: San Francisco does not care about the Demons, but San Jose did. They definitely did.

In a news article printed in the Business Journal of San Jose on 11 Sep 2000, just two days before the San Jose move, Mike Preacher, the GM and President of the Demons franchise was quoted as saying that the Demons are installing video screens, cameras and sound equipment to bring the fans both at home and in San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium closer to the game. He also stated that the team’s office had received nearly 5,000 requests for season passes. We still wonder what he was doing, going on record like this only days before the franchise was pulled out of San Jose. Perhaps it was just a simple a matter of bad timing on the part of the media?

Does anybody else think that the majority of these season passes were sold to fans from San Jose?

The XFL’s spin on the move is that everybody will be better off with the team playing in Pac Bell Park. Fans should be happy about this. Also, playing in Pac Bell Park will give the XFL more of a big league image. This is obviously very important to the league bosses.

The only thing that Pac Bell Park has going for it is that it is a fantastic new facility and it is large. On the other hand, Spartan Stadium is a football stadium, built for fans of the greatest sport on earth. You know the type of stadium, two banks of seats parallel to the sidelines, and two end zone seating areas to enclose the playing field. Pac Bell Park is beautifully shaped like a ball diamond. Can it be made to be condusive to football? We’ll leave that to the XFL to figure out.

Accepting change is something that the XFL would like to have us do easily. After all it did not take long for the league to accept these new changes. On the league’s official web site at xfl.com, the name San Jose was replaced by San Francisco in all areas. Also, the name Spartan Stadium was just as easily replaced by Pacific Bell Park. Essentially the San Jose Demons never existed – wiped from the face of football with one click of a mouse.

In the XFL press release, Mike Preacher went on record to say “We always have considered ourselves a team for the entire Bay Area. San Jose is an important market for the Demons as it should be for all Bay Area teams. We will promote our product to the residents of the South Bay with no less fervor than we would have had we been playing at Spartan Stadium. The people and city of San Jose have been first-class all the way. We know they will continue to support the Demons.”

This is all nice sugar coating for the XFL fans of San Jose. But, make no mistake about it, the name of this team is now the San Francisco Demons. The words San Jose Demons, the name that many fans came to love, shall never be uttered again.

On the counterpoint, the XFL is all about progress. One of the major tenets of this league is to move into the new century with some new-style football fun. We should be trusting their plan to move into a baseball park. Like we have said before: “In Vince We Trust”. This remains true. Most fans of this league are dedicated to trusting the league’s founder simply based on his track record.

It’s just that to San Jose, the XFL is acting like a long lost cousin who came to visit for 67 days. They didn’t even say goodbye before they left.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

It’s All Math

(11 September 2000) — When the XFL was first announced, one of the comments was “Who will play in such a league?” It seems that the real question should have been “What will the XFL do with all the potential players they turn away?”

The XFL is getting a lot of attention lately from players of all sorts. More players than expected are asking the question, “How do I sign up to play in the XFL?” But, for most of these potential smashmouth footballers there will never be a job, just a math lesson.

In the CFL, many players are using the “XFL trump card” as a contract bargaining chip. In the Arena League, 410 players were reportedly sent contracts (letters of intent?) by the XFL. It is also reported that the XFL is currently negotiating with players such as Jim Druckenmiller, Dave Krieg, Rashaan Salaam, Jeff Hostetler and Bobby Hebert.

The XFL also had 10,000 players sign up at their official web site. How many of these will end up on an XFL roster? The answer is very few. Of the 10,000 that signed up some were known players with quantative experience. Most of these players were sent letters of intent. Of the remainder, only 1,000 were assigned to go to a combine.

In the first combine, held on 9 Sep 00 in Dallas, it is about 250 players showed up, but most were never given two looks. In the end, as it was reported by a player who was there, only nineteen players were singled out to receive letters of intent from the league. (The press reports that 50 were given contracts.) These guys were the cream of the crop.

Once all the combines are complete, only 10-15% of the attendees will be issued letters of intent. The others are all turned away at the door, and they will be out $110.00, the player’s cost to attend the combine, plus travelling expenses.

This should not come as a surprise to anybody. The XFL has a lot of players knocking on the door, and only a limited time to put together eight teams. The combines are designed to see what talent is available, and that nobody is overlooked.

When all is said and done, the XFL will most likely have issued a letter of intent for 600-700 players. These players will go into a pool for the XFL draft. Once drafted, approximately 350 players will gain a position on XFL rosters.

It’s anybody’s guess, but anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 potentially excellent football players will be turned away from the entire selection process. The good news for them is that there is going to be approximately 350 more professional football player jobs in the world come this February. Players who go to the XFL from the CFL, Arena League and NFL Europe will leave openings for the unsigned football playing masses.

Salaries: Another Math Lesson

Why is there so much interest in this league? Mostly because the XFL salary scale is unique, and may prove to be beneficial to many players, especially the ones who play on winning teams.

The league has hinted that they will be paying a base salary of $45,000 for each player per season. Quarterbacks will receive a little more, $55,000, and kickers will get $35,000. There is also an incentive plan, with players on teams that win getting more cash.

Of course it is the incentives that make this league worthwhile. After each winning game, winning team will split $100,000. The team that wins the championship will split an additional bonus of $1,000,000. On a 38 man roster, these incentives can add up in a hurry.

For example, a regular player who plays on a winning team, with an 7-3 record for example, and that goes on to win the championship will actually make $92,638. The potential is there for a player to more than double his base salary.

On the other hand, a player on a losing team, with a 3-7 record for example, and that misses the playoffs, would make only $52,895.

Not too bad for three months work.

Reported
Base Salaries
Player
$45,000
Quarterback
$55,000
Kicker
$35,000
Regular
Season Performance Bonus
Winning teams will split a $100,000 bonus for each game won. Reportedly this bonus pool would be split evenly across 38 players on the roster.
Team
Record
Approx.
Yearly Bonus per player
10-0
$26,320
9-1
$23,684
8-2
$21,053
7-3
$18,421
6-4
$15,789
5-5
$13,158
4-6
$10,526
3-7
$7895
2-8
$5263
1-9
$2632
0-10
$0
 
Playoff
Performance Bonus
Playoff wins will net more bonuses for players. The Championship team will split a whopping $1,000,000. Playoff calculations are based on 4 teams making it into the post-season.
Playoff
Record
Total
Approx. Playoff Bonus Per Player
Semi-Final
Win Only
$2632
Championship
Team
$28,947

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

Forget About the CFL

(7 September 2000) –– What a bunch of confusing talk lately! All this talk of sharing players and mergers with the CFL. Where is all this coming from?

Answer: The media.

Media sources have been rife lately with stories about the CFL merging with the XFL, the CFL sharing players with the XFL and the XFL creating franchises in Canada.

None of this seems to have any truth. The scary thing is that most of these stories have been created by the Canadian media itself.

The story first broke that the XFL would share players with the CFL. The truth is that the CFL President and COO, Jeff Giles, who recently handed in his resignation, commented that the two leagues may decide to share players in the future. The problem is that the media took this one step further. When the story made it to print, it was reported that the CFL had proposed to share players with the XFL. You got all that out of one comment, right?

One good story twist deserves another! The next thing you know the story is all about a merger between the two leagues. Then one eager reporter creates his own scoop by saying that the recently cancelled Ottawa franchise would be replaced by one purchased from the XFL. This is also far from the truth, the main reason being that the XFL does not sell franchises.

The truth is that the CFL is concerned about the XFL. They should be. The XFL is probably going to walk away with some of the Canadian league’s finer players. But in the long run the CFL will survive. It has survived the rise of the USFL, the Arena League and NFL Europe (World League), and it will survive this also. The future of three-down football is as long and wide as the CFL field itself.

So forget about the CFL – it will survive. Let’s focus on something new and different – the XFL.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

In Vince We Trust

(30 August 2000) — When the XFL announced the eight team nicknames, colors and logos last week most fans were watching with a certain level of excitement. Here at XFLBoard.com, we were also waiting for the team names to be announced. Mostly though, we wanted to see if the predictions on this board would turn out to be correct. We got more than we bargained for.

Most of us really didn’t know what to expect. Would the announcement just consist of Vince McMahon pointing at a flipchart with a pointy stick? There was suppose to be a video simulcast. What would it consist of?

We soon found out.

One only has to watch the announcement video, which can still be viewed at http://www.xfl.com, to see how polished this announcement really was. The announcement turned out to be a first class affair. Most media and fans found themselves reacting to the big announcement with excitement and optimism.

Before the announcement, many fans were caught up on the rumors of what people termed as “awful” team names. Once the announcement was done most fans were settled on the fact that these names and logos were cool.

The big questions is this: How did the name Orlando “Rage” go from awful to cool? The Orlando press tried to put it all in perspective when they said “at least we are not the Maniax”. Meanwhile over in the Memphis camp they have unofficially renamed the Liberty Bowl as the “Asylum”. Both reactions show some level of acceptance by the local media and/or management of these franchises.

It turns out that most fans and media went on to accept the nicknames and logos in one single afternoon. We still hear some fans complaining about the names, but the target demographic, young men (18-24) are not complaining at all. They are loving this.

This league is targeted for them. Even the video soundtrack has a harsh, techno-rave beat. This was not meant to appeal to the over-forty, baby boomer set. This is strictly Gen X and younger.

Of course there has been more than one fan who has expressed their displeasure for these names. One fan in particular, a regular contributor to the XFLBoard.com message board, went on to say that because of the Los Angeles Xtreme name, he couldn’t go on posting as “L.A. Fan”. In fact, he said that he would not be following the XFL anymore. This is a fact of life. Some fans will not ever be able to accept some of these team nicknames. The up side is that for every fan the XFL has turned off, they have probably gained a thousand more.

How did most fans turn to accept these nicknames and logos? It is because Vince McMahon has been telling us that we were to expect something different, and especially, something opposite to what the NFL was providing. The team name announcement set the tone for what to expect in the future, and also proves to us that the XFL means to set itself apart from other leagues. This is exactly what Vince has been telling us all along.

One fan in our message board has recently commented that “the XFL was suppose to be a return to the football that our fathers watched.” He went on to say that the team names and logos did not represent a bygone era of football.

The real answer to this comment is simple. We are in still in for old-time football, the team names and logos will be 21st century.

Extra Point: Did you see the XFL football flying through the air in the team nickname announcement video? Now that is cool! If this is comment is coming from someone who is over 35, I wonder what the 18-24 demographic thinks of this ball?

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

It Was a Blast…

(23 August 2000) — The XFL has announced that the team names will be revealed on Thursday, 24 Aug 00 at 1PM EDT.

We’ve been speculating and rumor-mongering on this board for the past four months and we are glad that the league will finally make it all official.

The nickname rumor train gave us something to keep us busy in the time that we waited for the XFL to get things in order. People want rumors, and the nicknames were the most famous rumors of them all.

We have come a long way from the day that a supposed insider named XFLFAN gave us the notorious list: Pioneers, Skyscrapers, Orcas, Condors, Terminators, Bloodhounds, Gamblers and Nighthawks.

You are probably wondering what happened to XFLFAN. I will go on record saying that XFLFAN was not an insider, although we initially thought that he might be. He is actually a guy from Lakeland, Florida who was a good guesser at some things. He was also somebody who just wanted things to go his way, mostly by starting some good rumors and then hoping that they will come true some day. Once this was discovered, he was done at XFLBoard. XFLFAN and I have been in contact lately. He now brags about how he fooled everybody, including the admin of this web site. But now that is ancient history – on to the famous future.

The notorious list did make it all the way to the XFL head office, but they did not bite. After all, they had their own marketing studies, which were leading to determine the possible names.

From what we can piece together, based on actual WWFe trademark registrations and internet domain name registrations, this is what actually occurred:

There were some initial nickname choices made by the league: Empire, Demons, Crusaders, Chaos, Snake Eyes, Xtreme, Warlords, Vipers, Rock, Predators, Hitmen, Enforcer, Lazers and Maniax. These names were all trademarked first, but were not linked to cities yet. A marketing study was done to decide which names were popular.

Once studies were complete some secondary choices were linked to XFL cities: San Jose Demons, New York Chaos, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Jose Demons, Memphis Maniax and Chicago Enforcers. Birmingham and Las Vegas were up in the air at this point, so they did not figure into the equation. Further marketing studies were done on these names.

On June 14th, laxtreme.com, nychaos.com and chicagoenforcers.com were registered as internet domain names to the WWFe. These were obviously solid choices for names of these cities at this time.

On August 13th, a meeting was held to make final decisions to team names. NY Chaos was changed to NY/NJ Hitmen. The names Birmingham Blast, Memphis Maniax were approved. A new internet domain name losangelesxtreme.com was chosen.

On August 14th all the new internet domain names were registered: BIRMINGHAMBLAST.COM, CHICAGOENFORCERS.COM, LOSANGELESXTREME.COM, LASVEGASOUTLAWS.COM, MEMPHISMANIAXX.COM, NYNJHITMEN.COM and SANJOSEDEMONS.COM.

On August 22nd, due to public furor in Alabama, the name Birmingham Blast was dropped as a potential team name. What will the new Birmingham name be? We don’t have a clue, although several good names have been suggested in our message board. My personal favorite is IRONMEN.

The only thing we don’t know is a name choice for the Orlando team. The name Rage is rumored by the Orlando media, but we have no evidence of this in either trademark information or domain name registrations. The internet domain ORLANDORAGE.COM is registered to a private concern, but it is very recently registered and there is a sports related website at that location. We are not sure what is going on, and we don’t wish to speculate at this time.

We are now ready for the XFL to reveal the official team names.

Just to clear the air in advance, we don’t care if the rumors on this web site are proven to be true or false. If we turn out to be absolutely wrong, we would like to say in advance “Good job Vince, thanks for keeping us in suspense!”

After all, what we really want is for the names, logos and colors to be really “cool”.

Then let’s play some football!

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

XFL Press Release:

23 August 2000
Get ready for the XFL logos

Over the past two months, the XFL has been busy announcing the eight cities that will host teams during its inaugural season. And now its time to get to the fun stuff! This Thursday, August 24, the XFL will unveil all eight team logos and nicknames in eight simultaneous press events held in each XFL city. The cross-country celebration will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET with WWF New York serving as “party central” – so if you’re in the tri-state area come on down to Times Square and join the fun! Plus, a video featuring the names and logos will be broadcast over the NBC video billboard in Times Square! The press conference will follow the video – so you can watch the entire press event from the street in New York City’s Times Square!

Attention News, Entertainment and Sports Editors:
Media Advisory – XFL to unveil team names and logos

WHAT: XFL Press Event
WHY: XFL will announce the names and logos of the eight teams for its inaugural season
WHO: Basil V. DeVito, Jr. – President, XFL Drew Pearson – Vice President and GM of NY/NJ team
WHEN: Thursday, August 24, 2000 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: WWF New York 1501 Broadway (corner of 43rd Street and Broadway) New York, NY 10036

Smashmouth Football? Smashmouth Marketing!

(21 August 2000) — Have you been following the rise of the XFL? How has the trip been so far? Let me tell you…

The XFL was first announced in February 2000. This web site and a few others were created in the months that followed. In this time we have seen the league start from an announcement which contained a few rules and a strong statement from Vince McMahon claiming that we would see a return to Smashmouth Football.

Since then we have not seen any Smashmouth football. Of course, we are still taking Vince’s word that we will eventually see it.

What we have seen in its place, is “smashmouth marketing”.

This is a brand new league, fighting to put itself together in a limited time span, while trying to market itself. It also seems imperative that this new league creates enough fan-based hype so that they will survive through an entire NFL season.

Not to mention the monumental task of establishing and organizing eight franchises in different cities and with a variety of personnel. It does not sound like a great way to spend your summer vacation.

Have they done enough? I don’t think anybody could have done any better than what Vince McMahon and his gang in Stamford CT. have done.

Their announcements seem to be timed so that nary a week has gone by without a major league press release. Every press conference has been a first class affair, gaining plenty of local media coverage in most of the XFL team cities, especially in the smaller markets.

When Dick Butkus was announced as the Head Coach of the Chicago franchise it sent shockwaves across the country. The announcement was played out in every media market across the land and even many more around the world. Many agreed on the decision to place Butkus as the head coach of the Chicago XFL team, and many more disagreed. But, never mind the opinion of the media. The seed was planted, and the hype that grew was “gold”.

And there is more to come.

In the coming weeks we will be formally introduced to the official XFL team nicknames, team colors, team logos and jersey designs. The same thing will happen all over again. The XFL team names may prove to be wildly different than what the football following public is use to. This will create a stir!

In the media there will be coverage – good, bad and otherwise. But, in the football jersey buying demographic there will be a need to go out and shop. The media hype will get everybody’s attention, and the people will react with their wallets.

Later this fall we will also be introduced to potential XFL players through combines and training camps. How will the XFL take advantage of this, to create the necessary level of excitement? We’ll just leave that up to Vince McMahon and the team in Stamford.

It hasn’t all been coming up roses. The league’s official web site at xfl.com has had some good days and bad days. For example, the recent announcement of the signing of Al Luginbill as Head Coach of the Los Angeles franchise was not posted on the official site until approximately 36 hours after it had occurred. By this time, the announcement was already “old news” at most media sites and XFL fan sites. Like many people have learned in the past. Creating a web site is one thing – keeping it up to date is totally different.

The XFL will learn from it’s mistakes.

The first XFL game will take place one week after the Super Bowl. One wonders how the XFL can keep the hype going through the entire NFL regular season and have the fan frenzy peak just after the biggest football game of the year? The XFL has yet to take us down this road.

The scenery could be interesting.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor