The XFL Comes to Chicago
By QumarChicago – Chicago Team Reporter
27 August 2000 – On a summer Tuesday morning June 13th, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Vince McMahon will be in Chicago (also there for WWF SmackDown) to give information about his upstart league, the XFL.
Rumors circulating when this league started had not included Chicago in one of the league’s first year teams. All those doubts came to a head at the Downtown Chicago Marriott. Vince McMahon announced that Chicago will be the first team in his XFL, and that they will play at Soldier Field.
With the announcement a year before that the Arena Football League coming to Chicago in 2001, I was confused that Chicago has an NFL, AFL, and now an XFL team. I didn’t know what to think. But I was happy. A league with new rules, toughness and of course the mind of Vince McMahon.
Our GM was also announced that day. Ken Valdiserri, a former Bears employee that worked with the the ’85 Bears.
The was not much media exposure on TV, but the local newspapers, the Sun-Times and Tribune, reported heavily about the XFL.
Expectations came first to mind for everyone. The next big worry about this Chicago team was “Who will lead this team?”. The first name on the list, even though he just got a job with CBS, was ‘Da Coach Mike Ditka. Buddy Ryan was also another name to be the XFL Chicago coach. They both fit the XFL “feel.” But we were taken by surprise on July 18th as the Sun-Times reported that McMahon and Valdiserri had called a press conference at Mike Ditka’s Restaurant in Chicago, and that Dick Butkus would be named XFL Chicago Head Coach.
The media was ALL OVER THIS ONE! Almost everyone that was a sportscaster on TV in Chicago was so excited about the XFL. Butkus gave everyone a big boost for this league and its team.
During the time of the news conference, Bryan Harlan resigned his position at the Chicago Bears organization. It later came out that he betted on pro games. A violation of an NFL league policy. Later that week, it came out that Ken Valdiserri was also a part of this betting scandal. Apparently, Valdiserri had informed McMahon of his situation in advance. Mcmahon had told him that “if he ever did that in the XFL, he should fire Valdiserri immediately”. This news went away quickly.
Now, hearing the news off of XFLBoard.com that the XFL will release names and logos on August 24th, Chicago should be in buzz about THEIR team. I can’t wait. And I am wanting to be an XFL season ticket holder. I mean Chicago Enforcers season ticket holder.