What does XFL stand for?

The original 2001 XFL logo.
The original 2001 XFL logo.

Back in 2000, when VInce McMahon first began to envision getting into football league ownership, he planned to call his league the “Xtreme Football League.” However, there was already a league in formation at the time using that name.

The Xtreme Football League, which was planned to be an indoor football league playing out of eastern US markets, had planned to begin play in April 2000. Just to keep everything above the board, McMahon decided to keep the acronym “XFL” and have the “X” not stand for anything.

McMahon would later joke that the “X” in “XFL” stood for “eXtra Fun League,” but this was only a tongue in cheek remark and a dig at the NFL which he also referred to as the “No Fun League.” Later, after an interview with XFL officials, Sports Illustrated would state, “The F and the L act to indicate, if only indirectly, a football league. But the X is a variable. It could mean anything.”

2020 XFL

When the XFL was restarted in 2020, the XFL didn’t bother to define the meaning of the “X” in the league’s acronym, especially since the new version of the league was making a concerted effort to distance itself from the first version of the XFL.

In a Sports Illustrated interview with 2020 XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck, the league’s name was discussed. In describing the origin of the league’s name, Luck stated, “The F and the L act to indicate, if only indirectly, a football league. But the X is a variable. It could mean anything.”

In a sense, the “X” in XFL represented whatever fans wanted it to represent. Oddly, there has been a Homer Simpson meme going around for years, where he indicates the “X” stands for “Extreme.” Perhaps some fans, Homer included, wish the official league’s name would take on the name originally envisioned by Vince McMahon. However, despite Homer’s insistence, the XFL has never considered this type of renaming. The “X” has always remained as a variable. It is somewhat vague, and may simply take on an individual meaning to each of the leagues fans.

XFL 2023

The new XFL owners have embraced the “X” in XFL and have taken to marketing the “X” in the league’s acronym as representing the “intersection of dreams and opportunity.”

There you have the beauty of the name “XFL.” It has become a generic name that seems to evolve as the league continues to evolve.

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