Vince McMahon bringing back ‘reimagined’ XFL
Vince McMahon is indeed bringing back the XFL, with the resurrected football league set to return in 2020.
The WWE founder and chairman made the announcement Thursday, saying the new XFL will be a “reimagined” version of professional football.
“Quite frankly, we’re going to give the game of football back to fans,” he said.
Its first season will have eight teams with 40-man rosters around the country playing a 10-week schedule starting during the “end of January, early February,” McMahon said.
He also promised fans will be able to watch the league’s game on a variety of platforms and that the XFL will have “no crossover whatsoever” with WWE stars.
McMahon will remain in his position with WWE and is launching the XFL through Alpha Entertainment, a separate company he formed with $100 million he made by selling 3.34 million shares of WWE stock in December.
While no cities have been identified for potential teams, McMahon said all teams would be owned by the league and would not be individual franchises.
In response to a question posed during a conference call with reporters, McMahon said the league’s comeback wasn’t inspired by the NFL’s ratings decline or current controversy over player protests during the national anthem. Instead, he said he’s always wanted to bring back the XFL.
He also said that the league would be avoiding politics and social issues.
“We’re there to play football,” he said. “We want really good football. And I think that’s what fans want as well. When they tune I don’t know they want to be dealing with political issues and things of that nature.”
The original XFL was a joint venture between the WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation, and NBC. The league lasted one season 2001 with eight teams that played during the late winter and spring after the NFL season ended.
The XFL was hyped as a more “extreme” version of football, with the elimination of fair catches and extra points. Players also weren’t allowed to take a knee in the end zone when fielding a kickoff.
One of the most memorable parts of the league was it allowing players to put nicknames on their jerseys, including Rod Smart’s unforgettable “He Hate Me.” McMahon said it hadn’t been decided yet if nicknames would be used with the new XFL.