Speculation is running high that WWE boss Vince McMahon is considering reviving the XFL. Among the indications, he recently sold a big chunk of WWE stock as a potential funding mechanism, filed for a number of XFL trademarks, and set up a new personal entity, Alpha Entertainment, that could serve as a holding company for the XFL in its potential second iteration.
A joint venture between the-then WWF and NBC, the eight-team XFL folded after just one season (2001). That season culminated in the Los Angeles Xtreme defeating the San Francisco Demons 38-6 in the so-called Million Dollar Game on April 21 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The XFL is perhaps best remembered for the skycam, which the National Football League subsequently adopted, as well as the game jersey of running back Rod Smart which read “He Hate Me” rather than his last name.
McMahon has described the original XFL as a colossal failure. That said, many sports industry observers believe the time may be ripe for the emergence of a professional football competitor to the NFL (sometimes derisively nicknamed the “No Fun League”), in part given the NFL’s declining attendance and TV viewership that has occurred for various reasons. While football makes news 12 months a year, it is likely that a reconstituted XFL would play in the summer rather than go head to head against the NFL, however.
Parenthetically, former WWE diva Torrie Wilson has quipped that she is willing to be the XFL’s head cheerleader.
On his broadcast as well as on his Outkick the Coverage blog, Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis came up with various unconventional recommendations that could make XFL 2.0 a viable enterprise, assuming the circumstances permit.
- An eight-team XFL (four qualify for the playoffs) with seven regular season games can run from June through August, with the championship determined before the start of NFL pre-season action.
- XFL teams should have the ability to draft college freshman and sophomores
- The XFL could try to sign former high-profile QBs such as Johnny Manziel (who appears to be headed to the Canadian Football League), RGIII, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick
- Instead of parceling out XFL franchises to individual owners, McMahon should own and control the entire XFL
- Provide incentive-based pay: “Offer your average player a base salary of around $100K, if you make the playoffs, you make $200K, win the championship, you get $300K” (given marketplace considerations, XFL quarterbacks would come in to the league at a much higher pay grade)
- In addition to franchises in the New York City area and in Los Angeles for media exposure, establish XFL teams in football-friendly, non-NFL cities and/or in cities abandoned by the NFL
- Establish an iron-clad rule that all XFL players must stand for the national anthem
- “Allow fans to call plays via an XFL social media app“
- “Embrace gambling”
- Get rid of field goals, extra points, and punts beyond midfield
- Hire non-traditional, edgy announcers to call XFL games to create more entertaining telecasts
Travis’ producers chimed in with some additional suggestions such as clarifying some of the NFL’s convoluted, controversial rules, mic’ing up coaches and players during games, and selling food and drink at XFL venues for reasonable prices. Anyone who has attended an NFL, NBA, or MLB game (including Spring Training) is well aware that concession eats are outrageously expensive. An additional idea is for the XFL to play its games at smaller stadiums to enable fans to get closer to the action.
Listen to Clay Travis discuss some potential XFL innovations in the clip below and draw your own conclusions.