Football fans are getting ready for today’s NFL Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, but the world of football has another event to look forward to this month. Next week will see the relaunch of the XFL, a league owned by WWE owner Vince McMahon that famously failed during its first iteration.
This time around, however, McMahon is hoping to succeed with his vision for a football league, and WWE Hall of Famer — and seasoned football announcer — Jim Ross believes that the new XFL can take off.
As quoted by 411Mania, Ross discussed the situation on the latest edition of his Grilling JR podcast, where he claimed that the XFL has a “fighting chance,” as everyone is more prepared going in this time.
“It’s got a fighting chance because of the TV deals they have in place with FOX and ESPN. Fighting chance because they’ve been preparing for the launch for two years, not 90 days. Fighting chance because they’ve got some of the best coaches that were available, including my friend Bob Stoops coaching the Dallas franchise. Former Oklahoma coach for almost 20 years. So yeah, it’s got a fighting chance.”
The previous version of the XFL was a disaster. As noted by ESPN, the league got off to an unfortunate start when a blimp boasting the logo crashed into an Oakland restaurant, which was a sign of the bad luck that was to come.
McMahon launched the league to compete with the NFL, with the promise of faster games and more entertainment. However, some elements of WWE made their way into the sport, such as wrestlers showing up at the games and the company’s commentary team announcing the action.
— XFL (@xfl2020) December 3, 2019
The league also failed due to the inability to attract quality players, coupled with strange rules that made games awkward and boring, like removing penalties for defensive interference. By the end of the first season, the XFL was a critical and commercial failure, and its TV deal was canceled.
According to Ross, the product could have been better if the teams had more time to prepare before the inaugural season. He noted how they didn’t have time to build a rapport with each other, and essentially went into the competitive games without any “chemistry.”
The WWE Hall of Famer also recalled how McMahon had no regrets at the time, however, and claimed that he’d launch the league again if the opportunity ever arose. Now that it has, hopefully the XFL will succeed this time.