On Thursday, WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced that the XFL will be returning in 2020, bringing back a league that ceased operations after a miserable first year in 2001.
17 years ago, the XFL was introduced as a league to provide NFL fans with entertainment during its lengthy offseason. NBC and WWF invested $100 million in the league, but lost a total of $35 in just one year. That prompted NBC to back out of its broadcasting contract, which forced McMahon to give up on the league.
McMahon outlined a number of rules and business relations for the XFL. The league will have eight teams, though he wouldn't specify which markets are being targeted for possible destinations. He also pledged that any player with a criminal record will be barred from entering the league.
Legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross appeared on Busted Open Radio to talk about what went wrong with the XFL in 2001, and how Vince can ensure there's more success this time around:
“You’ve got to be very selective of your cities and how those cities and franchises are going to be managed and promoted...Stadium selection is important. The LA Chargers are playing in a soccer stadium and no one seems to care. It will hold the costs down in that regards. There was no kickoffs. I like punts and kickoffs because there’s a chance for a big play. Another issue is where do you get good officials from? The NFL sure as hell doesn’t have a monopoly on them, because you see what they’re using.”
In the old XFL, punters were given 10-yard penalties for kicking the ball out of bounds. And when teams scored touchdowns, they had to attempt the extra point from the two-yard line, instead of kicking it.
The eight XFL teams to make up the 2001 season were based in Orlando, San Francisco, New York/New Jersey, Birmingham, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and Las Vegas. Vince told reporters during Thursday's announcement that "every city is on our radar."
JR also said that Vince told him he believed "in the concept" of the XFL despite its failed first tenure. "I know that was a challenge that went unfulfilled, didn’t succeed at it, and maybe there’s something to be said about his competitive nature. I can tell you that he sees something that is different than the last go-round," JR said.
Vince McMahon is hoping to have learned from his mistakes in the second go-around. He did pledge that he'll find the suitable medical experts, head coaches and players to help run the league. We'll see if the XFL has a successful revival in two years.