In a move that seems both entirely surprising and yet also the most predictable, most McMahon-iest thing to ever happen, Vince McMahon announced today he is bring back the notorious XFL football league.
Today’s press conference/green screen extraordinaire capped off a month of speculation, rumor-mongering, and general surrealist feelings. And surreal it was. When the story broke in mid-December (generally regarded as a slow news time, especially for professional wrestling), the idea that Vince McMahon was even considering bringing back the much-beleaguered football league was laughable. At worst, it was the kind of news you assume surfaces for a few weeks before quickly falling into the cant-believe-that-almost-actually-happened nearfalls alongside stories like Paul Heyman joining TNA and heading up the creative team, Goldust getting actual breast implants, and (inevitably) that rumored R-Rated Quientin Tarantino Star Trek movie.
So what can fans expect? Did Vince McMahon go out of his way to parlay any concerns that this brand new, red, white, and blue XFL might just be a rehash of the not-so-successful Xtreme Football League?
Not so much.
The press conference opened with a video that teased fewer rules, a more fan-friendly experience, and trending activities like fantasy football and social media interaction. Vince himself talked about quicker games, potentially at the expense of halftime, and said (rather obtusely) that a 2 hour runtime would be idea. (Save that snide WWE Monday Night Raw remark – Twitter has you covered).
Various other details were offered. The league will debut in 2020, will be completely self-funded by McMahon using the money he earned from selling WWE stock late last year, and will field 8 teams in its first season. Other specific things like what time of the year games will be played, which cities will host teams, or even what network is willing to gamble on this new endeavor, are all still being hashed out.
Remember, Vince has given himself TWO years this time (the first XFL was infamously launched in just one).
Still, nothing was said to encourage fans this it can outlive the baggage of its predecessor, nor did McMahon go out of his way to distance this new product from the sins of XFL past or the current NFL product.
Someone did call in and ask about the National Anthem, of course, and while Vince McMahon was quick say this league was leaving the politics out of sports, he indicated that he, personally, considers standing for the National Anthem very important, and that players in his new league will be required to follow the rules.
At one point Vince McMahon concluded: “We’re going to give the game of football back to fans.”
You can find out more details by watching our breaking news announcement below.