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XFL is Making a Comeback - Official Announcement Set for 3PM Today


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https://www.cbssports.com/wwe/news/this-is-the-xfl-again-controversial-football-league-set-to-return-in-2020/

This is the XFL, again: Controversial football league set to return in 2020

vince-mcmahon-xfl-getty.jpg
The XFL is back, 19 years after it was originally announced in 1999. Getty Images

As if 2017 was not crazy enough, 2018 has fired its opening salvo as the return of the XFL, a controversial football league originally founded by Vince McMahon in 1999, will be officially announced on Thursday, sources close to the situation confirm to CBS Sports.

While the return of the XFL will be made official Thursday, CBS Sports has also learned that the league is not expected to start up again until 2020. McMahon, who rushed the original XFL into existence without so much as a full slate of offseason practices to prepare for the league's inaugural year, has apparently learned his lesson from one of the XFL's biggest initial mistakes. 

An announcement has been set for 3 p.m. ET.

There had been unsubstantiated talk about the XFL making a return late in 2017, but Brad Shepard first reported in mid-December that McMahon, WWE's chairman, was planning to make such an announcement on Jan. 25. That day has indeed arrived.

WWE clarified at that time of the initial reports that it was not going back into the football business but McMahon will rather be doing so on his own. McMahon has created Alpha Entertainment separate from WWE and recently sold 3.34 million shares of WWE stock (about $100 million worth) in order to help fund the company. Alpha Entertainment has also since acquired five XFL trademarks that WWE abandoned between 2002 and 2005.

"Vince McMahon has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football. Mr. McMahon has nothing further to announce at this time," WWE said in a statement back on Dec. 16, 2017.

Back to the topic at hand. The original incarnation of the XFL was a joint venture between WWE (then-WWF) and NBC with McMahon and former NBC executive Dick Ebersol spearheading the project. ESPN produced a fantastic "30 for 30" documentary on the successes and failures of the XFL that is a must-watch for any sports fan, but the long and short of it is that the league attempted to do too much -- too extreme -- too fast. NBC got uncomfortable, and once it pulled its support, McMahon's baby was dead in the water. (Ironically enough, the end of the doc features McMahon and Ebersol musing about whether the XFL would work today and lessons learned from the venture.)

I've long maintained that the XFL has actually received too much grief from those looking back on its failures years later. It had some ratings successes, the football improved drastically as the season went on (it was rushed into existence and teams did not get an opportunity to truly practice ahead of the season), and some of the game's innovations (sky cam) still used to this day were adopted by the NFL and other networks. The XFL failed in large part due to a confluence of misfortunes including technical difficulties, miscast announcers, changing the rules during the season, and McMahon's decision to go to the extreme by bringing adult themes into the game -- such as overtly sexualizing the cheerleaders.

The XFL of old will be tough for any network to stomach in 2018 and beyond. Aside from the concept surrounding the cheerleaders, the XFL placed a heavy emphasis on old-school, no-holds-barred football. Considering CTE concerns and increasing attention to other health risks players face, that's an obvious issue to centering a league around such an extreme brand of football. Back in the day, the XFL even trashed the opening coin toss for the "opening scramble," which featured players running and diving for a football at midfield. One player famously separated his shoulder on the first scramble of the season and missed the rest of the year.

What one has to expect here is a somewhat toned-down version of the XFL more akin to the NFL and college football but with enough unique elements that will set it apart from the pack. It will be instrumental for McMahon to find a broadcast partner from the get go, and it will be interesting to see if he went straight for a popular streaming service considering the success he's had with the WWE Network.

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1 minute ago, Bleedin Green said:

The real question is, who will be the next He Hate Me?

LOL.  Like the article states, it will probably be toned down and it should.  If you want people to take it seriously, which will be very difficult, then you have make a great presentation to the audience.  Inferior players and gimmick ideas just doesn't work.  No matter what he does, there has to be competitive games.

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1 minute ago, prime21 said:

LOL.  Like the article states, it will probably be toned down and it should.  If you want people to take it seriously, which will be very difficult, then you have make a great presentation to the audience.  Inferior players and gimmick ideas just doesn't work.  No matter what he does, there has to be competitive games.

Yeah, I agree it will definitely need to be chilled out, but I'm sure they'll go out of their way to create some points of distinction.  In the end, it's still Vince McMahon.

With that said, credit where it's due, now is probably the best time to make this move.  Right now, there are still plenty of football fans, but it's the NFL itself that is starting to lose it's support.  I'm not sure if a new league will ever work out in modern times, but if ever there's a chance, the time is now.

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Ill be honest, the first time around I had zero, literally zero interest. Almost 20 years later, I am somewhat intrigued and interested. Somewhat.

The last 20 years the quality of NFL play has gone so far down its ridiculous, so I don't think its nearly as much of a hurdle as it was 20 years ago, even though I still sure the quality of play to be way down from current NFL play.

If the league is legitimate, officiated fairly, the rules are logical, and the players don't disrespect the country, I will watch regularly and support the league. Even if the play is inferior. I actually hope this league works and forces the NFL to get its act together, even though it probably will not.

 

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Love the idea of another, competing, or better yet alternate-season-period, Professional Football League.

Do NOT love the idea of a WWE-a-like, He Hate Me, flash and sizzle over football content, "professional" football "entertainment product".

I still wish the World League had survivied.  NFL rules, international teams, off-season play season.  And a team in Scotland for me to root for.

This XFL II:  Hollywood Boogaloo.......I'll almost assuredly pass.

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51 minutes ago, Warfish said:

Love the idea of another, competing, or better yet alternate-season-period, Professional Football League.

Do NOT love the idea of a WWE-a-like, He Hate Me, flash and sizzle over football content, "professional" football "entertainment product".

I still wish the World League had survivied.  NFL rules, international teams, off-season play season.  And a team in Scotland for me to root for.

This XFL II:  Hollywood Boogaloo.......I'll almost assuredly pass.

I'm not too sure about that. All in all McMahon is a smart man and he knows his target audience. Back with the XFL, he was appealing to the WWE audience, and since the NFL was massively popular, they needed to make it EXTREME to set it apart. I think this go around instead of targeting Wrestling lovers he targets "Old school NFL fans", all those people boycotting over politics, sick of the controversial reffing, tired of one team getting all the breaks and yes, most likely sick of all the "you can only tackle a player above the knees and below the shoulders" flags. 

Adding to that, if (huge IF), they can attract college players who either failed out of school due to grades, arrests etc. or attract players out of high school that would rather get paid than risk injury in college, they might have a legitimate chance. 

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11 minutes ago, prime21 said:
Vince McMahon is going to announce new football league, which will start in 2020. I was told Johnny Manziel will be a No. 1 target for new league.

McMahon just stated that there will be zero tolerance for criminality. If a player has a DUI they won't be an XFL player. Think that might disqualify Manziel but we shall see how strictly he abides by that thought. 

Again, I think this points to my statement above that he is really going for the middle-america sick of the kneelers, criminals of the NFL crowd. 

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8 minutes ago, JetFreak89 said:

McMahon just stated that there will be zero tolerance for criminality. If a player has a DUI they won't be an XFL player. Think that might disqualify Manziel but we shall see how strictly he abides by that thought. 

Again, I think this points to my statement above that he is really going for the middle-america sick of the kneelers, criminals of the NFL crowd. 

Basically.

80% of this site is loving that, music to their ears :D

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2 minutes ago, Bleedin Green said:

I can see it now:  underdog team is making a huge comeback, last play of the game and they're shockingly just about to score the go ahead touchdown.  Player is running it in, makes it down to the one yard line, and then... BAM!  Clotheslined by the referee!  The referee then strips his shirt off to reveal the other team's jersey as the clock hits zero and the whistle has blown.  OH MAH GAWD!!!

Keep in mind, I'm still not sure whether I would consider this more likely to happen in XFL or NFL.

Why not?

We've already seen a ref celebrating with the Pats after the TD before the half.  Not much of a reach from there. 

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BTW, the full story following the official announcement:

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22213241/vince-mcmahon-gimmick-free-xfl-return-2020

 

Vince McMahon: XFL to return in 2020 without gimmicks

WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced Thursday he is giving a professional football league another go.

It will be called the XFL, the same name of the league McMahon and NBC tried for one season in 2001, but it won't rely on flashy cheerleaders and antics as its predecessor did, he said.

McMahon said he is the sole funding source for the league, which is slated to begin in January 2020. Its first season will have eight teams around the country playing a 10-week schedule. The initial outlay of money is expected to be around $100 million, the same amount of WWE stock McMahon sold last month and funneled into Alpha Entertainment, the company he founded for the project.

"I wanted to do this since the day we stopped the other one," McMahon told ESPN in an exclusive interview. "A chance to do it with no partners, strictly funded by me, which would allow me to look in the mirror and say, 'You were the one who screwed this up,' or 'You made this thing a success.'"

McMahon told reporters on Thursday afternoon that he has had no initial talks with media entities.

One mark of the new league, McMahon said, will be faster games. The ideal running time, he said, would be two hours.

As for the timing of the announcement, two years before the league's debut, many might point to McMahon's relationship with President Donald Trump, who this fall criticized the NFL for allowing its players to kneel and sit during the national anthem. McMahon said players in his league will not be given the forum to take a personal stance while on the playing field. McMahon's wife, Linda, heads the Small Business Administration in Trump's Cabinet.

"People don't want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained," McMahon said. "We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time."

Despite his relationship with President Trump, McMahon told reporters he had "no idea whether President Trump will support this."

McMahon said being the only owner of all of the teams will allow him to do whatever he wants.

"I can say, 'Here are the rules, and as long as you are playing football in the stadium for us, you follow these rules.'"

McMahon also said he would preclude any player with a criminal record, which would disqualify former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

"We are evaluating a player based on many things, including the quality of human being they are," McMahon said. If you have any sort of criminal record or commit a crime you aren't playing in this league."

Manziel, however, tweeted at McMahon to express his interested in playing in the league.

One of the main problems with the ill-fated previous XFL was timing -- the first games were played a year after the concept was announced. Adding an additional year, McMahon said, will allow for a better product. Teams will be formed in 2019.

"It's extremely important that we have time to get together and get them practicing so we can have a quality product," McMahon said.

One of the reasons McMahon thinks he will be able to succeed 19 years after the league first failed is because, he said, television ratings no longer dictate success.

"To me the landscape has changed in so many different ways," McMahon said. "Just look at technology and companies like Facebook and Amazon bidding for sports rights. Even if ratings go down, there's no denying that live sports rights continue to be valuable and continue to deliver."

One of the ways McMahon envisions enticing major media partners is to offer them something the NFL hasn't: more creative feeds of the same game.

"I don't think people want to see the same thing when they're streaming as they see on television," McMahon said. "That's boring. I think fans want it shot in a totally different way, and I think there's an immersive opportunity that's more interactive to the game."

McMahon said seeing the NFL's troubles, which included a second consecutive year of a decline in ratings, didn't have to do with the timing of his announcement.

"The start of this league has nothing to do with the NFL's troubles," McMahon said. "What has happened there is their business, and I'm not going to knock those guys, but I am going to learn from their mistakes as anyone would if they were tasked with reimagining a new football league."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN the league will have no comment on McMahon's upstart league.

Over the next couple of months, the league will announce the eight cities, expected to be large and medium-sized markets, where the teams will play. Team names will follow.

"Every city is on our radar," McMahon told reporters.

Then will come selection of players for the 40-man rosters. Salaries will be determined, but McMahon said players will make more money for winning.

"To me that's common sense," McMahon said. "Everyone in America lives when they perform, they get a raise or bonus. That's capitalism."

Although the season is only 10 weeks, McMahon said the contract will be a 52-week job so players can work themselves into the communities where they play.

It is not clear whether star players, should they garner national attention, will be able to jump to the NFL.

"One thing we are not is a development league for the NFL," McMahon said.

McMahon said he decided to go with the XFL name even though his new league won't provide the same gimmicks that were both a hallmark and a black mark on the original league.

"Quite frankly I looked at a number of things, but nothing resonated like the XFL. There's only so many things that have 'FL' on the end of them and those are already taken. But we aren't going to have much of what the XFL had, including the cheerleaders, who aren't really part of the game anymore. The audience wants entertainment with football, and that's what we are going to give them."

That means popular names such as 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow won't be given priority just because they are marketable. Everyone will come in on an even playing field, McMahon said.

"Maybe in a certain city having the old college quarterback would make sense, but only if he's the best option," McMahon said. "It's the wrong thing to do just for marketing."

McMahon told reporters that, unlike the last XFL, he doesn't have any plans to be visible during the league's games or with the league's content. Similarly, McMahon said that there will be no crossover with the league and WWE talent.

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If the crime thing is true it's going to hurt the product a lot. Better to allow a greater number of players in the league initially, but have harsher penalties for crime once they are in, than to eliminate so much of the talent pool from the get go. Plus that type of discrimination against former criminals is probably illegal. 

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His presentation was clearly based on all of the NFLs current issues and weaknesses 

I expect the national anthem to be quite the spectacle as well. 

Where will they play? I doubt they will want stadiums with seas of empty seats, so college campuses? Arenas? 

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1 minute ago, Larz said:

I had to pass a background check from DHS to get my job. Lots of industries reject criminals. 

 

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_discrimination_against_persons_with_criminal_records_in_the_United_States

"That said, blanket policies or practices e.g., exclusion of all job applicants with convictions from hiring may violate the Act due to the disparate impact on some minorities protected by the act who might have as a subpopulation higher rates of criminal convictions and arrests."

It would be difficult to have a blanket policy like the one he proposes. 

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2 minutes ago, Larz said:

I had to pass a background check from DHS to get my job. Lots of industries reject criminals. 

 

You are no longer allowed to ask on an application if someone has been convicted of a felony but for something like DHS you still have to pass a public trust investigation after you are tentatively hired

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5 minutes ago, LurkerKing said:

If the crime thing is true it's going to hurt the product a lot. Better to allow a greater number of players in the league initially, but have harsher penalties for crime once they are in, than to eliminate so much of the talent pool from the get go. Plus that type of discrimination against former criminals is probably illegal. 

Its discrimination but its totally legal. I have a felony for handing a guy a bag of weed back in 98 (NJ). It follows you around forever. In my experience, Sales and the Hospitality industries are the only ones that dont have a cow about it. 

 

The game they like to play is to keep you as a customer forever. Thankfully I saw what they were up to and was done with probation and all that by 01. That charge is still there though. 

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3 minutes ago, LurkerKing said:

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_discrimination_against_persons_with_criminal_records_in_the_United_States

"That said, blanket policies or practices e.g., exclusion of all job applicants with convictions from hiring may violate the Act due to the disparate impact on some minorities protected by the act who might have as a subpopulation higher rates of criminal convictions and arrests."

It would be difficult to have a blanket policy like the one he proposes. 

Tell that to the DHS 

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