The Rise and Fall of XFL That Was So Bad, It Only Lasted for One Season
Wrestling fans have a lot to thank Vince McMahon for, an instrumental person to making the sport as entertaining as we see it today. But, football fans cannot do the same after the promoter once launched the XFL and defamed the National Football League.
Yes, there was once a time when the former wrestler-turned-executive dipped his toes into football — er, changed the game in its entirety. Well, he managed to thrust wrestling into global attention and that wasn’t enough for him.
In 2000, former NBC official Dick Ebersol said that NFL players were like Iran shahs in terms of their treatment because they couldn’t be touched, so it is safe to say that he hated the strict restrictions imposed at the time. So when his good pal Vince came up to him with an idea that totally changes the rules of the game, he knew that this was going to go somewhere.
For Vince, meanwhile, the game wasn’t as cruel as it needed to be (maybe he was comparing it to wrestling?), and even mocked NFL by calling it the No Fun League. So at the start of the millennium, the TV magnate revealed that he will be launching his iteration of the sport called XFL, short for Extreme Football League.
How did the game work? Vince likened it so a sports style of Survivor, where every match would be based on the players’ personalities.
The months leading to the launch of the XFL was filled with controversial ads, statements, and insults to the NFL that everyone was hyped to watch the show that gave all sorts of promises.
Indeed, it was not like the NFL – in fact, rules were thrown out the window. Instead of a coin toss to start the game, the athletes must run to the field to fight for the ball, which was so barbaric that one player even severely hurt his shoulder.
Players were made to wear mics so that whenever they feel pain, the audience can hear their reactions. The camera crew, meanwhile, wore protective gear just to get close-up shots of the game.
Apart from the violence, it heavily objectified the cheerleaders, who were asked to date the players. In short, XFL was filled with girls and lewdness.
Before the opening night, the athletes were only given 32 days to prepare for the game. Another bad omen was a blimp bearing the XFL fell in Oakland, which cost the business partners an extra $2.5 million.
By Feb. 3, 2001, the XFL kicked off and it drew 16 million viewers, but the game, or the quality of it, wasn’t enough to sustain the audience’s attention. With all the antics to try to win back the people, everything ended on March 17.
A lot of people denounced the XFL, while some players left the ship, too. In 2018, Vince announced that they are reliving this, although there would be improvements.
He said players who had been arrested wouldn’t be seen out in the field. The first game will air after Super Bowl 2020.
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