The XFL was a professional footballl league financed by NBC and the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment). It lasted one year, 2001, because of poor TV ratings and attendance. Now it intends to come back in 2020, and some are saying it could hurt the Los Angeles Chargers, or perhaps play in San Diego (doubtful).
The league stressed violence. The teams had elegant names: Chicago Enforcers, New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Las Vegas Outlaws, Los Angeles Xtreme, Memphis Maniax, San Francisco Demons, and Birmingham Thunderbolts. The league admitted that it picked up some of its gimmicks from professional wrestling. There were no penalties for roughness and, in general, fewer rules. The public announcers talked trash and instead of a coin toss to determine who would receive the kickoff, the official put the ball on the ground and a player from each team scrambled for it. This was called “The Human Coin Toss.”
Vincent McMahon, founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, announced January 25th that he will bring the league back. This time, insists McMahon, the league will be civilized. Players with criminal records can’t play. Players can’t protest on social issues on the field. Potential players will be judged on “the quality of human being they are,” according to ESPN.com. This time, McMahon has no partners, but outsiders think he might hunt for a media hookup.
(Remember, his World Wrestling Entertainment features scripted entertainment. I am not saying these games will be scripted, but gamblers should be circumspect.)
The publication Bolts from the Blue, which appeals to Chargers followers, says that with the XFL returning, “The Chargers should expect even more competition for the LA media market.” After all, LA is the capital of scripted entertainment.
Tom Krasovic of the Union-Tribune questions whether a XFL team will locate in San Diego. I question it, too: already, two groups, SoccerCity and San Diego State University, are wrestling over the land that the former Qualcomm Stadium now stands, and both want to tear it down.
The bottom line is that billionaire McMahon has spent most of his career promoting professional wrestling. Could the reincarnation of the XFL possibly feature civility, as he now claims?