After months of rumblings and a $100 million USD liquidation of shares in the WWE, wrestling stalwart, Vince McMahon, is bringing back his ill-fated attempt at football, the XFL, after a 19 year absence.
While the name alone evokes thoughts of wild skirmishes to see who got the ball first, nicknames on the back of jerseys, and in-your-face crotch shots of gyrating cheerleaders, McMahon says this iteration will be more akin to the football you see in the NFL on Sundays.
Slated to begin in January 2020, the XFL will boast 8 teams (in unspecified markets) who will play a 10-week schedule. Since he is the sole owner of all the franchises, McMahon has readily specified that there won’t be any National Anthem protests like the NFL has seen this year.
“I can say, ‘Here are the rules, and as long as you are playing football in the stadium for us, you follow these rules,'” he told ESPN.
Additionally, the league will not allow any players with criminal records to participate and player salaries will be determined by 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 original iteration has often been the brunt of jokes, it was particularly revolutionary in how the game was broadcast – utilizing pieces of technology like Skycam which has been implemented in the NFL.
McMahon promises to keep pushing the visual boundaries.
“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.”
As for any bad taste left in his mouth, McMahon makes it clear that if the XFL fails for a second time, he will be the only one to blame.
“I wanted to do this since the day we stopped the other one. 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.'”
If you need an XFL refresher, read up on the well-produced ESPN ’30 for 30′ on the once defunct league.