Vince McMahon is apparently once again interested in getting into the football business. The news, which was originally broken by right-wing writer Brad Shepard, was reported by Deadspin after they reached out to WWE regarding the possible relaunch of the XFL. The response from WWE is that Vince McMahon has started a company separate from WWE, called Alpha Entertainment, and is geared to “explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football.” In conjunction with the filing in June, the WWE spokesperson did not confirm or deny the possible resurrection.
However, the spokesperson did say that “Mr. McMahon has nothing further to announce at this time.”
Despite this, the original reporter of the story stated that an announcement about the XFL could be made on January 25, 2018. This is the Thursday following the 25th Anniversary of Raw.
FOX Sports noted that because the news was broken by a political source, the league could be linked to Donald Trump, who has been extremely critical of the NFL during his presidency. Trump owned the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League in 1984 and 1985, but that organization folded as well, after only three seasons. Trump was often blamed for the failure of the league, as he pushed it to move to a fall schedule against the NFL which cost it lucrative offers to air games in the spring.
The report also states that McMahon recently filed additional football trademarks, which included “URFL”, “United Football League”, “UFL”, and “For the love of football.”
It is also worth noting that many former players felt that the league was a disaster from a business standpoint. Allegedly, McMahon broke promises to many of the players and “burned many of them bad.” Apparently, McMahon promised players that the league would run for at least two years, which is why many took the risk and left the NFL.
Since the XFL was filled with lesser-known NFL players, the feeling was that they would get a wider notoriety by competing on primetime Saturday nights. In addition, it was also stated that Vince did not give fair warning to the players before folding after only a year. This also left injured players with no coverage from the league, forcing them to take care of any medical expenses on their own.
Unfortunately, there were not many ex-XFL players who would go on and have successful NFL careers after the league folded. Rod Smart, who was arguably the most notable XFL player, who went by the nickname “He Hate Me,” would only go on to play in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2005, of which only two of those seasons he played more than 12 games. He was, however, a member of the 2003 Panthers team, which finished the season as NFC Champions and Super Bowl XXXVIII runner-ups.
When the company folded in 2001, former NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol stated, “We knew it wasn’t going to work (in prime time) from early March on. The launch worked, the people were there, and we didn’t answer their expectations, I guess.” However, at the conclusion of the “This Was The XFL” 30 for 30 special, both he and Vince teased possible interest in bringing back the company.
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