XFL Reborn

Ridicule and All

on January 2018 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

If at first you don’t succeed, try failing… again.

Wrestling has, does and alway will have a special place in my heart. So I don’t want to see anything that the WWE or that Vince McMahon touches, fail. It really is hard to be optimistic though as McMahon announced today that the XFL will be reborn in 2020. For those that may not know, or were fortunate enough to have it permanently removed it from your memory, the XFL stands for eXtreme Football League. It started in 2001 and was going to challenge the NFL with a “smashmouth” product that was fun and entertaining. The league lasted one year. The ridicule however, still lives on. For some reason, people feel that now is the time to revive this concept. Really? When things are really bad, they should be left alone and not regurgitated. Case in point, “We should remake the movie Ishtar” said no one in Hollywood… ever.

Although I can’t help but think that is what is going to happen to the 2020 version of the XFL, the one positive take away to come out of the WWE’s announcement is that it couldn’t fail any worse than the first time could it?

The WWE and NBC both lost a ton of money on the league the first time around to a tune of about $70 million. The XFL was derided mercilessly after that and to this day is still considered to be one of the biggest mistakes. It isn’t that other leagues (USFL for example) should never challenge the NFL, competition is always better for the fans, but why in the world would you re-use the XFL moniker as it is still the poster child for failure? There were rumours it might be called the UFL or the UrFL, but no, XFL it is. Isn’t this Bad Marketing 101? Which again makes this all so surreal because marketing is something the WWE has excelled at for decades.

The re-birth of the XFL is shocking enough on its own, but some of the details they chose to mention are even more confounding. The fact that the XFL has the fingerprints of one President Donald Trump all over it should not be understated. After all, not only is it a well know fact the he and Vince McMahon are friends, but President Trump is also a WWE Hall of Famer and he also appointed Linda McMahon leader of his Small Business Administration. So it isn’t surprising to hear the same rhetoric echoed here.

But why oh why would it be so important that in the very first announcement the reborn XFL makes, they felt it their duty to announce that all players will be required to stand for the anthem. Sound familiar doesn’t it? If it looks like it, if it sounds like it, and if it smells like it… then it certainly must be it. The rule itself isn’t uncommon as I believe the NBA has it as well, so I don’t have a huge problem with it as long as players have other outlets to voice their opinion. But the announcement goes on to say that nothing political should be said by the players. That worries me. It is just too easy to start with you cannot take a knee during the national anthem to you are not allowed to tweet anything political or you are not allowed to answer any political questions etc. This could be a potentially dangerous slope for this new league.

The other noteworthy take away from this announcement is that no one with a criminal record will play in the XFL. Say what? That’s right, if you have any kind of record, including a DUI, you will not be permitted to play in the XFL. Does this mean that according to the “morality police” not only is everyone who has been charged with a crime bad, but they are destined for hell and can never become an equal citizen in the United States again? I think it’s time that McMahon changes his wrestling entrance theme from No Chance in Hell to No Second Chances… Ever.

If a company or a business wants to have certain rules, that should be fine unless it hinders on people’s rights. Whether these do or do not, I will let smarter people figure that out. But what I find ridiculous in all of this and why I think the XFL will be yet another debacle is because they somehow felt that these were the points that would gain them traction from day one on their very first announcement. I just don’t understand why. Do they feel that the best way to get fans to switch from the NFL to the XFL is to point out that they will be politically and criminally free? I have not been a supporter of the NFL for quite some time and Roger Goodell will never send me a birthday card, but there are plenty of better items to choose from to show how different the XFL. You just have to shake your head at some of these decisions. At this rate, they may even go ahead and punt on first down.

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