By Shawn Johnson
When WWE chairman Vince McMahon recently announced the revival of the rather controversial XFL football league, citizens across the country responded with one of two reactions – eye rolls and excitement.
McMahon, one of the most powerful figures in sports entertainment, revealed the decision in a press conference that garnered immediate attention. Reminiscing on the XFL’s failed first attempt at success, he strongly alluded to changes that would focus more on the fans than ever before.
“The new XFL will kick off in 2020, and quite frankly, [we are] going to give the game of football back to fans,” said McMahon. “[It] will be a fan-centric league with all of the things you like to see and less of the things you don’t.”
Of the key talking points for McMahon, player safety, political involvement and game experience were at the forefront. In contrast to the rather extreme standards of the formerly unsuccessful league, fans have been promised changes that will yield high-quality players under the care of equally high-quality physicians.
Additionally, McMahon made sure to guarantee league policies that would require all athletes to stand for the national anthem. Meanwhile, the press conference also allowed the opportunity for the sports tycoon to hint at shortening quarters, halftime and other aspects of the game to make the length comparable to that of a soccer match.
“What would you do if you could reimagine the game of football,” questioned McMahon. “Would you, for instance, eliminate halftime? Would the game of football be faster?”
For football fans, this announcement brings an intriguing competitor to America’s athletic powerhouse in the NFL. While the initial launch of the XFL quickly sizzled when trying to match up to its big brother, McMahon is giving himself nearly two years to reestablish the outside-of-the-box sports brand. For many, expectations are high that this attempt at relevance will be here to stay.
“The gimmicks, the dangerous nature of the games – they were all too risky for NBC, and the declining ratings showed that,” said Ulsadat Notrez, freshman. “[McMahon] has definitely learned from those mistakes, so I expect he will give Roger Goodell a battle for viewership at the very least.”
For those who remember the failures of the league’s initiation in the early 2000s, it would be easy to quickly dismiss this relaunch as yet another sales ploy by one of the greatest in his field. However, it is clear McMahon wants to make things right this time around, to make football enjoyable and less laborious. While a lot is left to be seen from the XFL team, the family-friendly resurrection will most definitely have the nation’s attention come 2020.