- Vince McMahon announced on Thursday that the XFL will return in 2020.
- The second iteration of the XFL will be much different than the first failed league, with McMahon saying the new version will be safer, non-political, and will not allow players with criminal backgrounds.
- The brash, unchained version of football that the XFL tried to deliver in 2001 seems to have changed.
Vince McMahon on Thursday announced that he is reviving the XFL.
McMahon said in a press conference that the league will consist of eight teams, 40-man rosters, and 10 weeks of regular season play, leading to two semifinals and a championship game. He called it “fan-centric” and “football, reimagined.”
Yet for fans hoping to see the return of the hard-hitting, sexually charged XFL that failed after one season in 2001, McMahon broadcasted a severely different image on Thursday.
McMahon several times stressed that this XFL will be safer, saying the league will listen to medical experts.
Additionally, McMahon said there will be “no criminality whatsoever” with regard to the players on the roster. He said if a player has a DUI, for instance, they will not be allowed on a roster.
“The quality of the human being will be as important as the quality of the player,” McMahon said.
Furthermore, McMahon seemed to confirm that the league’s target audience is one that complained about the political nature of the NFL. McMahon said players will be expected to stand for the national anthem, which he called a time-honored tradition, and will not make political statements on the field.
He also suggested cheerleaders wouldn’t be a part of the XFL, telling ESPN’s Darren Rovell in an interview: “But we aren’t going to have much of what the XFL had, including the cheerleaders, who aren’t really part of the game anymore. The audience wants entertainment with football, and that’s what we are going to give them.”
All of this may come as a surprise when viewed in contrast to the first iteration of the XFL. That league was known for its brashness, and in a sense, was football, unchained – violent, physical, and expressive. McMahon seemed to be pushing back against those qualities while discussing the new version.
The XFL is expected to return in 2020, with the league slowly rolling out cities, teams, broadcasting rights, and more.
McMahon, above all, stressed that this will be a fan-based experience and the XFL will deliver what fans want. In his eyes, apparently what fans has changed since 2001.