WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL in a live press conference Thursday, January 25th. Here’s what he is up against.
The XFL, a one-year league that was introduced back in 2001 shortly before the twin towers attack, is making a resurrection from the dead. Its former CEO and chairman, Vince McMahon, has announced a planned kickoff for January of 2020. McMahon is the Chairman of the Board of the WWE. He has had marginal success while creating sports entertainment leagues.
This time, however, McMahon announced that he will be “taking a backseat” in the revival of his former project. He told press that he will be hiring “professionals who know what they are doing” to handle the league.
The Five Risk Factors of the XFL
The plan as of now is that the XFL will kick off a ten week season in January/February of 2020 with eight teams. No cities have been named to hold the teams. The main focus was clear from McMahon’s message – we want to give people the football they want to see.
Here are five things that are interesting take away’s from the information that we have so far:
No Criminal will play in the XFL.
McMahon was asked if top name players not playing football would be invited to play in the league. The names specifically requested were Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick. McMahon replied that the league would be looking for “quality players” not just as athletes, but as human beings.
“We are evaluating a player based on many things, including the quality of human being they are. If you have any sort of criminal record or commit a crime you aren’t playing in this league.”
This is an interesting proposition. One of the knocks on the NFL are the “thug” types that play in the league. It seems that every week, some NFL player is getting arrested or doing something else illegal. It turns a lot of people off to hear about a player threatening to sexually assault a police officers wife like we did with New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson this past week. Who can forget about Johnny Manziel’s brief stint in the NFL? He felt more like a Justin Bieber appearance then a football star.
McMahon also pointed out that this even applies to smaller charges, like DUI’s. “Even if you have a DUI,” McMahon said, “you will not be playing in the XFL.” So, sorry Johnny Football, this league isn’t for you.
McMahon doesn’t want politics involved.
One of the biggest hits on the NFL this year, and in it’s history, to its public relations was the “Anthem controversy.” McMahon wouldn’t confirm whether players will stand during the national anthem, but simply suggested that it was a good idea.
A large majority of NFL fans watching the games are soldiers, police, and middle class citizens. With that being said, they don’t want to watch players kneel and “disrespect the flag.” Players have over and over stated that they aren’t protesting the anthem, but rather using the platform to protest on. Whether it’s a good platform or not, that’s a debate for another day. The point here is that McMahon is trying to target those Americans who are currently boycotting the league due to the controversy.
The next interesting point on this is that politics doesn’t just pertain to Democrats and Republicans. Politics is now attacking the family. What’s good content to some parents is a turnoff for others. This is why he doesn’t want criminals involved in the league.
Over and over again, some parents with smaller children feel forced to turn off professional sports because of the behavior of the athletes playing. This behavior seems to always be brought up during a broadcast. Parents don’t want their children hearing about players like Ray Rice, Adam Jones, Anderson or Manziel. They want to watch a football game and enjoy the athletes on the field.
McMahon is playing to cater to those Americans. He wants the game to be “family-friendly.” With the statements he made today, it should be enough for him to have their backing and their support.
McMahon wants the game to be faster
The XFL is planning on looking into ways to make the game go by faster. As in, less time for advertisements and less time for us the viewers to sit down to watch it. Let’s face the facts. Three and a half hours is a long time to sit down to watch something. Especially when over an hour of the content is the same old commercials that we have seen while watching the news a million times.
McMahon said that they are looking to shorten the game, aiming for a two hour time slot. The plan for doing this is to make the game “faster-paced.” This is where McMahon’s wrestling backround is becoming very clear. When watching a good fight, not necessarily WWE, but a good boxing match, what makes the fight more exciting? When they turn off the commercials, and the boxers have thirty seconds between rounds. There’s not much time to chat about it, it’s one hundred percent tension.
The strategy to a football game is like a fight. Very rarely do you come into a fight with a knockout blow, because it could ruin your chances for the rest of the fight. You feel out your opponent, look for weaknesses and and then take your shots when they open up. Football is very much the same way.
McMahon is trying to make the game more exciting and that’s an entertaining thought.
There will be no franchises, it will be a single entity.
… And no crossovers from the WWE! Thank God!
No hires have been made yet.
I’m not questioning the authenticity of this league or whether it’s going to get off of the ground. I’m just wondering why bother announcing this when he doesn’t have anyone hired yet? No cities have been chosen to place teams? Is there a rulebook written? No Television sponsorships? It seemed like a rushed statement to make and that the league has no clear vision or plan. Yeah, they want to pull the eyes of blue collar Americans into watching the league, but seriously? What is the vision?
With what McMahon was saying, I don’t believe there is a vision or a plan. It sounded more as if McMahon was dodging questions the entire press conference. If I were on Shark Tank listening to this press conference, my money wouldn’t go into it.
McMahon was basically saying that he doesn’t know how to put a league together the right way. He learned that when he put the XFL together in 2001. Basically, his press conference was imploring more knowledgeable people to come help him get the league going by January, 2020. He’s holding up $100 million and saying “I’m paying, now come earn it.”
Whether or not the XFL actually takes off, or if it even kicks off, these are all business ideas that are worth noting and talking about. McMahon himself has seen the issues the NFL has had the past decade or so. He’s doing something about it. So let the record show that Vince McMahon is back into the football business, for now, and that it should be an entertaining ride.
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