Are you old enough to remember the XFL? The XFL was a professional( I use that term loosely) football league that was headed by WWE founder Vince Mcmahon. The big draw for the XFL was supposed to be “excitement” and the fact that the XFL season was supposed to run during the NFL’s offseason, which actually was a pretty good idea, especially for football junkies who have a jones for the sport during the NFL’s offseason. The problem with the XFL is that Mcmahon was never able to fully separate it from his wrestling empire. Mcmahon’s wrestling empire was built on a soap opera-like theme. Good guys, bad guys kind of thing, which some people love. That’s why the WWF (now WWE) became so popular. Characters like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre The Giant. Mcmahon managed to use the same successful formula and pass it down to the next generation of superstar wrestlers, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, etc. etc. etc. It was a formula that always worked. Bad guys vs. good guys. When that gets boring, turn the good guys into bad guys and the bad guys into good guys. Things like that seemed to hold wrestling fans interest. It certainly held mine as a youngster. Mcmahon seemed to try to bring this same formula for success into his latest business venture, The XFL. The league really tried to focus on the players and coaches as characters, not their talents on the field. The league even went as far as to add nicknames to the back of the jerseys to let the fans know a little about the players’ character. The most famous, was a guy who wore a jersey with the name “He Hate Me” on the back. I can’t recall that players name at the moment, but I do remember he went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles a few years after the XFL went out of business. Rod Smart! It just came to me. I think that was his name, or something like that. Anyway, the XFL only lasted for that one season in 2001. The league had one great night of ratings. The very first night. After seeing commercials for the league all over the place, most people were curious to see what the league and games would actually look like. After people got a quick peek at the mediocre talent on the field, most people were disappointed with the XFL. Ratings dipped week after week. The XFL blames the league’s failure on NBC. There was a Saturday Night game being played that went into overtime. NBC cut away from the game to go to their regular programming at the time (Saturday Night Live). The XFL blames NBC for their league failing because they cut away from one of their best games of the season before the game was completed. Whatever helps Vince Mcmahon and the failed XFL sleep at night I guess. Truth is, the league was going under anyway. Maybe you can sell characters in wrestling, but you can’t sell that sh*t to hardcore football fans. Football fans want to see good football, not colorful characters. Anyway, Mcmahon is reportedly going to give the XFL another try. I wonder if he’s learned that football fans want to see good football? Probably not. People who have success in one thing seem to have a hard time understanding that some things are different. It takes a different formula to be successful in different things sometimes. Mcmahon will probably trot out a bunch of wrestlers to promote a league based in mediocre talent once again. Once again, it will fail. And once again, Vince Mcmahon will likely blame someone else for his inability to adjust. Because, smart, successful businessmen never make mistakes, therefore every failure has to be someone else’s fault, not that of the genius.
ESPN (@espn) reports, Alpha Entertainment, a company formed by Mcmahon, issued a media advisory Thursday saying that Mcmahon would have a “major sports announcement” on Thursday afternoon.
Last month, WWE filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission stating that Mcmahon would sell approximately $100 million in stock to fund Alpha Entertainment, a company founded to make investments “including professional football.” All signs lead to Mcmahon announcing that he is forming another football league this afternoon. The announcement is set for 3pm today. I’ll try to keep you posted with word of the announcement.