The National Football League had a notoriously bad last two years; some blamed the election as a distraction, but the most obvious audience deterrents were political protests which disrespected a “time honored [American] tradition,” as well as the military and law enforcement.
In response, a failed independent football league, the Extreme Football League, or XFL, announced that it will make another attempt at starting a league by creating one that eliminates politics and other elements that draw attention away from strictly athletic entertainment.
In 2001, the XFL, led by CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Vince McMahon, failed to live up to the hype it promised viewers and only lasted for one season. Despite not doing well before, McMahon announced that he will make another attempt at the XFL’s success by being the sole funder of the league and enforcing stricter policies regarding players’ criminal history.
McMahon’s strategy to not have a repeat of 2001’s failed performance will be to make XFL games more about the actual sport. Games will strive to run two hours long and will omit components like cheerleaders, to make it more “family-friendly.”
Most importantly, McMahon announced that he will likely require football players to stand for the national anthem, as it is a tradition and more importantly, respectful to do so. It would be a rule that players could abide by or opt to not play in the league, McMahon reported, so that it would not be claimed unconstitutional.
He would be able to implement such rules as the team’s only investor of $100 million and would not be forced to succumb to sponsors’ pressures. McMahon continued that players were welcome to support causes they are passionate about but must do so on their own time.
McMahon also explained the business model of the XFL, including players’ salaries, which will be determined by winning games. He explains, “To me that’s common sense. Everyone in America lives when they perform, they get a raise or bonus. That’s capitalism.”
Also capitalistic in nature, the XFL will arguably create jobs, especially for football players who have finished their NFL football careers. Staff Writer for ESPN, Dan Graziano explains that other sports provide alternative leagues for retired professional athletes, such as minor league baseball and basketball teams in Europe. The XFL may provide much-needed job opportunities for football players in America.
In avoiding other controversies, McMahon revealed that players would not be allowed to represent the league if they have a criminal record, even a drunk driving offense. When asked about NFL players, such as Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns, who was arrested for domestic violence but then had charges dropped, McMahon replied that such a situation would disqualify a player.
“We are evaluating a player based on many things, including the quality of human being they are,” which, he continued, included any sort of criminal involvement.
Of course, news of the XFL’s comeback has drawn attention from the NFL’s remaining supporters. While the criminal activity and protesting are two issues that have hurt the NFL’s publicity, the lack of either in the XFL is being called racist.
Liberal fans and players are saying that the ‘quality of human being’ comment was directed at kneeling protesters when McMahon clearly explained that criminals would not be allowed on the team.
Critics on the left have also claimed that McMahon is being overly political by possibly requiring players to stand, adding that President Trump’s dislike for the NFL is inspiring the XFL’s rebirth.
While McMahon’s wife works for President Trump, it will not affect the league in any way. In fact, McMahon will not be present during any televised games and will remain notably out of the spotlight besides investing and overseeing operations.
It is possible that the XFL will have a successful 2020 season given that McMahon has given himself two years to form the league. Former fans are anticipating its debut, and NFL boycotting fans may also be curious.
McMahon, however, believes that the league will do well this time around, as social media may increase views and popularity for the XFL without depending on having adequate television ratings.
“More creative feeds of the same game,” he says, will make for a more entertaining viewing experience.
The XFL will be composed of eight teams, their originating cities have yet to be decided. However, “medium-sized markets” will be considered. McMahon has commented that he will not hire players solely for marketing purposes, in an attempt to make it fair for all prospect players.
Liberals opponents of the “controversial” football team have already poked fun at it saying that whiney Republicans are trying to “make football great again.” Considering what the NFL represented all last season, that is absolutely correct.