If you’re like me, football is one addiction that you can’t kick.
After the Super Bowl, you either go into darkness or latch on to college hoops before baseball starts and it tides you over until fall rolls back around with a new football season.
But 2020 has already given us something that looks sustainable — the XFL, a spring football league rebooted by WWE owner Vince McMahon.
The revitalized league was announced in 2018 and was scheduled to start the weekend after the Super Bowl in 2020.
Once again, McMahon drew criticism for bringing back the league that failed miserably in 2001.
“Oh, many have tried and failed,” critics said of spring football, pointing to the absolutely botched Alliance of American Football that didn’t even make it through the full season before folding.
But McMahon is a smart man and a better businessman at that. He understood people wanted to see change in football, but without gimmicks like wrestling for the ball to determine who gets possession first and that taste of the Attitude Era in the WWE.
When the league was announced in 2020, Mc- Mahon was cool, calm and collected.
No fanfare. No bright, flashing lights. No attitude. Just a man with a plan to make spring football work in America and change the game we all love.
So, eight teams were created in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C.
The inaugural weekend was incredible and the numbers backed that feeling.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the league had already surpassed the ticket sales revenue from the AAF’s entire season.
In Washington D.C.’s Audi Stadium, the D.C. Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons with over 17,000 in attendance. Another crowd of over 17,000 packed the University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium to watch the June Jonesled Houston Roughnecks, with an oil derrick as their insignia like the old Oilers, dismantle the Los Angeles Wildcats.
Their new kickoff rules, touchback rules, point after conversion rules and new timing rules were all on display for the country to watch. The numbers came back and 3.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the XFL in addition to the 69,818 who flocked to the stadiums.
McMahon and league commissioner Oliver Luck took two years to plan this return.
Two years of trial and error. Two years of brainstorming.
It equated to a successful two years of work over the weekend and the XFL is here to stay.