XFL

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For the U.S. Navy fighter aircraft, see Loening XFL and Bell XFL Airabonita.
XFL
XFL Logo.svg
Sport American football
Founded 2000
Inaugural season 2001
No. of teams 8
Country United States
Ceased 2001
Last champion(s) Los Angeles Xtreme

The XFL was a professional American football league, founded by World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon. The XFL was intended to be a major professional sports league complement to the offseason of the National Football League, but was unable to find an audience and ceased operation after its debut season in 2001.[1][2]

Founding[edit]

  Eastern Division
  Western Division

Created as a 50-50 joint venture between NBC and World Wrestling Entertainment[3] under the company name "XFL, LLC", the XFL was created as a "single-entity league", meaning that the teams were not individually owned and operated franchises (as in the NFL), but that the league was operated as a single business unit. Vince McMahon's original plan was to purchase the Canadian Football League (after the CFL initially approached him about purchasing the Toronto Argonauts),[4] while NBC was moving ahead at the time with Time Warner to create a football league of their own.[5]

The concept of the league was first announced by league commissioner Tyler Schueck on February 3, 2000. The XFL was originally conceived to build on the success of the NFL and professional wrestling. It combined the scoring system of the NFL with the kayfabe and stunts of the WWE. It was hyped as "real" football without penalties for roughness and with fewer rules in general. The loud games featured players and coaches with microphones and cameras in the huddle and in the locker rooms. Stadiums featured trash-talking public address announcers and scantily-clad cheerleaders. Instead of a pre-game coin toss, XFL officials put the ball on the ground and let a player from each team scramble for it to determine who received the kickoff option, which led to the first XFL injury.

The XFL chose unusual names for its franchises, most of which either referenced images of uncontrolled insanity (Maniax, Rage, Xtreme), evil (Demons) or criminal activity (Enforcers [a reference to mob enforcers], Hitmen, Outlaws, and the Birmingham Blast).

After outrage from Birmingham residents (who felt that the word 'Blast' may have been misconstrued as a reference to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963, as well as Eric Rudolph's 1998 bombing of a local abortion clinic), the XFL changed the name of the Birmingham team to the more benign "Birmingham Thunderbolts".[6]

The XFL had impressive television coverage for an upstart league, with three games televised each week on NBC, UPN, and TNN.

Contrary to popular belief, the "X" in XFL did not stand for "extreme", as in "Extreme Football League". When the league was first organized in 1999, it was originally supposed to stand for "Xtreme Football League"; however, there was already a league in formation at the same time with that name, and so promoters wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the "X" did not actually stand for anything (though McMahon would comment that "if the NFL stood for the 'No Fun League', the XFL will stand for the 'extra fun league'"[7]). The other Xtreme Football League, which was also organized in 1999, merged with the Arena Football League's AF2 before ever fielding its first game.

Draft[edit]

Main article: 2001 XFL Draft

The only main draft for the league took place over a three-day period from October 28, 2000 to October 30, 2000. A total of 475 players were selected initially, with 65 additional players selected in a supplemental draft on December 29, 2000.

2001 season[edit]

The XFL's opening game took place on February 3, 2001, one year after the concept of the league was announced, and immediately following the NFL's Super Bowl. The first game was between the New York/New Jersey Hitmen and the Las Vegas Outlaws at Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada. The game ended with a 19-0 victory for the Outlaws, and was watched on NBC by an estimated 14 million viewers. During the telecast, NBC switched over to the game between the Orlando Rage and the Chicago Enforcers, which was a closer contest than the blowout taking place in Las Vegas. The opening night drew a 9.5 Nielsen rating.[8]

Although the XFL began with better-than-expected TV ratings (the opening-week games actually delivered ratings double those of what NBC had promised advertisers and the Saturday broadcast had more viewers than the NFL Pro Bowl) and fair publicity, the audience declined sharply after the first week of the season, going from a 9.5 rating to a 4.6 in just one week,[9] and the media attacked the league for what was perceived as a poor quality of play.[citation needed] A further problem was that the XFL itself was the brainchild of Vince McMahon, a man who was ridiculed by mainstream sports journalists due to the stigma attached to professional wrestling as being "fake"; many journalists even jokingly speculated whether any of the league's games were rigged, although nothing of this sort was ever seriously investigated.

Even longtime NBC sportscaster Bob Costas joined in the mocking of the league. In an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in February 2001, after the league's second week of play, Costas joked: "It has to be at least a decade since I first mused out loud, 'Why doesn't somebody combine mediocre high school football with a tawdry strip club?' Finally, somebody takes my idea and runs with it." He also said about the sharp drop in the television ratings in that second week: "I have to put the right spin on this because I'm also on NBC — apparently, it went through the toilet."[10]


Teams[edit]

Eastern Division

Orlando Rage
(2001)
Chicago Enforcers
(2001)
New York/New Jersey Hitmen
(2001)
Birmingham Thunderbolts
(2001)

Western Division

Los Angeles Xtreme
(2001)
San Francisco Demons
(2001)
Memphis Maniax
(2001)
Las Vegas Outlaws
(2001)

2001 standings[edit]

Awards[edit]

Statistical leaders[edit]

Statistics[edit]

2001 Passing Leaders (over 100 pass attempts)
Name, Team Att Comp % Yards YDs/Att TD TD % INT INT % Long Sacks/Yds Lost Rating
Jeff Brohm, ORL 119 69 58.0 993 8.34 9 7.6 3 2.5 51t 11/78 99.9
Kevin McDougal, CHIC 134 81 60.4 1168 8.72 5 3.7 3 2.2 56 8/69 91.9
Casey Weldon, Birm 164 102 62.2 1228 7.49 7 4.3 5 3 80t 7/44 86.6
Jim Druckenmiller, Mem 199 109 54.8 1499 7.53 13 6.5 7 3.5 49 15/89 86.2
Ryan Clement, LV 138 78 56.5 805 5.83 9 6.5 4 2.9 46 10/59 83.2
Tommy Maddox, LA 342 196 57.3 2186 6.39 18 5.3 9 2.6 63 14/91 81.2
Mike Pawlawski, SF 297 186 62.6 1659 5.59 12 4 6 2 35 16/141 82.6
Wally Richardson, NY/NJ 142 83 58.5 812 5.72 6 4.2 6 4.2 33t 17/107 71.1
Brian Kuklick, ORL 122 68 55.7 994 8.15 6 4.9 10 8.2 81t 7/42 64.7
2001 Passing Leaders (under 100 pass attempts)
Name, Team Att Comp % Yards YDs/Att TD TD % INT INT % Long Sacks/Yds Lost Rating
Manny Coronado, CHIC/Mem 5 4 80.0 30 6 0 0 0 0 12 0/0 91.7
Tim Lester, CHIC 77 40 51.9 581 7.55 4 5.2 5 6.5 68t 13/68 67.1
Charles Puleri, NY/NJ 64 29 45.3 411 6.42 2 3.1 2 3.1 77t 4/39 64.0
Marcus Crandell, Mem 69 33 47.8 473 6.86 1 1.4 2 2.9 53 9/62 63.3
Pat Barnes, SF 80 36 45.0 379 4.74 3 3.8 2 2.5 34 5/38 61.4
Corte McGuffey, NY/NJ 48 25 52.1 329 6.85 0 0 2 4.2 54 5/38 56.7
Mark Grieb, LV 78 37 47.4 408 5.23 3 3.8 4 5.1 41t 5/44 54.9
Jay Barker, Birm 65 37 56.9 425 6.54 1 1.5 5 7.7 92t 10/64 49.8
Mike Cawley, LV 38 17 44.7 180 4.74 1 2.6 2 5.3 26 10/83 45.9
Paul Failla, CHIC 5 1 20.0 5 1 0 0 0 0 5 2/12 39.6
Graham Leigh, Birm 97 44 45.4 499 5.14 1 1 6 6.2 36 8/62 39.0
Scott Milanovich, LA 9 2 22.2 45 5 0 0 1 11.1 39 0/0 8.3
2001 Rushing Leaders
Name, Team Att Yds Ave. Long TDs
John Avery, Chi 150 800 5.3 73t 5
Rod Smart, LV 146 555 3.8 31 3
James Bostic, Birm 153 536 3.5 56 2
Rashaan Salaam, Mem 114 528 4.6 39t 5
Derrick Clark, Orl 94 395 4.2 19 7
Saladin McCullough, LA 88 384 4.4 22 5
Joe Aska, NY/NJ 82 329 4.0 42 3
Micheal Black, Orl 83 320 3.9 20 0
LeShon Johnson, Chi 72 287 4.0 41 6
Rashaan Shehee, LA 61 242 4.0 28 0
Kelvin Anderson, SF 53 231 4.4 39 1
Jim Druckenmiller, Mem 31 208 6.7 36 0
Juan Johnson, SF 33 172 5.2 19 0
Wally Richardson, NY/NJ 26 148 5.7 24 0
2001 Receiving Yardage Leaders (over 175 yards)
Name, Team Rec Yds Ave. Long TDs
Stepfret Williams, Birm 51 828 16.2 92t 2
Charles Jordan, Mem 45 823 18.3 49 4
Jeremaine Copeland, LA 67 755 11.3 34 5
Dialleo Burks, ORL 34 659 19.4 81t 7
Aaron Bailey, CHIC 32 546 17.1 50 3
Quincy Jackson, Birm 45 531 11.8 36t 6
Darnell McDonald, LA 34 456 13.4 39 8
Daryl Hobbs, Mem 30 419 14 49t 5
Jimmy Cunningham, SF 50 408 8.2 26 3
Kirby Dar Dar, NY/NJ 22 405 18.4 77t 2
Kevin Swayne, ORL 27 400 14.8 51t 2
Brian Roberson, SF 36 395 11 35 2
Kevin Prentiss, Mem 25 383 15.3 53 0
Mario Bailey, ORL 27 379 14 49t 3
Zola Davis, NY/NJ 29 378 13 26 4
James Hundon, SF 28 357 12.8 34 0
Zechariah Lord, CHIC 20 301 15.1 46 0
John Avery, CHIC 17 297 17.5 68t 2
Yo Murphy, LV 27 273 10.1 35 3
Anthony Dicosmo, NY/NJ 26 268 10.3 30 0
Latario Rachal, LA 24 254 10.6 24 0
Rod Smart, LV 27 245 9.1 46 0
Mike Furrey, LV 18 242 13.4 41t 1
Ed Smith, Birm 25 195 7.8 16 1

XFL rule changes[edit]

Despite boasts by WWF promoters of a "rules-light" game and universally negative reviews from the mainstream sports media early on, the XFL played a brand of 11-man outdoor football that was recognizable, aside from the opening game sprint to determine possession and some other changes, some modified during the season. In fact, most of the rule changes were inherited from the 1970s World Football League.[citation needed]

Grass stadiums[edit]

All XFL teams had to play in outdoor stadiums with grass surfaces.[11] No domed stadiums, artificial turf stadiums, or retractable roof stadiums were allowed. In addition, every XFL field was designed identically, with no individual team branding allowed on the field. Each end zone and 50-yard line was decorated with the XFL logo.

Opening scramble[edit]

Replacing the coin toss at the beginning of each game was an event in which one player from each team fought to recover a football 20 yards away in order to determine possession. Both players lined up side-by-side on one of the 30-yard lines, with the ball being placed at the 50-yard line. At the whistle, the two players would run toward the ball and attempt to gain possession; whichever player gained possession first was allowed to choose possession (as if he had won a coin toss in other leagues). The XFL's first injury infamously resulted from the opening scramble; Orlando free safety Hassan Shamsid-Deen suffered a separated shoulder prior to the Rage's 33–29 season-opening win over the Chicago Enforcers at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on February 3.[12] He ended up missing the remainder of the campaign.[13]

No PAT (point after touchdown) kicks[edit]

After touchdowns there were no extra point kicks, due to the XFL's perception that an extra point kick was a "guaranteed point." To earn a point after a touchdown, teams ran a single offensive down from the two-yard line (functionally identical to the NFL/NCAA/CFL two-point conversion), but for just a single point. By the playoffs, two-point and three-point conversions had been added to the rules. Teams could opt for the bonus points by playing the conversion farther back from the goal line.

This rule, as originally implemented, was similar to the WFL's "Action Point," and was identical to a 1968 "Pressure Point" experiment by the NFL and American Football League, used only in preseason interleague games that year.

Overtime[edit]

Ties were resolved in similar fashion to the NCAA and present-day CFL game, with at least one possession by each team, starting from the opponent's 20-yard line. There were differences: there were no first downs – teams had to score within four downs, and the team that had possession first in overtime could not attempt a field goal until fourth down. If that team managed to score a touchdown in fewer than four downs, the second team would only have that same number of downs to match or beat the result. If the score was still tied after one overtime period, the team that played second on offense in the first OT would start on offense in the second OT.

Bump and run[edit]

The XFL allowed full bump and run coverage early in the season. Defensive backs were allowed to hit wide receivers any time before the quarterback released the ball, as long as the hit came from the front or the side (similar to the NCAA). In an effort to increase offensive production, bump and run was restricted to the first five yards from the line of scrimmage (similar to NFL) following the fourth week of the season.

Forward motion[edit]

Unlike the NFL, but like the World Football League and Arena Football League before it, the XFL allowed one offensive player to move toward the line of scrimmage once he was outside the tackles.

Halo rule / live punts[edit]

The heavily-hyped "no fair catch" rule was paired with a five-yard zone excluding players of the kicking team around potential returners before the ball touched them or the ground, similar to rules in Canadian football, rugby union, and contemporary NCAA rules (where the term "halo" was applied, though the XFL called it instead the "danger zone"). But instead of making punt returns more exciting, it often had the opposite effect, since the XFL players' inexperience with the rule caused a high number of game-delaying penalties.

The fair catch had previously been abolished from Canadian football, NCAA rules (but only for the 1950 season), and rugby league.

Another difference was that after touching ground 25 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage, punts could be recovered and advanced by all players of the kicking team. This led to more quick kicks being taken on third-down-and-long situations in the one season of the small league than had been seen in the NFL over several preceding decades of longer seasons. This XFL rule was similar to a rule that had been in effect in American football in the 1910s and part of the 1920s.

XFL penalized 10 yards from the succeeding spot for punts going out of bounds, even if they first touched the ground (but not a player of the receiving team). The changes practically eliminated the coffin corner kicking style, in which a good punter could pin an opposing offense deep in its own territory by precisely kicking a ball out of bounds a few yards from the end zone.

For the initial weeks of the season, the XFL forbade all players on the kicking team from going downfield before a kick was made from scrimmage on that down, similarly to a rule the NFL considered in 1974. For the rest of the season the XFL modified it to allow one player closest to each sideline downfield ahead of the kick, the same modification the NFL adopted to their change just before their 1974 exhibition games started.

The purpose of these provisions was to keep play going after the ball was punted, encouraging the kicking team to make the ball playable and the receiving team to run it back.

Roster and salaries[edit]

The XFL limited each team to an unusually low 38 players, as opposed to 53 on NFL teams and 80 or more on unlimited college rosters. This was similar to the CFL, which had a comparable 40-man roster limit in 2001. This resulted, most commonly, in each team only carrying two quarterbacks and one kicker who doubled as the punter.

The XFL paid standardized player salaries. Quarterbacks earned US$5,000 per week, kickers earned $3,500, and all other uniformed players earned $4,500 per week, though a few players got around these restrictions (Los Angeles Xtreme players Noel Prefontaine, the league's lone punting specialist, and Matt Malloy, a wide receiver) by having themselves listed as backup quarterbacks. Players on a winning team received a bonus of $2,500 for the week, $7,500 for winning a playoff game. The team that won the championship game split $1,000,000 (roughly $25,000 per player). Players did not receive any fringe benefits, and had to pay for their own health insurance.

Broadcast overview[edit]

Sky cam[edit]

Although the XFL was not the first football league to feature the "sky cam",[14][14] which enables TV viewers to see behind the offensive unit, it helped to popularize its unique capabilities. For the first several weeks, the league used the sky cam and on-field cameramen extensively, giving the television broadcasts a perspective similar to video games such as the Madden series.

After the XFL's failure, partially due to the September 11, 2001, attacks reducing the use of aerial blimps, the sky cam was adopted by the NFL's broadcasters; the device has subsequently come into use on all major networks. (It is not as widely used in most NFL broadcasts as it was in the XFL, except on NBC Sunday Night Football.)

Broadcast schedule[edit]

At the beginning of the season, NBC showed a feature game at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday nights, also taping a second game. The second game, in some weeks, would air in the visiting team's home market and be put on the air nationally if the feature game was a blowout (as was the case in week one) or encountered technical difficulties (as was the case in week two). Two games were shown each Sunday: one at 4 p.m. Eastern on TNN (now Spike TV) and another at 7 p.m. Eastern on UPN (which has since merged with The WB to form The CW).

In a notable departure from the NFL, in which any references to sports betting, including point spreads, are strictly prohibited on league broadcasts, XFL announcers were free to discuss point spreads during the game and did so frequently.

The XFL also had a fairly extensive local radio presence, often using nationally recognized disc jockeys. The morning radio duo of Rick and Bubba, for instance, was the radio broadcast team for the Birmingham Thunderbolts, while Opie and Anthony had covered pregame for NBC. Super Dave Osborne was a sideline reporter for Los Angeles Xtreme broadcasts on KLSX; WMVP carried Chicago Enforcers games.

In the third week of the season, the games were sped up through changes in the playing rules, and broadcasts were subjected to increased time constraints. The reason was the reaction of Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of Saturday Night Live, to the length of the Los Angeles Xtreme versus Chicago Enforcers game that went into double overtime. This caused the start of Saturday Night Live to be pushed back from 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time to 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning.[9] This angered Michaels, who expected high ratings with Jennifer Lopez as the show's host.[9] For the rest of the season, the XFL cut off coverage at 11:00 Eastern Time, regardless of whether or not the game was over.

In the face of declining ratings, the XFL announced prior to week 6's game between the Orlando Rage and the Las Vegas Outlaws that they would be entering the Rage's cheerleaders' locker room during halftime.[15] The heavily promoted event was, in fact, a stunt: instead of showing an entry into the room, viewers instead saw a sketch in which the cameraman knocked himself unconscious by running into the locker room door, followed by a "dream sequence" with only slightly suggestive content. Vince McMahon appeared at the beginning and the end of the sketch, berating the cameraman for his failure.

Broadcast teams[edit]

Media reception[edit]

The XFL aimed to attract two distinct audiences to games: wrestling fans and football fans. The XFL also tried to attract fans from other areas of entertainment (e.g., movies).

Many football fans distrusted the league because of its relationship to pro wrestling. They had a hard time accepting that a close, come-from-behind win or a controversial ending had not been scripted in advance, although there was no evidence to support this. The league was panned by critics as boring football with a tawdry broadcast style, although the broadcasts on TNN and to a lesser extent UPN and the Matt Vasgersian-helmed NBC coverage were comparatively professional and workmanlike. Longtime WWE play-by-play man Jim Ross, who has otherwise received praise for his calling of wrestling matches over the years, got the bulk of the criticism for his play-by-play calls of XFL games despite his 30+ years of experience in calling wrestling matches as well as calling play-by-play for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in the early 1990s.

Scoring was so scarce that bookmakers could not set the over-under total low enough. Wise gamblers who took the under, often in the mid 30s, would win consistently — they could even parlay the under for all four games in a weekend and win on a regular basis. Towards the end of the season, bookies needed to make the totals in the upper 20s, highly unusual in pro football gambling circles. The league was forced to change rules during the season to afford receivers more protection, but the mid-season rule changes did little to bolster league credibility.

In 2000, before the XFL's launch, the league aired a series of cheerleader commercials on NBC, featuring adult models such as Pennelope Jimenez, Karen McDougal, and Rachel Sterling. The most famous one featured them as some of the cheerleaders taking a shower in the locker room. Using clever camera angles and strategically placed objects, the commercial gave viewers the titillating illusion that the cheerleaders were nude in the shower with little left to the imagination. The edgy XFL commercials backfired and caused a controversy. Deemed too risqué by the media, the commercials were quickly withdrawn before the debut of the league.

End of season and failure[edit]

The WWE and NBC each lost a reported $35 million.[16] On April 21, 2001, the season concluded as the Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons 38-6 in the XFL Championship Game (which was originally given the Zen-like moniker "The Big Game at the End of the Season", but was later dubbed the Million Dollar Game, after the amount of money awarded to the winning team).

Though paid attendance at games remained respectable, if unimpressive (overall attendance were only 10% below what the league's goal had been at the start of the season), the XFL ceased operations after just one season due to low TV ratings.[17][18] Facing stiff competition from the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the NBC telecast of the Chicago/NY-NJ game on March 31 received a 1.5 rating, at that time the lowest ever for any major network primetime weekend first-run sports television broadcast in the United States.

Despite initially agreeing to broadcast XFL games for two years and owning half of the league, NBC announced it would not broadcast a second XFL season, admitting failure in its attempt at airing replacement pro football. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon initially announced that the XFL would continue, as it still had UPN and TNN as broadcast outlets.[19] In fact, expansion teams were being explored for cities such as Washington, D.C. and Detroit. However, in order to continue broadcasting XFL games, UPN demanded that WWE SmackDown! broadcasts be cut from two hours to one and a half hours.[19] McMahon found these terms unacceptable and he announced the XFL's closure on May 10, 2001.[17][18] McMahon's chief adviser, a perplexed Nathan Livian, was quoted as saying "the situation is, indeed, very bad."

One reason for the failure of the league to catch on, despite its financial solvency and massive visibility, was the lack of respect for the league in the sports media. XFL games were rarely treated as sports contests, but rather more like WWE-like sensationalized events. With few NFL-quality players, save Tommy Maddox, the league's MVP, and with little thoughtful analysis or even consideration by sports columnists, the XFL never gained the necessary recognition to be regarded as a viable league. The fact that the league was co-owned by NBC made ESPN (which was part of the same corporation as ABC) and Fox Sports Net (owned by Fox TV) disinclined to report on the XFL, though Time Warner properties such as Sports Illustrated, as well as the Associated Press, devoted coverage to the league (Sports Illustrated even featured the XFL on the cover of its February 12, 2001, edition, albeit with the description of it being "sleazy gimmicks and low-rent football"). Many local TV newscasts and newspapers (even in XFL cities) did not report league scores or show highlights. This led to many football fans treating the XFL as a joke, rather than competition to the NFL. Other problems included the scantily-clad cheerleaders, trash-talking announcers, and the lack of penalties for roughness.

The XFL ranked No. 3 on TV Guide's list of the TV Guide's worst TV shows of all time in July 2002, as well as No. 2 on ESPN's list of biggest flops in sports, behind Ryan Leaf.[20][21] In 2010, TV Guide Network also listed the show at No. 21 on their list of 25 Biggest TV Blunders.[22]

Many stories recapping the history of the XFL show photos of the crash of its promotional blimp, portraying it retrospectively as an ill-omen for the league. The incident occurred a month before the opening game, when its pilot and a student pilot with him, lost control of the airship and were forced to evacuate. The ground crew were unable to secure the vehicle and the "unattended blimp then floated five miles north over the Oakland Estuary, at one point reaching 1,600 feet, until its gondola caught on a sailboat mast in the Central Basin marina. It draped over the roof of the Oyster Reef restaurant -- next to where the boat was moored -- and a nearby power line."[23] While the pilot was hospitalized no other major injuries were reported. The blimp needed $2.5 million in repairs, the sailboat and restaurant had only minor damages. Also before the season started, a fictional XFL game appeared in the Schwarzenegger movie The 6th Day set in 2015.[24]

Legacy[edit]

Despite its unimpressive showing among the TV audience, the XFL finished the entire schedule without a franchise folding.

The league popularized "in-game" interviews: Today, National Hockey League players are interviewed between commercial breaks and Major League Baseball has managers and coaches being interviewed. The National Basketball Association also often features in-game interviews with coaches on games televised on ESPN and TNT following the 1st quarter of certain games.

NBC continued airing professional league football beyond the demise of the XFL, starting with the Arena Football League television coverage from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, NBC returned to coverage of NFL games with NBC Sunday Night Football. The occasional use of the "sky-cam" and sideline interviews are the only features common to both the NFL and XFL coverage.

XFL team names and logos sometimes appear in movies and television where professional football needs to be dramatized, as licensing for NFL logos may be cost prohibitive.

The United Football League later placed all four of its inaugural franchises in former XFL markets and stadiums. However, the UFL drew far fewer fans than the XFL average: For example, the XFL's San Francisco Demons drew an average of 35,000 fans, while the UFL's California Redwoods drew an average of 6,000, despite both playing in the same ballpark. Three of the four charter teams, including the Redwoods, moved to other markets by the time of the UFL's third season.

Notable players[edit]

Notable players included league MVP and Los Angeles quarterback Tommy Maddox, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the XFL folded (Maddox later became the starting quarterback for the Steelers in 2002 and led them to that year's playoffs, as well as continuing to start for them into 2004). Los Angeles used the first pick in the XFL draft to select a former NFL quarterback, Scott Milanovich. Milanovich lost the starting quarterback job to Maddox, who was placed on the Xtreme as one of a handful of players put on each team due to geographic distance between the player's college and the team's hometown. Another of the better-known players was Las Vegas running back Rod Smart, who first gained popularity because the name on the back of his jersey read "He Hate Me." Smart, who was only picked 357th in the draft, later went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, and the Oakland Raiders. His Panther teammate Jake Delhomme named his newborn horse "She Hate Me" as a reference to him.[25] Smart played in Super Bowl XXXVIII becoming one of seven XFL players to play in a Super Bowl. Receiver Yo Murphy also achieved this as a member of the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI).[26] Tommy Maddox played for a Super Bowl team (with the Pittsburgh Steelers) in Super Bowl XL in Detroit, (although Maddox, by then a third-string quarterback, did not play in the game, which turned out to be his last appearance in uniform before retiring). Lastly, Las Vegas Outlaws DB Kelly Herndon played in Super Bowl XL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2005, where he is remembered for intercepting a pass and returning it a then-record 76 yards. Although he did not play for an NFL team after the XFL's lone season, former Las Vegas Outlaw offensive guard Isaac Davis also had a notable NFL career, playing in 58 games over a six-year career. Davis started for the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.[27]

Played in the NFL[edit]

Played in the Super Bowl[edit]

Won a Super Bowl[edit]

Won both an XFL Championship and Super Bowl[edit]

Won an XFL Championship, Super Bowl and Grey Cup[edit]

Played in the CFL[edit]

Played in the AFL[edit]

Wrestled for WWE[edit]

Ownership of broadcast rights[edit]

XFL games are now part of the WWE Video Library. Comcast, the current owners of NBCUniversal, would also presumably co-own distribution rights to XFL games along with WWE.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.sportinglife360.com/index.php/why-the-xfl-failed-19101/
  2. ^ http://www.forbes.com/2001/05/11/0511topnews.html
  3. ^ "DeVito says NBC not necessary for next year". ESPN. March 27, 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Vince McMahon Q&A Canoe.ca
  5. ^ TIME WARNER AND NBC TO FORM NEW PRO LEAGUE. SportsBusiness.com.
  6. ^ "Bombing overtones prompt name change from "Blast" to "Bolts"". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Sandomir, Richard (February 4, 2000). "SPORTS BUSINESS; W.W.E. Alters Script And Looks to Football". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Fritz, Brian; Murray, Christopher (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-55022-726-0. 
  9. ^ a b c Fritz, Brian; Murray, Christopher (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-55022-726-0. 
  10. ^ FitzGerald, Tom, Top of the Sixth, San Francisco Chronicle online edition (SFGate.com), February 15, 2001. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  11. ^ List of stadiums courtesy of xflboard.com.
  12. ^ Cotey, John C. "League starts in Orlando with pageantry, pain," St. Petersburg (FL) Times, Sunday, February 4, 2001.
  13. ^ Hessler, Warner. "XFL Shocking? No More Than The Redskins," Daily Press (Hampton Roads, VA), Wednesday, February 7, 2001.
  14. ^ a b Larry Stewart (February 7, 2001). "XFL, NBC Working Out Kinks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  15. ^ Fritz, Brian; Murray, Christopher (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-55022-726-0. 
  16. ^ "XFL Is Down for the Count". ABC News. May 11, 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "WWE drops XFL". money.cnn.com. CNN. 2001-05-10. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  18. ^ a b Sandomir, Richard (2001-05-11). "No More Springtimes for the XFL as League Folds". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  19. ^ a b Fritz, Brian; Murray, Christopher (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-55022-726-0. 
  20. ^ Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (2002-07-12). "The Worst TV Shows Ever". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  21. ^ "ESPN 25: The 25 Biggest Sports Flops". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  22. ^ "Breaking News - TV Guide Network's "25 Biggest TV Blunders" Special Delivers 3.3 Million Viewers". thefutoncritic.com. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  23. ^ "Blimp crashes into Oakland restaurant". ESPN. January 31, 2001. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  24. ^ "XFL Ready To Line It Up". 
  25. ^ JS Online: Fans love 'He Hate Me'
  26. ^ http://www.yomurphy.com/facts.htm
  27. ^ Isaac Davis' career summary

References[edit]

  • Forrest, Brett. Long Bomb: How the XFL Became TV's Biggest Fiasco. Crown Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-609-60992-0.

External links[edit]