The Rise and Fall of the XFL


Matthew Thomas, Staff Writer

The XFL is starting back up again and is exceeding expectations. The XFL league was created from an idea from Vince McMahon, former owner of WWE, to have spring football for fans after the regular NFL season was over. When McMahon announced the league on February 2nd, 2000 there were six base teams. These teams didn’t have anything to them but a location. Mcmahon knew he wanted a team in Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. It was shut down pretty quickly for Washington and Miami and became an idea for Memphis, Birmingham, Chicago, and Las Vegas, making the number of teams eight. The debut game in 2001 received a surprising 54 million views. The Superbowl in 2001 received 84 million. The XFL started off exceeding expectations but as the season continued the viewership and ratings dropped until they decided to end the league.

After going on a 19-year hiatus the idea of the XFL came back. In 2020 the league started strong another time but COVID canceled the season. The league was forced to file for bankruptcy, but Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia spent 15 million dollars to purchase the league and revamp it. They kept the same amount of teams but changed the locations up. Since Dwayne Johnson took over the league he brought a new identity and attracted many talented players to the league. 

The XFL on its third try has succeeded so far. The opening game had a lot of attention with over 235 million videos on social media promoting or reviewing the game. It also had millions of viewers throughout the different broadcasts. The different rules make it feel totally different than the NFL. When Dwayne Johnson announced he was going to be a Co-Owner of the company, many former NFL players and D1 players joined the league. The impact Dwayne Johnson has had on this league isn’t only relevant to the players who put on the uniforms but also to the fans at home. 

Gavin Mushrush, a football player at Quakertown Community High School, talked about how he first heard about the XFL when news came out that Dwayne Johnson was purchasing some of the league. He first started watching the games when he realized one of his favorite players when he was a kid, Josh Gordon, was still playing football. He stood around and became a constant viewer when he saw the differences in the rules compared to the NFL. AJ Mccarron, former Quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide and Quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals talked about how this league gave him another chance on First Take Sports. After bouncing around the NFL he decided to retire but regretted it because he figured that his kids would never be able to see and remember watching him play. The XFL gave him an opportunity to play in front of both of his kids. When Stephen A. Smith asked what the difference between the XFL and the NFL AJ responded by saying, “I think the XFL coming up with different ways to make the game more entertaining and then having the 4th and 15 play from your 25-yard-line instead of an onside kick option. All of these new experimental rules have been fun to be a part of, even though it’s a new learning process.” For fans, this league might be just a cool topic to keep up with but for the players, this league is bigger than just football. The XFL is a league of second chances and comebacks.