Back in 2001 Vince McMahon created the XFL, an alternative to the NFL but with no true plan. It only lasted that one season, being cited as a colossal failure. Now, the league is back, with play scheduled for this week. There are questions once again about whether the league can survive. Considering all of the planning that Vince and company have done to secure legitimate TV rights and think about the rules, anything is possible.
On the latest Grilling JR with Jim Ross, the WWE Hall of Famer and former WWE commentator, who went through the initial XFL run, believes they can succeed.
“It’s got a fighting chance because of the TV deals they have in place with FOX and ESPN,” JR stated, via 411Mania. “Fighting chance because they’ve been preparing for the launch for two years, not 90 days. Fighting chance because they’ve got some of the best coaches that were available, including my friend Bob Stoops coaching the Dallas franchise. Former Oklahoma coach for almost 20 years. So yeah, it’s got a fighting chance.”
Unlike the new XFL, the original one didn’t have a variety of stations to watch the games on or rules that made the game of football better. The league didn’t have a calculated draft or anything like that as well. It was chaotic and utilized too much pro wrestling into the program. JR admits that they were naive back then, not realizing what they had started was a mess.
“We didn’t know it, we didn’t want want to be told, but we didn’t have a fighting chance when we started the other, the original XFL,” JR went on to say. “You can’t put teams together with any kind of chemistry, without playing ample scrimmages or exhibition games, or whatever the hell you want to call them. And for a team to build chemistry and teamwork continuity in 90 days. Because you’re putting everything together. Hell, you’re still checking out uniforms, man, the week of the show, week of the game.”
After losing over $50 million on the investment, the XFL became a running joke. McMahon had to go through a whole ordeal just to clear up the mess. But like any pro wrestling story, he had to stick to it until the end. As crazy as it was, it was something to be believed in.
“What could we have done differently?’ He said, ‘Not a goddamned thing, JR. The way it was laid out, we did the best we could with what we had, but I wouldn’t change a thing.’ And he lost a lot of money, but he said, ‘It was a calculated risk. And I would do it all over again. Because I believe in the concept.'”