Anthony Mahon / Essay / February 2018

XFL; Football 2: MAGA Boogaloo

Written by Anthony Mahon

After years of anticipation, the sports world rejoiced when WWE majority owner Vince McMahon announced the return of the widely acclaimed professional football league XFL.

Well, not quite.

If anyone remembers the XFL, they’ll recall that it was very far from widely acclaimed. After just one season marred by poor football quality and sheer ridiculousness, the XFL folded.

However, recent developments led to speculation about the XFL’s revival. The XFL 30 For 30 special on ESPN ended with McMahon pondering bringing back the XFL. Not too long after, McMahon founded Alpha Entertainment to “explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football.”

While a January 25th press conference confirmed all the speculation, it also created a lot of confusion through contradictions.

Despite declaring their intentions to create a safer brand of football, McMahon seeks to do so by penalizing its players less. Considering the link between pro football and CTE, it’s safe to say the NFL’s penalties—while at times excessive—are in place for a reason.

Compared to the three hour format of the NFL, the XFL seeks to contain their games to two hours. This was met with dumbfoundedness by those who are aware that WWE’s flagship weekly program “Monday Night Raw” is three hours long.

With the abundance of NFL players possessing a history of DUIs, domestic violence, and other charges, McMahon revealed the XFL will not allow anyone with a criminal record to participate in the league. The nobility of this move was undone days later after WWE tag champion Jey Uso participated at the company’s most recent pay-per-view “Royal Rumble” without a hassle.

The icing on the cake was McMahon’s implication that all XFL players will be required to stand for the national anthem. McMahon’s reasoning was, “People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained.” Not like forcing patriotism is a political issue in itself, right?

Good ol’ Twitter was quick to react:

 

All restrictions taken into account, McMahon’s goal of creating eight teams of 40-man rosters is reaching-for-the-sky levels of ambitious. Slated for a 2020 return, the XFL must not only learn from its previous mistakes but consider modifying their ridiculous restrictions if they want to be a successful league.

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