Welcome to the new home of the
Chicago Enforcers! The Enforcers were the first team to
be announced by the XFL, to be coached by the legendary Dick Butkus,
and to play in Soldier Field. However, shortly before the
initial player draft (P.A.S.S., Player Allocation and Selection
System) Butkus was appointed to head the XFL's competition committee,
and Ron Meyer was named head coach of the Enforcers. Meyer
and his staff had less than four weeks to review 1,500 players
profiles, resumes, and videos. This was to play havoc with
the team over their first few games. Training camp for all
Eastern Division teams (Chicago, New York/New Jersey, Orlando,
and Birmingham) was in Orlando, Florida. The team was on
the road for the first two months of their existence before coming
back home. Coach Meyer felt that it would be easier on the
team to remain in Orlando, and then travel directly to the host
cities in the first three games, instead of flying back and forth
from Chicago every week for two months.
Even though the players were competitive and never
gave up, the team started out by losing their first four games,
capped by a humiliating shutout loss to the then-winless NY/NJ
Hitmen, 13-0, in a freezing rain. The XFL was so appreciative
of the fans that braved the freezing rain and terrible conditions
that they were awarded free admission tickets to the next home
game. That game was against the fearsome Las Vegas Outlaws,
and featured the debut of quarterback Kevin McDougal. McDougal
and running back John Avery took it to the Outlaws and landed
the team their first victory, 15-13.
In their second game, the team traveled to Los Angeles
to play the Xtreme in a Saturday evening game. The game's
first glitch came when an NBC broadcast truck ran out of fuel
for its generator, and most of the first half was not even broadcast
to television viewers. Not much was missed, however, as
most of the action came in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Regulation play ended in a tie, sending the game into an amazing
double overtime before the Xtreme emerged victorious, 39-32.
The game actually pushed back the broadcast time for Saturday
Night Live, hosted by singer Jennifer Lopez, about one hour.
SNL producer Lorne Michaels was reported to be highly upset, and
NBC network executives agreed to make concessions in the future.
The team finished the regular season at 5-5 and
qualified for the playoffs. They traveled to Los Angeles
to face the Xtreme once again, but were defeated without
any overtime 33-16. Coach Ron Meyer and his staff did a
tremendous job putting the team together and guiding them through
their only season with only a few week's preparation time.
The epitome of the team, and indeed the entire XFL, was demonstrated
by running back John Avery (voted XFL Offensive Player of the
Year) after their shutout loss in Week 4 when he thanked all the
fans for their support on national television, and dedicated the
entire effort of the team to the fans.