XFL Press Release: May 3, 2000 - X-ZONE



May 3, 2000

Buffalo wings, Ickey Woods & one more foot 

No, these are not three answers from last night’s episode of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” They are three of the many reasons why I can not wait for the XFL. 

A few months ago, I was out with a couple of friends watching the AFC Championship game. As the Titans made their way out for the second half, a television field correspondent caught up with Jeff Fisher to ask what he needed from his team in the upcoming thirty minutes. At this point, one of my buddies nearly choked on his buffalo wing and said, “since when do they talk to the coaches during the game?” 

Another one of my friends was quick to respond. “Oh they’ve been doing that for a while now. But they only talk to them before or after the half. You know, I can’t wait until they start interrupting the coaches in the middle of the game to ask things like, Why didn’t you go for that fourth down coach…don’t you have confidence in your running game?” 

Well if my friend heard anything Michael Weisman said on February 3 during the XFL press conference, I’m sure he’s sleeping better these days. Weisman, who has joined the XFL as a broadcast consultant, talked about his visions for the new league with the excitement of a CEO on IPO day. He kept referring to the “blank canvas” he had in front of him; knowing that there are no pre-determined rules or boundaries for Weisman and his team. 

The bottom line is that when the XFL is first broadcast, it will be the most interactive sports presentation in history. We’ll probably hear from the coaches, the players, the fans and even the beer vendor during the course of a game. 

Vince McMahon told the world that the XFL would take you “where the NFL is afraid to.” Does this mean I’ll see video packages of the players hanging out after the game? I sure hope so. Cameras in the helmet, on the water cooler, in the ball, on the goalposts? Why not. You want to chat with the announcer’s during the broadcast or e-mail a question to the coach during the post-game press conference? Bring it on!

After enjoying a tremendous rookie season in 1988, Ickey Woods suffered through three easily forgettable ones in Cincinnati. Unlike other one-year wonders though, no one will ever forget Woods – thanks to the “Ickey Shuffle.” What started out as a little something for Mama Ickey during a game with the New York Jets, quickly turned into a national craze. 

At the time of “Ickey-mania” I was 15 years old and remember how every game of schoolyard football was prolonged by about 20 minutes because after every touchdown, someone would bust out the “Ickey Shuffle.” My friends and I all bought into the craze in a major way. That is until the “Ickey rule” took affect in 1990.

The commissioner had spoken – no more shuffle, no more celebrating, no more fun. There’s a reason the "Ickey Shuffle" got so popular so fast; people liked it! Why take away a part of the game that the fans – the people who keep the game going – really enjoyed?

Well, XFL players don’t have to worry about being penalized for having a good time! Go ahead, do the "Ickey Shuffle" until your feet hurt. Do the high-five thing the Redskins used to do in the early 80’s. Make up a bunch of new dances. Taunt your opponent after you sack them. When you have them down and you’re looking to finish them off, do the thumb across the throat gesture.

"If the NFL is the ‘no fun league’ then we’re the ‘X-tra fun league.’ We’re gonna have a blast!" said Vince McMahon.

I can’t wait to see how many different dances the kids are going to be doing in the schoolyards over the next few years.

At the end of this year’s Super Bowl, everyone was left hoping for one more foot. That was the distance that separated the Tennessee Titans from sending the game into overtime. And with the hope for one more foot, was the hope for one more game.

In his latest book, "A Season on the Reservation," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says one of the most important parts of competition is that there’s a definite result – a winner and loser. Everyone involved – the players, the coaches, the fans – all need to feel finality.

Now I know there was a winner and loser in Super Bowl XXXIV, but the way the game ended made me feel like there needed to be more; I didn’t have the feeling of finality. An extension of McNair’s last minute heroics. One more bruising off-tackle run by Eddie George.

I wanted Tennessee / St. Louis best of three! (Okay, I really wanted Tennessee / Tampa Bay best of three, but the point was, I wanted more football.)

If there was an XFL game set for the following Saturday, I know I would have watched. I know that millions of other football fans out there would have joined me. The 1999 NFL playoffs were tremendous. I watched every game and at the end I wanted to see more.

Thanks to the XFL, starting next year there will be more.

E-mail me anytime with questions or comments about the XFL. Lucas@XFL.com


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