XFL Press Release: June 13, 2000 - X-ZONE



June 13, 2000

Windy City a great choice 

June 13, 2000 will be remembered as an important date in the history of the XFL. Not because the league confirmed its first charter city, but because that city is Chicago.

Aside from giving the XFL a much-needed presence in one of the country’s most important football markets, placing a team in Chicago also offers the league a solid blueprint for the future.

Up to this point, XFL officials have described the vision of the league as a return to old-time, smash mouth football that encourages its athletes to express their individuality and display their distinctive personalities. In other words, the XFL wants to create a league that features the very best of professional football in Chicago throughout the 20th century.

Perhaps no other team in the history of professional sports expressed its individuality more than the 1985 Chicago Bears. A charismatic quarterback who wrote messages on his headband, a 300 pound defensive tackle/running back nicknamed "The Fridge" and the most outspoken coach in the league all played a role on that record-setting squad. And in case you missed the Bears highlights on television, they recorded a music video, "Super Bowl Shuffle," to remind you they were headed for the big game. It might not be in Chicago, but I can guarantee you’ll see an XFL team as popular for its personality as its winning record. Nicknamed players who become cult heroes. Veteran players striving for one last shot at the championship. Music videos. We’ll see them all in the XFL.

In 1985 the Bears weren’t there to start no trouble, they were just there to do the Super Bowl shuffle - but that wasn’t always the case. If you don’t care about cute rhymes and want to talk broken bones, let’s talk Dick Butkus. One of the toughest men who ever set foot on the gridiron, Butkus grew up on Chicago’s South Side and sacrificed his entire life for a shot to play in the NFL. A gladiator who mercilessly punished the opposition, Butkus went on to a Hall of Fame career and from what is known about him, never missed a game due to "turf toe." (You should not let Butkus’ work as Coach Katowinski on NBC’s hit teen show "Hang Time" deter you from remembering he was once a mean dude.)

The Windy City also boasts of football visionaries who changed the game like Bronco Nagurski, William Roy Lyman and of course, the immortal George Halas. Nagurski is credited by some with being the man responsible for the modern forward pass and Lyman introduced the sliding, shifting style of defensive line play that is commonplace today. As for Halas, he was one of the men responsible for creating the American Professional Football Association (which was later renamed the National Football League), and went on to become the league’s winningest coach. He implemented so many advancements – both on the field and in the boardroom – that some do not believe professional football would have survived without him. All of these men were intelligent enough to realize the game had to evolve, and brave enough to actually do it.

And how about the perform-for-pay model that XFL Executives have been discussing? The idea that players on the winning team will receive something extra won’t be entirely new to Chicago. Legend has it that back in 1920, two professional football teams, the Cardinals and the Tigers, called Chicago home. Convinced that the city couldn’t support both teams, the owners decided to play one game with everything on the line – the loser had to leave the city. The Cardinals won the game and remained alone in Chicago...until the next year when the Bears moved in.

Play-for-pay? Come on! How about play-for-a-city!


Part of the

Network, Dedicated To All Fans of the XFL