On the surface, you may think that Wednesday,
July 19, was an important day for the XFL
because it was the day the league introduced its
first head coach, Dick Butkus. And you would be
right. But if you were one of the few hundred
people fortunate enough to be inside Mike
Ditka’s Grill as Butkus was introduced, you
would have realized that the legendary Chicago
Bear linebacker turned the event into something
much more important. It became the first day
that we were able to see what XFL officials have
been talking about for months.
We’ve heard Vince McMahon, Basil DeVito,
Dick Ebersol and other members of the XFL
Executive Committee make statements about the
league and Butkus showed us.
XFL Statement – The XFL is never
going to bottle up the natural personalities of
its players, coaches or other personnel.
Instead, the XFL is going to showcase each
person’s enthusiasm and charisma.
Butkus proves it – By making a
number of comments that left the packed room in
a fit of laughter. Butkus was not shy on his
first day. The young ones weren’t first on
Dick’s mind when choosing some words (whoever
is in charge of the censor buttons for the
coaches microphones better be ready) and when
asked a question by one of the female reporters
in the room, Butkus jokingly responded, “You
know I have been away for a while, there’s
mostly women here now. I’ll have to get used
XFL Statement – The XFL will consist
of players and coaches who are there simply for
their love of the game.
Butkus proves it – By showing more
enthusiasm on Wednesday than a 12-year-old boy
at his first baseball game. As McMahon was
answering a question, Butkus grabbed the
microphone out of his hands and kiddingly
accused him of hogging the spotlight. Coach then
yelled out, “I’ve been waiting 30 years to
become this (a football head coach)! Come on
someone else ask me a question about it!”
XFL Statement – The XFL will be a
league that allows men and women to live out
Butkus proves it – By accomplishing
something he has been waiting 30 years for. A
self-admitted “Chicago Bear for life,” Coach
Butkus had thought about coaching before, but
always knew there was only one place he would do
it. “One year I was offered a spot with
Detroit. No can do. Not gonna happen. It had to
be in Chicago.” Butkus dreamed of coaching in
Chicago. For years the Bears were the only
professional football team in Chicago. It was
with the Bears or nowhere – until the XFL
arrived and provided an opportunity.
XFL Statement – The XFL will grant
you access no other professional sports league
Butkus proves it – By not
sugar-coating anything he said. The flip side of
Butkus’ refusal to accept a coaching job
anywhere outside of Chicago is that, well,
he’s never coached before. Rather than wait
for someone to bring it up, this was the first
topic Dick talked about. And instead of giving a
an office-generated answer, the coach simply
said, “that’s not something that concerns
me. I’ve been around the game my whole life.
I’ll be fine.” It was an honest answer in a
day in which we’re all used to hearing the
same old clichés.
And most importantly…
XFL Statement – The XFL is going to
be serious football.
Butkus proves it – By being Dick
Butkus. A Pro Football Hall of Famer and
arguably one of the greatest defensive players
to ever set foot on a field.