XFL Press Release: July 20, 2000 - X-ZONE



July 20, 2000

Butkus proves it 

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 to this!” 

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 their dreams. 

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 will. 

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.


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