XFL Press Release: Feb 13, 2000 - Real football, real fans




Real football, real fans

By Vince McMahon
Appeared in the New York Daily News, Sunday, February 13, 2000

When I think about football, I think about the old American Football League. They presented a real alternative to the NFL. Their uniforms were flashier. Their brand of play was more wide-open, brash and free-spirited. They took the game and made it more exciting.

I miss that real, rugged type of football. These days, the NFL is so overregulated it's pasteurized. You can't show your exuberance. Certain gestures are taboo, your shirttail has to be tucked in, your chinstrap has to be fastened and they tell you what kind of shoes to wear. The league is turning gladiators into choirboys! There is no regard for individuality. In fact, they go out of their way to sanitize their players. Sack dances? End zone dances? Hell, no. And to me, that's not the game. Football has always been about distinctive personalities. I remember Don Joyce, who played for the Baltimore Colts and used to wrestle for my father's promotion during the offseason. "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd and Wahoo McDaniel, who also wrestled. These guys were tremendous athletes who were able to express themselves and entertain our audience. That's what I'd like to bring back to football.

In addition to being a smart business decision and a logical extension of the World Wrestling Federation brand, one of my key motivations for starting the XFL is to bring a new brand of football, where the future tackles the past. It's a league devoted to returning football to the way it used to be, when watching it was fun. This is going to be old-time, smash-mouth football, combined with the very best in marketing techniques and innovative television coverage. XFL broadcasts are going to take our viewers inside the game. I want our fans to hear what the quarterback says to the receiver when he drops an easy pass or fumbles the ball, or what the coach says to the team down by three touchdowns at the half. Cameras will take the fans into the huddle and the locker room and up and down the sidelines. Coaches and players will be wired, even if we have to keep someone on the bleeper button. At last, our fans will experience the passion of the game.

This is not going to be a spring league. When the Super Bowl ends, just when interest in football is at its pinnacle, the XFL season will kick off, culminating in April with a championship game. We will adjust clock rules to speed up the action, and insure that no game lasts over three hours. And we're discussing such rule changes as no fair catches, and allowing receivers and running backs to be in motion on the snap.

This is not some ego-driven scheme to build a new league like we've seen in the past. I don't believe that you have to hire the most expensive players for recognition. Our eight teams will field rosters consisting of former college players who didn't get their chance to make it in the NFL, and possibly some athletes who were not fortunate enough to attend college at all. We're going to take these players and create our own stars, using the same marketing mechanisms responsible for making the WWF's "Raw Is War" the highest-rated cable TV series in history, and SmackDown! one of broadcast television's great success stories.

When you consider all of the WWF's fields of expertise, you'll realize that this is a logical extension for our company.

But it's also a logical extension for me. I'm a truculent individual by birth. I enjoy physical contact, whether it's in the ring or on the football field.

There are real men playing this game, who have real emotion for the sport. But unlike the NFL, we're not going to attempt to extinguish that fire. The XFL will be the best opportunity on Earth, outside of the NFL, to make a living playing football.

And like the entertainers in the WWF, the better they are, the more their merchandise will sell and the more they will earn. And that's why just like the WWF is the best-built brand in entertainment the XFL will be the best-built brand in sports.

Vince McMahon, chairman of WWF Entertainment, Inc., is the founder of the XFL. The league is slated to kick off in February 2001.


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