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The XFL, a failed enterprise back in 2001 when it staged its inaugural and last ever season, will be back in February 2020. The brainchild of WWE owner Vince McMahon Snr., has taken a low profile since he announced the league would be reforming. A move that has surely been taken to have his league be taken more seriously this time around. Sure, the original run of the XFL brand had its moments. It was exactly as promised, loud, brash, colourful, dare we say exciting. The appeal though was that it was a novelty, an almost gameshow feel to the broadcasts and indeed the games themselves.
Mr. McMahon has clearly studied this and decided a less is more approach is what’s needed this time around, The press announcements have been more low-key, and with the naming of Oliver Luck as the league commissioner it has someone in place who has the necessary steady hand, guidance and experience. With other luminaries such as Jeffrey Pollack, Doug Whaley, Jim Zorn and Marc Trestman on board, there is a sense of better leadership both in the boardroom and on the sidelines.
Earlier this year the eight team locations were announced, the team names and logos were due to be released at the same time but were delayed. Until this past Wednesday when the league made everyone aware that they would be known in a special broadcast on their website, and various social media platforms. The leagues official twitter account peaked at around 4,000 viewers during the 15 minute show, hosted by Luck, and the teams were officially “born” One by one they rolled out to a minute long video monologue, highlighting each host cities uniqueness and what it took to get the name.
First off, we had the ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS, they will play their home games at The Dome and will be coached by Jonathan Hayes. Next up was the TAMPA BAY VIPERS, coached by Trestman and will play at the Raymond James Stadium. NEW YORK GUARDIANS were showcased, another NYC team that will play at the MetLife Stadium, Kevin Gilbride will be their play caller. The SEATTLE DRAGONS coached by Zorn will do battle at Century Link field.
Winston Moss will lead the LOS ANGELES WILDCATS, when they play at Dignity Health Sports Park. The nations capital Washington now has the DC DEFENDERS to cheer on, playing at Audi Field and led by Pep Hamilton. HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS was the first of two Texas teams announced, coached by June Jones they will play at TDECU Stadium. Lastly the DALLAS RENEGADES will roll into Globe Life Park and have Bob Stoops leading their challenge.
This unveiling had the look and feel of an office presentation with Luck throwing back and forth to other studios, you can only hope this slick style continues and they don’t lose their way. Of course, they will have the unfortunate demise of the AAF to look upon as how hard it can be to serve up football directly after the NFL season has finished.
Only time will tell if this old dog has learnt new tricks.