Ah, the XFL. There isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t cross my mind. Whether it’s your creative jersey names- shoutout to Rod ‘He Hate Me’ Smart- or your allegations of falsity and scripted games, you were always entertaining if nothing else.
And now you’re back.
The XFL itself is an eight team American Football league spawned from the imagination of the mogul behind the success of the WWE, Vince McMahon. The league was initially formed in 2001 and ran for only one season before being dissolved as a result of incredibly low viewership and extreme financial losses amounting to around thirty-five million dollars. Even McMahon himself denounced the league as a ‘colossal failure’.
The XFL was revived from a sixteen-year-long slumber in January 2018 via an announcement from McMahon, promising a completely separate institution from it’s ill-fated previous incarnation. Today, the eight new franchises participating in the league have been announced; let’s take a look.
Firstly, the Dallas Renegades. led by the former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoop. Personally, I just can’t get behind this team. Not only does the idea of being associated with anything related to Dallas contradict all of my human decency, but this name choice just screams such a tryhard vibe. We get it, you used to be outlaw country. The real cowboys weren’t even that cool, anyway.
Next up, another Texas special- the Houston Roughnecks. I’m not really sure where to begin with this one. According to Wikipedia, a roughneck is a name given to someone involved in manual labour, especially on an oil rig. I suppose it works with the geography and industry found in Houston, at the very least.
To California now, with the L.A. Wildcats. I must admit, this logo does look very sleek. The choice of ‘Wildcats’, however, is generic at the very best. Furthermore, I do worry at this team name glorifying the feral cat issue existing in Los Angeles today, which, if left unchecked, may threaten the existence of humanity itself. For goodness sake, have some humility, Vince McMahon.
Now to the East, to become accustomed with the New York Guardians. From a city already boasting the Giants and Jets in the realm of American Football, a valiant effort. According to his Wikipedia, one of the principal achievements of Guardians’ head coach Kevin Gilbride is that he’s mates with Tom Coughlin, which is nice, I guess.
Next, a name I can finally get behind: the St. Louis Battlehawks. Here’s my early prediction for XFL Champions of 2020. Everything about this team screams danger- especially the placement in St. Louis, filled with people who have no choice but to support this team following the departure of the Rams just as they began to find success. The name ‘Battlehawks’ itself is absolutely iconic. What could it possibly mean? A bird of prey wearing armour? Only time will tell, and the ambiguity only boosts the intrigue.
The Seattle Dragons come next. They will share the CenturyLink Stadium with the Seattle Seahawks, a move which Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reportedly welcomed with open arms. All I feel is empathy for the poor field-painters who will frequently need to re-do the end-zones entirely.
Let’s move on to the Tampa Bay Vipers. I can already predict the headlines made by this team next year. Following a pitiful season by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (let’s face it, it’s inevitable), every NFL writer under the sun will publish an article titled ‘Could the Vipers defeat the Buccs?’. An actual game between the two is also not beyond imagination, given the state of Florida as not only a state, but some warped parallel universe.
And, finally, the D.C. Defenders. I feel absolutely nothing towards this team. I look at its Microsoft Paint-esque logo, and simply feel void of any emotion whatsoever. I’m fully convinced that there is absolutely nothing which could get me excited about a team with such a generic, meaningless name as the ‘Defenders’. Defenders of what, exactly? Such questions are bound to disturb my sleep and plague my fleeting waking moments. Thank you, D.C. Defenders, for ruining my week.
Can anyone judge whether the XFL reboot will be a success or failure? Not as of yet. The benchmark set by the ill-fated AAF and the previous insurgence of the XFL leaves this league with an incredibly low ceiling in terms of not-quite-NFL American Football leagues. Even if these clashes do not provide much in terms of quality, with such a character as Vince McMahon at the head of the charge, the second insurgence of the XFL looks to be, if anything, incredibly entertaining.