The XFL is back after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league was purchased out of bankruptcy by a group that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and it is set to kick off its 2023 season on Saturday, February 18, 2023, with eight teams split into North and South divisions.
The XFL plans to have each team train in Arlington, Texas, and only travel for game days in order to save costs. Let’s look at the top 10 Moments in the league’s brief history.
The founding of the XFL: In 2001, the XFL was founded as a joint venture between WWE chairman Vince McMahon and NBC Sports. The league was designed to be a more “extreme” version of traditional football.
The first game: The first game in XFL history was played on February 3, 2001, between the New York/New Jersey Hitmen and the Las Vegas Outlaws. The Outlaws won the game 19-0.
The “He Hate Me” nickname: Rod Smart, a running back for the Las Vegas Outlaws, became one of the most memorable players in XFL history thanks to his unique nickname: “He Hate Me.” Smart’s nickname became a popular catchphrase among fans.
The XFL on national TV: The XFL had a national TV contract with NBC in 2001, which brought the league to a national audience. The league also had a game broadcast on UPN in 2001, which was the first live football game broadcast on the network.
The XFL’s unique rules: The XFL had several unique rules that set it apart from other professional football leagues, including a coin toss scramble, no fair catches on punts, and a 10-yard “scramble” for possession of the ball at the start of the game.
The Million Dollar Game: In 2001, the XFL held its championship game, which was called the “Million Dollar Game” because the winning team received a $1 million bonus. The Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons 38-6.
The XFL’s return in 2020: After a 19-year hiatus, the XFL returned in 2020 with a new set of teams and a revised set of rules. The league played five games before being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The XFL’s innovative broadcast techniques: In 2020, the XFL partnered with Fox Sports to introduce several new broadcast techniques, including live in-game interviews with players and coaches, and microphones on players and referees.
The Houston Roughnecks’ perfect start: In 2020, the Houston Roughnecks started the season with a perfect 5-0 record, becoming the only team in XFL history to achieve that feat.
The end of the XFL and a New Beginning (again): Unfortunately, the XFL was forced to shut down again in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the league had only just begun its second season, it had already shown promise and potential for the future. The league was purchased out of bankruptcy by a group that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and it is set to kick off its 2023 season on Saturday, February 18, 2023, with eight teams split into North and South divisions.