XFL Logo

The XFL was a professional American football league that played for one season in 2001. The league was founded by Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Wrestling Federation (currently known as World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.). The XFL was intended to be a major professional sports league complement to the offseason of the NFL, but it failed to find an audience and folded after its first and only season.


Created as a joint venture between NBC and the World Wrestling Federation under the company name "XFL, LLC", the XFL was created as a "single-entity league", meaning that the teams were not individually owned and operated franchises (as in the NFL), but that the league was operated as a single business unit. Vince McMahon's original plan was to purchase the Canadian Football League (after the CFL initially approached him about purchasing the Toronto Argonauts),[1] while NBC was moving ahead at the time with Time Warner to create a football league of their own.[2]

The concept of the league was first announced on February 3, 2000. The XFL was originally conceived to build on the success of the NFL and professional wrestling. It was hyped as "real" football without penalties for roughness and with fewer rules in general. The loud games featured players and coaches with microphones and cameras in the huddle and in the locker rooms. Stadiums featured trash-talking public address announcers and scantily-clad cheerleaders. Instead of a pre-game coin toss, XFL officials put the ball on the ground and let a player from each team scramble for it to determine who received the kickoff option, which led to the first XFL injury. This type of "coin toss" has since been referred to as the "injury zone."

The XFL chose unusual names for its franchises, most of which either referenced images of uncontrolled insanity (Maniax, Rage, Xtreme), evil (Demons) or criminal activity (Enforcers [a reference to mob enforcers], Hitmen, Outlaws, and the Birmingham Blast, a reference to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 as well as Eric Rudolph's 1998 bombing of a local abortion clinic). After outrage from Birmingham residents, the XFL changed the name of the Birmingham team to the more benign "Birmingham Thunderbolts." The Los Angeles Xtreme name also formed a pun with the team's initials, "LAX" (a gimmick that had previously been used by the Los Angeles Express of the USFL).

The XFL had impressive television coverage for an upstart league, with three games televised each week on NBC, UPN, and TNN.

Contrary to popular belief, the "X" in XFL did not stand for "extreme," as in "Extreme Football League." When the league was first organized in 1999, it was originally supposed to stand for "Xtreme Football League;" however, there was already a league in formation at the same time with that name, and so promoters wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the "X" did not actually stand for anything (though McMahon would comment that "if the NFL stood for the 'No Fun League', the XFL will stand for the 'extra fun league'"[3]). The other Xtreme Football League, which was also organized in 1999, merged with Arena Football before ever fielding its first game.


The first and only main draft for the league took place over a three day time period from October 28, 2000 to October 30, 2000. A total of 475 players were selected initially, with 65 additional players selected in a supplemental draft on December 29, 2000.

2001 seasonEdit

The XFL's opening game took place on February 3, 2001, one year after the concept of the league was announced, and immediately following the NFL's Super Bowl. The first game was between the New York/New Jersey Hitmen and the Las Vegas Outlaws at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The game ended with a 19-0 victory for the Outlaws, and was watched on NBC by an estimated 14 million viewers. During the telecast, NBC switched over to the game between the Orlando Rage and the Chicago Enforcers, which was a closer contest than the blowout taking place in Las Vegas. The show had a 9.5 Nielsen rating.

Although the XFL began with better-than-expected TV ratings (the opening-week games actually delivered ratings double those of what NBC had promised advertisers and the Saturday broadcast had more viewers than the NFL Pro Bowl) and fair publicity, the audience declined sharply after the first week of the season, going from a 9.5 rating to a 4.6 in just one week, and the media attacked the league for what was perceived as a poor quality of play.[4] A further problem was that the XFL itself was the brainchild of Vince McMahon, a man who was ridiculed by mainstream sports journalists due to the stigma attached to professional wrestling as being "fake"; many journalists even jokingly speculated whether any of the league's games were rigged, although nothing of this sort was ever proven.


Eastern Division

Orlando Rage
Chicago Enforcers
New York/New Jersey Hitmen
Birmingham Thunderbolts

Western Division

Los Angeles Xtreme
San Francisco Demons
Memphis Maniax
Las Vegas Outlaws
  • During its period of cancellation, the XFL was in the process of expanding. Through a lot of research, I've found interviews in which a team from the Eastern Division(I've heard Birmingham) would have been moved to the Western Division. Possibly to Seattle or Portland. The two locations which had been nearly finalized for expansion were Detroit and Washington.

2001 standingsEdit

Eastern Division Won Lost
Orlando Rage 8 2
Chicago Enforcers 5 5
New York/New Jersey Hitmen 4 6
Birmingham Thunderbolts 2 8
Western Division Won Lost
Los Angeles Xtreme 7 3
San Francisco Demons 5 5
Memphis Maniax 5 5
Las Vegas Outlaws 4 6


Statistical leadersEdit


2001 Passing Leaders (over 100 pass attempts)
Name, TeamAttComp%YardsYDs/AttTDTD %INTINT %LongSacks/Yds LostRating
Jeff Brohm, ORL1196958.09938.3497.632.551t11/7899.9
Kevin McDougal, CHIC1348160.411688.7253.732.2568/6991.9
Casey Weldon, Birm16410262.212287.4974.35380t7/4486.6
Jim Druckenmiller, Mem19910954.814997.53136.573.54915/8986.2
Ryan Clement, LV 1387856.58055.8396.542.94610/5983.2
Tommy Maddox, LA34219657.321866.39185.392.66314/9183.1
Mike Pawlawski, SF29718662.616595.59124623516/14182.6
Wally Richardson, NY/NJ1428358.58125.7264.264.233t17/10771.1
Brian Kuklick, ORL1226855.79948.1564.9108.281t7/4264.7
2001 Passing Leaders (under 100 pass attempts)
Name, TeamAttComp%YardsYDs/AttTDTD %INTINT %LongSacks/Yds LostRating
Craig Whelihan, CHIC/Mem5480.03060000120/091.7
Tim Lester, CHIC774051.95817.5545.256.568t13/6867.1
Charles Puleri, NY/NJ642945.34116.4223.123.177t4/3964.0
Marcus Crandell, Mem693347.84736.8611.422.9539/6263.3
Pat Barnes, SF803645.03794.7433.822.5345/3861.4
Corte McGuffey, NY/NJ482552.13296.850024.2545/3856.7
Mark Grieb, LV 783747.44085.2333.845.141t5/4454.9
Jay Barker, Birm653756.94256.5411.557.792t10/6449.8
Mike Cawley, LV 381744.71804.7412.625.32610/8345.9
Paul Failla, CHIC5120.051000052/1239.6
Graham Leigh, Birm974445.44995.141166.2368/6239.0
Scott Milanovich, LA9222.245500111.1390/08.3
2001 Rushing Leaders
Name, TeamAttYdsAve.LongTDs
John Avery, Chi1508005.373t5
Rod Smart, LV1465553.8313
James Bostic, Birm1535363.5562
Rashaan Salaam, Mem1145284.639t5
Derrick Clark, Orl943954.2197
Saladin McCullough, LA883844.4225
Joe Aska, NY/NJ823294.0423
Micheal Black, Orl833203.9200
LeShon Johnson, Chi722874.0416
Rashaan Shehee, LA612424.0280
Kelvin Anderson, SF532314.4391
Jim Druckenmiller, Mem312086.7360
Juan Johnson, SF331725.2190
Wally Richardson, NY/NJ261485.7240
2001 Receiving Yardage Leaders (over 175 yards)
Name, TeamRecYdsAve.LongTDs
Stepfret Williams, Birm5182816.292t2
Charles Jordan, Mem4582318.3494
Jeremaine Copeland, LA6775511.3345
Dialleo Burks, ORL3465919.481t7
Aaron Bailey, CHIC3254617.1503
Quincy Jackson, Birm4553111.836t6
Darnell McDonald, LA3445613.4398
Darryl Hobbs, Mem304191449t5
Jimmy Cunningham, SF504088.2263
Kirby Dar Dar, NY/NJ2240518.477t2
Kevin Swayne, ORL2740014.851t2
Brian Roberson, SF3639511352
Kevin Prentiss, Mem2538315.3530
Mario Bailey, ORL273791449t3
Zola Davis, NY/NJ2937813264
James Hundon, SF2835712.8340
Zechariah Lord, CHIC2030115.1460
John Avery, CHIC1729717.568t2
Yo Murphy, LV2727310.1353
Anthony Dicosmo, NY/NJ2626810.3300
Latario Rachal, LA2425410.6240
Rod Smart, LV272459.1460
Mike Furrey, LV1824213.441t1
Ed Smith, Birm251957.8161

XFL rule changesEdit

Despite boasts by WWF promoters of a "rules-light" game and universally negative reviews from the mainstream sports media early on, the XFL played a brand of 11-man outdoor football that was recognizable, aside from the opening game sprint to determine possession and some other changes, some modified during the season. In fact, most of the rule changes were inherited from the 1970s World Football League.

Grass stadiumsEdit

All XFL teams had to play in outdoor stadiums with grass surfaces.[5] No domed stadiums, artificial turf stadiums, or retractable roof stadiums were allowed. (This happened to occur during Giants Stadium's brief experiment with natural grass; the stadium's turf did not hold up well in the winter and early spring weather and the stadium reverted to its traditional artificial turf in 2003.)

Opening scrambleEdit

Replacing the coin toss at the beginning of each game was an event in which one player from each team sought to recover a football 20 yards away in order to determine possession. Both players lined up side-by-side on one of the 30-yard lines, with the ball being placed at the 50-yard line. At the whistle, the two players would run toward the ball and attempt to gain possession; whichever player gained possession first was allowed to choose possession (as if he had won a coin toss in other leagues). The scramble infamously led to the first XFL injury: Orlando Rage free safety Hassan Shamsid-Deen separated his shoulder in the scramble during the XFL's opening weekend. This injury would keep Shamsid-Deen out for the rest of the season.

No PAT (point after touchdown) kicksEdit

After touchdowns there were no extra point kicks, due to the XFL's perception that an extra point kick was a "guaranteed point." To earn a point after a touchdown, teams ran a single offensive down from the two-yard line (functionally identical to the NFL/NCAA/CFL two-point conversion), but for just a single point. By the playoffs, two-point and three-point conversions had been added to the rules. Teams could opt for the bonus points by playing the conversion farther back from the goal line.

This rule, as originally implemented, was similar to the WFL's "Action Point," and was identical to a 1968 experiment by the NFL and American Football League, used only in preseason interleague games that year.


Ties were resolved in similar fashion to the NCAA and present-day CFL game, with at least one possession by each team, starting from the opponent's 20 yard line. There were differences: there were no first downs – teams had to score within four downs, and the team that had possession first in overtime could not attempt a field goal until fourth down. If that team managed to score a touchdown in fewer than four downs, the second team would only have that same number of downs to match or beat the result. If the score was still tied after one overtime period, the team that played second on offense in the first OT would start on offense in the second OT.

Bump and runEdit

The XFL allowed full bump and run coverage early in the season. Defensive backs were allowed to hit wide receivers any time before the quarterback released the ball, as long as the hit came from the front or the side (similar to the NCAA). In an effort to increase offensive production, bump and run was restricted to the first five yards from the line of scrimmage (similar to NFL) following the fourth week of the season.

Forward motionEdit

Unlike the NFL, but like the World Football League, Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League before it, the XFL allowed one offensive player to move toward the line of scrimmage once he was outside the tackles.

Halo rule / live puntsEdit

The heavily-hyped "no fair catch" rule (announcers tended to mention it on almost every punt/kickoff) was paired with a five-yard zone excluding players of the kicking team around potential returners before the ball touched them or the ground, similar to rules in Canadian football, rugby union, and contemporary NCAA rules (where the term "halo" was applied, though the XFL called it instead the "danger zone"). But instead of making punt returns more exciting, it often had the opposite effect, since the XFL players' inexperience with the rule caused a high number of game-delaying penalties.

The fair catch had previously been abolished from Canadian rules, NCAA rules (but only for the 1950 season), and rugby league.

Another difference was that after touching ground 25 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage, punts could be recovered and advanced by all players of the kicking team. This led to more quick kicks being taken on third-down-and-long situations in the one season of the small league than had been seen in the NFL over several preceding decades of longer seasons. This XFL rule was similar to a rule that had been in effect in American football in the 1910s and part of the 1920s.

XFL penalized 10 yards from the succeeding spot for punts going out of bounds, even if they first touched the ground (but not a player of the receiving team).

For the initial weeks of the season, the XFL forbade all players on the kicking team from going downfield before a kick was made from scrimmage on that down, similarly to a rule the NFL considered in 1974. For the rest of the season the XFL modified it to allow one player closest to each sideline downfield ahead of the kick, the same modification the NFL adopted to their change just before their 1974 exhibition games started.

The purpose of these provisions was to keep play going after the ball was punted, encouraging the kicking team to make the ball playable and the receiving team to run it back.

Roster and salariesEdit

The XFL limited each team to an unusually low 38 players (roughly analogous to the 42 for CFL rosters, as opposed to 53 on NFL teams and 80 or more on unlimited college rosters). This resulted, most commonly, in each team only carrying two quarterbacks and one kicker who doubled as the punter.

The XFL paid standardized player salaries. Quarterbacks earned U.S. $5,000 per week, kickers earned $3,500, and all other uniformed players earned $4,500 per week, though a few players got around these restrictions (Los Angeles Xtreme players Noel Prefontaine, the league's lone punting specialist, and Matt Malloy, a wide receiver) by having themselves listed as backup quarterbacks. Players on a winning team received a bonus of $2,500 for the week, $7,500 for winning a playoff game. The team that won the championship game split $1,000,000 (roughly $25,000 per player). Furthermore, players did not receive any fringe benefits, meaning players had to pay for their own health insurance.

Broadcast overviewEdit

Sky camEdit

Although the XFL was not the first football league to feature the "sky cam",[6] which enables TV viewers to see behind the offensive unit, it helped to popularize its unique capabilities. The sky cam is currently used in NFL broadcasts on all major networks. This perspective was originally available only in standard definition, but is now broadcast in high definition during most major NFL games each week.

Broadcast scheduleEdit

At the beginning of the season, NBC showed a feature game at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday nights, also taping a second game. The second game, in some weeks, would air in the visiting team's home market and be put on the air nationally if the feature game was a blowout (as was the case in week one) or encountered technical difficulties (as was the case in week two). Two games were shown each Sunday: one at 4 p.m. Eastern on TNN (now Spike TV) and another at 7 p.m. Eastern on UPN (which has since merged with The WB to form The CW).

The XFL also had a fairly extensive local radio presence, often using nationally recognized disc jockeys. The morning radio duo of Rick and Bubba, for instance, was the radio broadcast team for the Birmingham Thunderbolts, while Opie and Anthony had covered pregame for NBC. Super Dave Osborne was a sideline reporter for Los Angeles Xtreme broadcasts on KLSX; WMVP carried Chicago Enforcers games.

In the third week of the season, the games were sped up through changes in the playing rules, and broadcasts were subjected to increased time constraints. The reason was the reaction of Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of Saturday Night Live, to the double-overtime win by the Los Angeles Xtreme against the Chicago Enforcers. The game ended at 11:45 p.m. Eastern, with the start of SNL pushed back to 12:20 a.m. Sunday morning. This angered Michaels, who expected high ratings with Jennifer Lopez as the night's host. Lopez had just become the first actress-singer in history to record the top-selling album in the United States (J. Lo) and to star in the most popular movie (The Wedding Planner) at the same time. In a rare SNL move, the Lopez show actually started on time for its live audience and was broadcast via tape delay. For the rest of the season, the XFL cut off coverage at 11:00 Eastern Time, regardless of whether or not the game was over.

Broadcast teamsEdit

Media responseEdit

The XFL aimed to attract two distinct audiences to games: wrestling fans and American football fans. The XFL also tried to attract fans from other areas of entertainment (e.g., movies).

Many American football fans distrusted the league because of its relationship to pro wrestling. They had a hard time accepting that a close, come-from-behind win or a controversial ending had not been scripted in advance, although there was no evidence to support this. The league was panned by critics as boring football with a tawdry broadcast style, although the broadcasts on TNN and to a lesser extent UPN and the Matt Vasgersian-helmed NBC coverage were comparatively professional and workmanlike. Longtime WWE play-by-play man Jim Ross, who has otherwise received praise for his calling of wrestling matches over the years, got the bulk of the criticism for his play-by-play calls of XFL games despite his 30+ years of experience in calling wrestling matches as well as calling play-by-play for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons in the early 1990s.

Scoring was so scarce that bookmakers could not set the over-under total low enough. Wise gamblers who took the under, often in the mid 30s, would win consistently — they could even parlay the under for all four games in a weekend and win on a regular basis. Towards the end of the season, bookies needed to make the totals in the upper 20s, highly unusual in pro football gambling circles. The league was forced to change rules during the season to afford receivers more protection, but the mid-season rule changes did little to bolster league credibility.

In 2000, before the XFL's launch, the league aired a series of cheerleader commercials on NBC, featuring adult models such as Pennelope Jimenez, Karen McDougal, and Rachel Sterling. The most famous one featured them as some of the cheerleaders taking a shower in the locker room. Using clever camera angles and strategically placed objects, the commercial gave viewers the titillating illusion that the cheerleaders were nude in the shower with little left to the imagination. The edgy XFL commercials backfired and caused a controversy. Deemed too risqué by the media, the commercials were quickly withdrawn before the debut of the league.

End of season and failureEdit

On April 21, 2001, the season concluded as the Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons 38-6 in the XFL Championship Game (which was originally given the Zen-like moniker "The Big Game at the End of the Season", but was later dubbed the Million Dollar Game, after the amount of money awarded to the winning team).

Though paid attendance at games remained respectable, if unimpressive (overall attendance were only 10% below what the league's goal had been at the start of the season), the XFL ceased operations after just one season due to low TV ratings. Facing stiff competition from the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the NBC telecast of the Chicago/NY-NJ game on March 31 received a 1.5 rating, at that time the lowest ever for any major network primetime television broadcast in the United States. (On July 19, 2006, ABC's premiere of reality game The One: Making a Music Star broke that record with only a 1.3 – that show would be cancelled before airing another episode.)

Despite initially agreeing to broadcast XFL games for two years and owning half of the league, NBC announced it would not broadcast a second XFL season, thus admitting failure in its attempt at airing replacement pro football. WWF Chairman Vince McMahon initially announced that the XFL would continue, as it still had UPN and TNN as broadcast outlets. In fact, expansion teams were being explored for cities such as Washington, D.C. and Detroit. However, in order to continue broadcasting XFL games, UPN demanded that WWF SmackDown broadcasts be cut from two hours to one and a half hours. McMahon found these terms unacceptable and he announced the XFL's closure on May 10, 2001. "The situation is very bad," he was quoted as saying.

One reason for the failure of the league to catch on, despite its financial solvency and massive visibility (perhaps infamy), was the lack of respect for the league in the sports media. XFL games were rarely treated as sports contests, but rather more like WWF-like sensationalized events. With few NFL-quality players, save Tommy Maddox, the league's MVP, and with little thoughtful analysis or even consideration by sports columnists, the XFL never gained the necessary recognition to be regarded as a viable league. The fact that the league was co-owned by NBC made ESPN (which was part of the same corporation as ABC) and Fox Sports Net (owned by Fox TV) disinclined to report on the XFL, though Time Warner properties such as Sports Illustrated, as well as the Associated Press, devoted coverage to the league. Many local TV newscasts and newspapers (even in XFL cities) did not report league scores or show highlights. This led to many football fans treating the XFL as a joke, rather than competition to the NFL.

Former ECW announcer Joey Styles mentioned on the McMahon DVD (which has a short section on the XFL) that if the league had not been as publicly associated with wrestling and the negative stigma that comes with it, the league might have been successful. On the same DVD, Vince McMahon defends the XFL, saying it didn't cost a lot of money for him to try and still thinks it was a good idea, although WWE television nowadays occasionally pokes fun at the failures of the XFL.

WWE announcer Jerry Lawler, who made amends with WWE months after the league folded and remains employed with the company today, believes that the league could have been a success if given more time. He stated in his biography that Vince's novel approach of adding entertainment to the sport would have made it a more appealing alternative to the NFL. However, because the league was immediately compared to the NFL as a direct competitor, he feels that the pressures placed by NBC ruined McMahon's model entirely. He states "I knew after the very first week that it wasn't going to fly. They said don't mention the cheerleaders, don't shoot the cheerleaders. I realized then they were going to try to take on the NFL and that was never going to work. The football wasn't good enough."[7]

The XFL ranked #3 on TV Guide's list of the TV Guide's worst TV shows of all time in July 2002, as well as #2 on ESPN's list of biggest flops in sports, behind Ryan Leaf.[8][9] In 2010, TV Guide Network also listed the show at #21 on their list of 25 Biggest TV Blunders.[10]

Many stories recapping the history of the XFL show photos of the crash of its promotional blimp, portraying it retrospectively as an ill-omen for the league. The incident occurred a month before the opening game, when its pilot and a student pilot with him, lost control of the airship and were forced to evacuate. The ground crew were unable to secure the vehicle and the "unattended blimp then floated five miles north over the Oakland Estuary, at one point reaching 1,600 feet, until its gondola caught on a sailboat mast in the Central Basin marina. It draped over the roof of the Oyster Reef restaurant -- next to where the boat was moored -- and a nearby power line."[11] While the pilot was hospitalized no other major injuries were reported. The blimp needed $2.5 million in repairs, the sailboat and restaurant had only minor damages. Also before the season started, a fictional XFL game appeared in the Schwarzenegger movie The 6th Day set in 2015.[12]


Despite its unimpressive showing among the TV audience, the XFL lasted for twelve weeks, more than the eleven weeks played by the three previous professional outdoor leagues combined: the Regional Football League of 1999 played nine weeks, the Spring Football League of 2000 survived just two, while the Professional Spring Football League of 1992 folded before playing a single game. It restored an outdoor professional franchise to Birmingham, Las Vegas and Memphis—each of whom had lacked an outdoor pro team since their CFL franchises were shuttered in 1995, but for a single season for the Tennessee Oilers in Memphis before moving to their permanent home in Nashville and becoming the Titans—and to Orlando, which had had no professional outdoor football since the WLAF (later NFL Europa) folded North American operations in 1992. The XFL brought a football franchise to Los Angeles—a market which has lacked an NFL team for years—and demonstrated that a baseball-specific stadium such as San Francisco's Pac Bell Park made a suitable venue for football as well. However, none of these novelties translated into overall commercial success.

The defunct league also popularized "in-game" interviews. The XFL would interview head coaches between plays. Today, National Hockey League players are interviewed between commercial breaks and Major League Baseball has managers and coaches being interviewed. During Fox's Saturday Game of the Week, players often wear microphones for a "sounds of the game" segment.

NBC continued airing professional league football beyond the demise of the XFL. While no football aired during the 2002 season due to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, NBC struck a deal with the Arena Football League and aired games from that league from 2003 to 2006.

In 2006, NBC returned to coverage of NFL games with NBC Sunday Night Football. The occasional use of the "sky-cam" and sideline interviews are the only features common to both the NFL and XFL coverage. NBC's lead announcer for XFL coverage, Matt Vasgersian, later became an announcer for the NFL on FOX. Minervini joined the United Football League broadcast team for Versus in 2010.

XFL team names and logos also appear in movies and television where professional football needs to be dramatized, as licensing for NFL logos may be cost prohibitive.

In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer is wearing an XFL cap and waving a flag with the XFL logo at the beginning, looking forward to the new season, only to have the news broken to him, by Marge, that the XFL has folded. Marge then tells him that the league MVP told her, and that he was now sweeping up nails at the hair salon. In reality, the league's only MVP, Tommy Maddox, would resurrect his once-undistinguished NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2002 before giving way to Ben Roethlisberger two years later. It was also mentioned in a later episode where Homer mistakenly believed one of the teams was the "Long Island Ice Teas" when asked what was the best team to never win the XFL.

The yardage-based conversion rule, which was introduced (and only used once) by the XFL, also will see new life. The all-female Lingerie Football League adopted a yardage-based conversion rule similar to that used in the XFL playoffs. In that league, a one-point conversion can be scored from the 2-yard line while a two-point conversion can be scored from the 5-yard line. The LFL, which targets a similar audience as the XFL did, does not feature any kicking.

The United Football League later placed all four of its inaugural franchises in former XFL markets and stadiums. However, the UFL drew far fewer fans than the XFL average (though the XFL was marked by a notable disparity between the beginning of the season and the end of the season). The difference between the XFL's San Francisco Demons and the UFL's California Redwoods was particularly striking; despite both playing in the same ballpark, the XFL Demons drew an average of 35,000 fans, compared to only 6,000 for the UFL Redwoods. (The XFL's heavy promotion, coupled with a lack of competition against the San Francisco 49ers that the UFL had to face as a fall league as opposed to a winter league like the XFL, are the most likely reasons for this disparity.)

Notable playersEdit

Notable players included league MVP and Los Angeles quarterback Tommy Maddox, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the XFL folded (Maddox later became the starting quarterback for the Steelers in 2002 and led them to that year's playoffs, as well as continuing to start for them into 2004). Los Angeles used the first pick in the XFL draft to select a former NFL quarterback, Scott Milanovich. Milanovich lost the starting quarterback job to Maddox, who was placed on the Xtreme as one of a handful of players put on each team due to geographic distance between the player's college and the team's hometown. Another of the better-known players was Las Vegas running back Rod Smart, who first gained popularity because the name on the back of his jersey read "He Hate Me." Smart, who was only picked 357th in the draft, later went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, and the Oakland Raiders. His Panther teammate Jake Delhomme named his new-born horse "She Hate Me" as a reference to him.[13] Smart played in Super Bowl XXXVIII becoming one of seven XFL players to play in a Super Bowl. Receiver Yo Murphy also achieved this as a member of the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI).[14] Tommy Maddox played for a Super Bowl team (with the Pittsburgh Steelers) in Super Bowl XL in Detroit, (although Maddox, by then a third-string quarterback, did not play in the game, which turned out to be his last appearance in uniform before retiring). Lastly, Las Vegas Outlaws DB Kelly Herndon played in Super Bowl XL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2005, where he is remembered for intercepting a pass and returning it a then-record 76 yards. Although he did not play for an NFL team after the XFL's lone season, former Las Vegas Outlaw offensive guard Isaac Davis also had a notable NFL career, playing in 58 games over a six year career. Davis started for the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.[15]

Played in the NFLEdit

Played in the Super BowlEdit
Won a Super BowlEdit
Won both an XFL Championship and Super BowlEdit

Played in the CFLEdit

Played in the AFLEdit

Wrestled for WWEEdit

Ownership of broadcast rightsEdit

XFL games are now part of the WWE Video Library, along with classic highlights of WWE (and predecessors Capitol Wrestling/WWWF/WWF), World Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, the World Bodybuilding Federation, and other past and present subsidiaries of WWE.

No XFL game has been rebroadcast in its entirety in any form, on any channel, since the league folded.


  1. Vince McMahon Q&A
  3. Sandomir, Richard (February 4, 2000). "SPORTS BUSINESS; W.W.F. Alters Script And Looks to Football". The New York Times.
  4. So Bad It's Horrible: Sports - Television Tropes & Idioms (CRAPPY LEAGUES)
  5. List of stadiums courtesy of
  6. Larry Stewart (February 7, 2001). "XFL, NBC Working Out Kinks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  7. It's good to be the king...Sometimes. Jerry Lawler. pg. 262.
  8. Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (2002-07-12). "The Worst TV Shows Ever". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  9. "ESPN 25: The 25 Biggest Sports Flops". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  10. "Breaking News - TV Guide Network's "25 Biggest TV Blunders" Special Delivers 3.3 Million Viewers". 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  11. "Blimp crashes into Oakland restaurant". ESPN. January 31, 2001. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  12. "XFL Ready To Line It Up".
  13. JS Online: Fans love 'He Hate Me'
  15. Isaac Davis' career summary
  • Forrest, Brett. Long Bomb: How the XFL Became TV's Biggest Fiasco. Crown Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-609-60992-0.

External linksEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.