Where, when, and social issues: 10 things we learned about the return of the XFL

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jan 25, 2018

It's official: The XFL is about to make a return.

Under the guidance of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, the XFL, which failed in 2001 after just one season, will relaunch in 2020 with a new look and new creative direction.

"I've always wanted to relaunch and I've had this plan for some time," McMahon said during a media conference call Thursday. "This is going to be a different game -- a fan-centered game."

Here are 10 things we learned about the new XFL via that conference call and an accompanying press release.

1. It will relaunch in 2020 at the end of the NFL season.

The first season of the new XFL will take place in 2020. McMahon said play will begin in late January or early February, roughly the same time the NFL's Super Bowl is scheduled. "There's seven months in which there's no football on the gridiron, and I think the demand is there," McMahon said.

2. There will be eight teams in to-be-determined cities.

Eight XFL teams will begin play in 2020, and all teams will be owned by McMahon. City selections will take place over the next several months. "I think we're going to go where fans want us to go, wherever's there more interest," he said.

McMahon said he prefers to play in cities with existing NFL stadiums, but he would consider a baseball stadium if the market is the right fit.

3. There will be 10 games per season.

The XFL will include a 10-game regular season and three playoff games: two semifinal matches plus a championship game.

4. There will be roughly 40 players per team. 

The XFL will consist of approximately 40 players per team, a significantly lower number compared to the NFL's 53-man roster.

5. The game will be faster.

McMahon envisions XFL games taking roughly two hours to complete, rather than the NFL's norm of three-plus hours. 

"Sitting and watching a three, three-and-a-half-hour game is laborious sometimes," McMahon said. "We're going to try to get to two hours. That's our goal."

6. Political and social activism will be discouraged.

The XFL "will have absolutely nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with social issues," McMahon said. "The national anthem is a time-honored tradition that's played to this day, and many, many years in the past prior to athletic vents in our country and other countries."

McMahon said athletes have a number of other options for expressing their political viewpoints, including social media. "We're here to play football. When we come on to the field, we're here to play football, and that's everyone's job," he said.

7. People with criminal records will not be allowed to play.

"You want someone who does not have any criminality whatsoever associated with them," McMahon said. "Even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL."

8. There will be no WWE crossover.

The original XFL included elements of McMahon's WWE, including WWE commentators calling certain games. This will not be the case in the new XFL.

"There will be no crossover whatsoever," said McMahon, who added he's "going to take a backseat" role in terms of publicity.

9. The XFL will consider concussion concerns.

McMahon said the XFL will be sensitive to growing concerns about concussions and the long-term effects of CTE, saying the league will "listen to medical experts and heed their advice to make it as safe as possible."

10. Personalized jerseys might be an option.

Most sports fans remember some of the personalized names on the backs of jerseys that players in the original XFL were allowed to wear -- especially that of Rod "He Hate Me" Smart. McMahon said he's unsure whether the new XFL will include that option.

"We're not there yet, but it's amazing people remember that," McMahon said. "We're going to listen to football experts and we're going to listen to what the fans want more than anyone else."