McMahon's XFL could put hurts on L.A. Chargers

No criminals allowed in reborn league

Vincent McMahon
  • Vincent McMahon
  • Wikipedia image/Nicholas Pilch

The XFL was a professional footballl league financed by NBC and the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment). It lasted one year, 2001, because of poor TV ratings and attendance. Now it intends to come back in 2020, and some are saying it could hurt the Los Angeles Chargers, or perhaps play in San Diego (doubtful).

The league stressed violence. The teams had elegant names: Chicago Enforcers, New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Las Vegas Outlaws, Los Angeles Xtreme, Memphis Maniax, San Francisco Demons, and Birmingham Thunderbolts. The league admitted that it picked up some of its gimmicks from professional wrestling. There were no penalties for roughness and, in general, fewer rules. The public announcers talked trash and instead of a coin toss to determine who would receive the kickoff, the official put the ball on the ground and a player from each team scrambled for it. This was called “The Human Coin Toss.”

Vincent McMahon, founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, announced January 25th that he will bring the league back. This time, insists McMahon, the league will be civilized. Players with criminal records can’t play. Players can’t protest on social issues on the field. Potential players will be judged on “the quality of human being they are,” according to ESPN.com. This time, McMahon has no partners, but outsiders think he might hunt for a media hookup. 

(Remember, his World Wrestling Entertainment features scripted entertainment. I am not saying these games will be scripted, but gamblers should be circumspect.)

The publication Bolts from the Blue, which appeals to Chargers followers, says that with the XFL returning, “The Chargers should expect even more competition for the LA media market.” After all, LA is the capital of scripted entertainment.

Tom Krasovic of the Union-Tribune questions whether a XFL team will locate in San Diego. I question it, too: already, two groups, SoccerCity and San Diego State University, are wrestling over the land that the former Qualcomm Stadium now stands, and both want to tear it down. 

The bottom line is that billionaire McMahon has spent most of his career promoting professional wrestling. Could the reincarnation of the XFL possibly feature civility, as he now claims?

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As it was first constituted the league sounds just awful. But there 's a market for something rougher than NFL play. The team that promotes a thuggish image, the Raiders, is popular across the nation. The black and silver color scheme and its logo, along with the "Raider Nation" emblems we see frequently attest to wide spread appeal.

But you are right about pro wrestling, which isn't sport at all, but rather scripted "entertainment." Any football league sponsored and/or run by McMahon would be suspect. One thing I think has to be present in football is a belief that the games are truly competitive and that there is never a fix. That's something that NFL fans think is true today, although I sometimes wonder.

Visduh: Oh yes. There are people now who talk about the NFL as if it is a sissy league because of the precautions (such as related to possible concussions) and other such measures. I would call this a redneck market., and it's large.

McMahon tried appealing to that market in 2001 and flopped. However, he seems to be claiming that now he will have a civilized league. Don't bet on that. In fact, wouldn't bet on the league's games -- that's just my advice, and you seem to share my qualms.

I agree with you on the Raiders. They belong in Las Vegas, where they will soon be moving to. Best, Doin Bauder

Clive Peters: NFL stands for the Namby-Pamby Footsie Lovers conference. Everybody knows that. Best, Don Bauder

I just finished watching season 3 of the Fargo TV series. It's a murder mystery show, sort of, but in reality it's so over-the-top, full of outrageously gross murders that it becomes a dark comedy. It's a refreshing change from the thousands of murder mysteries that are dry and serious. We have enough serious reality in the daily news, a bit of comic relief can't hurt.

Maybe this league has a chance. I admit I'm not a spectator sports fan. I'd much rather watch a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition than a serious basketball game. And yes, the nonsense they call wrestling is more fun than real wrestling (which I used to do). Far more entertaining. And in an odd way, this new enterprise may be more honest; paid for by advertising and fans instead of taxpayers.

Fun facts: Seven of the Globetrotters are less than 6' tall; player 7, Jonte Hall "Too Tall" is five foot two. Here's Wilt Chamberlain…

None

by swell

swell: Two of the guys I played against in high school went straight to the Globetrotters, although I don't think they went to the main team. They were brothers, as I recall. The team was LaGrange, and it won the Illinois state title in 1953, winning all their games (30-plus). They were expected to win the 1954 championship, but to do so, they would have had to win something like 62 straight games over two seasons. Very difficult. They didn't make it.

I only saw two Globetrotter games. Entertaining. I agree with you. I used to enjoy watching professional wrestling on TV. The scripted matches were hilarious, especially when they did something really funny, like tossing the ref out of the ring. These guys were great tumblers and some were good thespians. (I am not sexist. I don't think there was female wrestling back in those days.) Does anyone remember Haystacks Calhoun? He was said to weigh 400 or 500 pounds and he would take on a tag team all by himself.

The Globetrotters were said to have lost one game (obviously scripted) to their opponents (were they the Washington Generals?) in all those years. The people who saw that game have something to talk about. Best, Don Bauder

swell: I just looked up Haystacks Calhoun. Wikipedia says he weighed 600 pounds, not the 400 or 500 I wrote. (Of course, this is professional wrestling, so Wilkipedia's source may engaging in hyperbole.) In any case, Haystacks in the early 1960s apparently performed in Madison Garden in a series of matches with a wrestler named Happy Humphrey who allegedly weighed 800 pounds. According to Wikipedia, Haystacks won most of the matches because when Happy Humphrey was tossed out of the ring, he couldn't scramble back in. Best, Don Bauder

Don: That sounds like a Barnum and Bailey freak show. Creepy. I have a neighbor who recently got his weight down to less than 400 pounds. He struggles to breathe. He fell out of bed recently and couldn't lift himself up. He used to be an athlete. I don't think any venue (perhaps YouTube) would allow such a wrestling show these days. Not politically correct. But if people want to see it, and others want to perform, is it all bad?

swell: A soprano with an incredibly beautiful voice, Jane Eaglen, got so corpulent that she could not move around the stage, would get worn out quickly, and couldn't sing for as long as it took to complete an opera. I don't know if she is singing anymore. She just couldn't control the weight. Best, Don Bauder

swell: Forgot to mention that Eaglen sang in San Diego at least once. She starred in Puccini's "Turandot"in the 1990s. What a voice! What a tragedy! Best, Don Bauder

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

The XFL was a joke then and will be again.

AlexClarke: You are probably right. The NFL, and football itself, are showing signs of declining. So why should McMahon try again now?

It seems to me if there is a market out there, it would be the redneck market that thinks the NFL has become sissified. I doubt if there is a market for more civilized football. Golf, a civilized sport, is declining in terms of rounds played and financial success of golf courses. I don't know about TV.

Here's one thing I don't know: is professional wrestling still thriving on TV? As I said, I used to turn it on and laugh uproariously for about 15 minutes, and then go to something else. Best, Don Bauder

Don: If it is true that the XFL market would be rednecks then all the players would be named Bubba and they would all be cousins.

AlexClarke: That is a most astute observation. Best, Don Bauder

Pamela Cosmi: I am having trouble interpreting your statement. Best, Don Bauder

Christopher O'Carmichael: in the battle over a stadium for the Chargers, one of the hangups was that the city's water department owned half of the stadium (now SDCCU Stadium) and the city owned the other half. Best, Don Bauder

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