Vince McMahon wanted to get back into the football business, and he’s reviving the XFL in order to realize that goal.
The WWE chairman and CEO announced Thursday afternoon the relaunch of the professional football league, the XFL. The league failed in its first and only season in 2001, but McMahon is giving it another go and taking an entirely different approach.
Here are the details, as revealed by McMahon on a Thursday afternoon conference call with reporters:
— The league will begin play in 2020.
— The league will consist of eight teams with 40-man rosters; teams will play 10-game schedules with playoffs consisting of semifinals and a championship game
— McMahon wouldn’t tip his hand as to cities involved
— Seasons will start in late January/early February
— McMahon will continue in his role as WWE chairman and CEO
— According to McMahon, “there will be no crossover whatsoever” with the WWE and its athletes, which is a change from the “old” XFL
— The XFL also won’t use WWE broadcasters, which is another change
— The goal is to make the league “as safe as possible,” according to McMahon, another change from the first installment of the league
— Any player with a prior criminal record will not be able to play in the XFL
— McMahon said the league hasn’t made any decisions about whether players can put nicknames on the back of their jerseys as they did the first time around
McMahon was asked whether President Donald Trump would have any involvement in the league. McMahon danced around the question as it pertained to Trump, but he insisted the league’s focus would remain on football and not politics.
“I have no idea whether President Trump will support this,” he said, “and let me use this as an opportunity to say as far as our league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics, absolutely nothing, and nothing to do with social issues, either. We’re there to play football. We want really good football.”
McMahon also seemed to suggest there will be rules against protesting during the national anthem.
As to whether Colin Kaepernick would be welcomed in the league, McMahon said, “I think anyone who plays the game of football well and meets our criteria as a human being as well as a player, why not?”