"This will not be a league for pantywaists or sissies." -Vince McMahon
In an article on Podswoggle.com, Whidden went over the lessons WWE could learn from their past business failures (i.e. The World Bodybuilding Federation, WWE New York, WWE ECW). Without a doubt, WWE's biggest non-wrestling failure is the X Football League (because the "X" didn't stand for Xtreme...mistake #1). While the careers of QB Tommy Maddox, RB Rod 'He Hate Me' Smart and Kicker José Cortéz were launched all the way to the middle of the NFL, the XFL failed to deliver weekly ratings.
As I read Whidden's article, I thought to myself, "Why didn't the XFL work?". Then I thought about it and got mad at myself for asking such a stupid question.
The reason WWF was so successful in the 80s is because, as Jim Cornette put it, Vince McMahon turned wrestling into the Harlem Globetrotters. Instead of hard-nosed Southern wrestling that was about winning championships, Vince made wrestling about the silliness, gimmicks and whatever the hell a Gobbledy Gooker is. That's where the XFL failed. If Vince McMahon really wanted the XFL to be different, his mission should have been turning the NFL style of football into NFL Blitz. XFL should have been the Wild Wild West of Professional Sports. Cutting Promos? Excellent. Cheating? As long as you're not caught. Players drinking beers during games? Why the hell not?!?!.
With that said, I've decided to go back and turn the XFL into what it should have been: a sideshow filled with freaks and maybe a football play or two in between.
Note: Most of these ideas were the same ones my friends and I came up with in the 7th grade at our lunch table as we guessed what the XFL would be like before it debuted. Ideas have NOT been changed for entertainment or shame.
Put a steel cage around the football field.
WWE doesn't know what the term "out of bounds" means (Here's a prime example). So why on Earth would a WWE Football League have a way to leave the field during a play? Before the XFL debuted on NBC, this was one of the ideas my stupid 7th grade brain thought the XFL would ACTUALLY do. Fast forward 11 years and my stupid 23-year-old brain still thinks this is a pretty cool idea. Big hits against the cage, people bouncing off the cage to avoid tackles and, most importantly, Mark Henry guarding the door to make sure no one gets in or ou-...well in.
Introduce 'The Jump Ball'
One of the most infamous changes to conventional football that the XFL made was eliminating the coin toss and replacing it with the pre-game scramble (later known as 'the injury zone"). It's a decent idea in theory but this is Vince McMahon football! We can do better than a silly little race. In WWE, when that bell rings, it's go time. So instead of a coin toss or scramble, all 22 players will line up at center field and the game will start with a good ol' fashion jump ball. Exactly like the NBA, the referee will throw the ball high in the air and whoever gets possession starts on offense. The play doesn't end until the team that's gained offensive possession is down by contact. While I can see a lot of players getting hurt, who wouldn't want to see a team sign a 7 foot player so they could win the jump ball every game?
Shamelessly Incorporating Wrestling Gimmick Matches
When the XFL started, I naturally assumed that it would have gimmick games. How awesome would it be if two coaches/players on opposite team hated each other and the league commissioner made a Losing Coach/Player Leaves Town Game?
What could the XFL do if the had two teams who were evenly matched? Put them in an Iron Man Game! I'd imagine a 3-game series of back to back to back, hard-nosed, death-defying, no-company-on-Earth-would-insure-this-league FOOTBALL!
Maybe the league has an established QB who need some motivation to keep him going for one more season? Put him in a retirement game!
Two pretty boy athletes who've been talking trash all week? Hair vs Hair Game!
The amount of shitty gimmick matches that wrestling has created over the years gives my XFL an endless amount of 'sports entertainment'. The players might suck but the entertainment value will be through the roof.
Adding Heel and Face Turns
I'm a sucker for a great action and the my new XFL will be nothing short of dramatic. I want backstabbing assholes on my rosters and I want loyal heroes to put them in their place. Here's how I would make that happen:
All teams are allowed to have complete ownership to 25 players. This list can be updated and changed every week.
All Other Players on the team are signed to a 'Per Game' Contract and can sign to any team they want after weekly their game is completed
'Per Game' Players can't practice with the team until they are signed for the week. This might be fictional but competitive advantage is no joke.
That means if a "Per Game" player wants to join a new team, he can turn heel on his old team and possibly become a star player for another team. Will players stay loyal to their teams or will they embrace the paycheck? Also, I may have done this only because it would be a cool visual to see a player rip off his old team's jersey and have his new team's uniform right under it. Yeah, I'm a mark.
Other Rule Changes:
You can kick one FG per game. Use it wisely.
Extra Points will be replaced by Breakthrough and Conquer from American Gladiators.
There will be no play-by-play commentary during games. Instead select players will be mic'd up and provide the soundtrack to the game.
Going to the ground voluntarily (sliding or falling down to avoid a hit) is a 10 yard penalty. It's a man's league!
Helmets are optional. Anyone dumb enough to play football without a helmet deserves permanent brain damage.