WWE CEO Vince McMahon is bringing back the XFL at the beginning of the next decade, marking the return of the professional league that had a brief run in 2001 and is set to position itself as a protest-free alternative to the NFL.
McMahon announced his plans during a press conference on Thursday, laying out a vision for a fan-centric football league that will begin with eight teams of 40 players each.
“The new XFL will kick off in 2020 and quite frankly, we’re going to give the game of football back to fans,” he said. “It’s still football, but it’s football re-imagined.”
In contrast to standard American football, the XFL features a slew of rules changes: the opening coin toss is replaced with an opening scramble, there are no extra point kicks after touchdowns, games are sped up, and there are fewer rules overall.
When asked about how games will be viewable by fans, McMahon replied, “As we reimagine the game, we reimagine the way we distribute the game. It’s going to be a combination of any number of forms of presentation.”
He also made sure to emphasize that the revamped XFL would be free from kneeling protests or any other form of in-vogue social justice gestures.
“As far as our league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with social issues,” McMahon declared. “There’s plenty of opportunities and plenty of ways that players, coaches, and members of the media can express themselves… but again, we’re here to play football.”
Late last year, the WWE confirmed that it would not be involved in any way with the XFL: “Vince McMahon has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football.”