In late January, World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon announced his plan to resurrect the XFL in 2020. With this new XFL, McMahon promised not to repeat the mistakes of 2001, and he could be successful this time around.
Pure football fans didn’t take the XFL seriously the first time McMahon launched it. Wrestling fans weren’t interested, and traditionalists didn’t like its marketing tactics. The lack of interest combined with multiple incidents, mishaps, and other failures—which were chronicled in an ESPN "30 for 30" film in 2017—forced McMahon to close shop after one season.
During its launch in 2000, McMahon said he wanted to bring back "old-fashioned smash-mouth football." He felt the NFL had become watered down with its many rules and regulations. So in response, McMahon eliminated the fair catch on kick and punt returns, enacted the "No Domes" policy, which meant every game was played outdoors regardless of the weather, and allowed quarterbacks to get hit when sliding (which is a 15-yard penalty in the NFL). McMahon also made sure penalties like unnecessary roughness and late hits were kept to a minimum.
With this new XFL, McMahon has vowed to make changes, and he could be successful if he's able to put them into place. The sports and media landscape has changed since 2001 thanks to more options for television viewing and social media being used as a strong marketing tool. Today’s sports fans are constantly seeking the next big thing, and the time could be right for competition as the NFL was forced to deal with turmoil on several fronts in 2017.
Back in 2000, McMahon hoped he could compete with the NFL with an alternative product that was co-promoted with WWE and marketed to the 18-34 year old male demographic. McMahon fast-tracked his league for a 2001 debut, which many felt was rushed and should have waited until 2002. While the league did have a draft in 2000, the majority of XFL players were a collection of former NFL players, college players who were overlooked by the NFL, and players from minor leagues such as the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, among others.