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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Vince McMahon will require XFL players to stand for national anthem

Vince McMahon announced on Thursday that he is bringing back the XFL, and he is planning to do things differently in his second stint as the owner of a professional football league.

Before he publicly unveiled his plans to bring back the league that was a highly-publicized failure in 2001, McMahon spoke with John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal about his new — and hopefully improved — vision. With the original XFL, McMahon tried to sell violence and controversy. This time, he tells SBJ he wants to take a more family friendly approach.

“We want to entertain — that’s what we do,” McMahon said. “There are not going to be any politics involved with this thing. We’re not going to have any social issues involved. People want to be entertained. … It’s the entertainment value that sometimes is lost.”

By that, McMahon means that he is planning to force players to stand for the national anthem. He also said he will not hire players who have arrest records, though that might be a challenge. The XFL will also have a new logo, which features the same colors as the American flag.

McMahon is hoping the biggest difference for the XFL 2.0 will be the product on the field, which is why he is holding off until 2020 for actual games.

“We’ve got time to draft good players and be able to put really good football on the field. That’s the biggest thing that’s going to be a difference.” he said, noting that the XFL will target players who just missed making it in the NFL. The difference between making it in the NFL and not is slight. You can’t measure heart and things of that nature. You’re going to have some great athletes.”

While few details have been released, McMahon said the XFL will consist of teams from eight markets that have not yet been determined. Rosters will be made up of 40 players, and there will be a 10-week regular season after the Super Bowl followed by a postseason featuring two semifinal games and a championship. McMahon also spoke of plans to have different rules from the NFL that will result in faster games, possibly ones that finish in around two hours.

“Sitting in front of a television for three-and-a-half hours for a game is a lot of time to devote,” he said. “A lot of people do it. We want a faster game. We want a more exciting game. We want rules that are simplified. In the end, we want it to be more fan friendly with more engagement.”

Obviously, McMahon’s priority is taking things that fans complain about with the NFL and trying to provide an alternative. His vision for having players without arrest records could prove impossible, especially with one of the top stars we already heard he is targeting.

At the end of the day, the quality of play will be the most important thing for the XFL. If the league can attract good football players who are nearly skilled enough to play in the NFL, the results could be different this time around. McMahon is a smart businessman, so you know he learned a lot from his failure more than 15 years ago.

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