My God, From Whence Did It Come?
One of the best things about elderly self-made millionaires is that their business models stopped developing in approximately 1982. Which means that being Vince McMahon’s (of WWE fame) friend in the late 90’s was probably a lot like being on the development team for the Spork. No, seriously guys, what if we invented a sport that could dominate the market share for union and middle management types, AND the market share for the uncle that we regret co-signing on a loan for?
No, Vince. One plus one does not equal money. A spork is really just a broken spoon. And thusly, the XFL, one of the most televised Franken-sports ever, was created.
The XFL of personal hygiene
But How Could It Ever Go Wrong?
Well, for starters, NBC owned half of it.
You have to feel a little sorry for the mega-corporations that are in charge of taking popular content and tailoring it for the “every dude”. Frankly, none of these guys has ever been the every dude. Their exposure to the middle of the country is pretty much limited to the time they had to watch Paint Your Wagon because grandma was dying and the nursing home cheaped out on the movie channels.
This is why instead of a coin toss, there was literally a fist fight in the middle of the field for possession. Many of the cheerleaders were adult actresses. The soundtrack was mostly someone setting a Casiotone to White Snake 3 and having them mash the keys.
To make things worse, no other network was willing to pimp the wares of a rival network, which means that to find out XFL scores, short of actually watching NBC, your only hope was that the unusually small door at the end of that hallway was actually a portal into Jeff Zucker’s brain.
So, at the end of 2001, Vince and NBC had an poorly exposed league that was hemorraging money like a bank safe that had just lost in an XFL coin toss, that furthermore had a target demographic of imaginary people, presumably 80’s hairstyles that had developed consciousness.
The X in XFL does not stand for XTREMEMEME!!! as the eXtreme Arena Football League had beaten them to embarrassing themselves at the trademark office. It actually stands for nothing, a la "X-mas," "Xtina," or "eXcellent use of the Seinfeld money."