XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck spoke with ESPN 710 AM in Seattle earlier this week to shed some light on plans for the league.
Luck ran NFL Europe in the 1990’s and he wasn’t impressed with the first version of the XFL because of the low quality of the play and the bravado associated with the league. “I watched a little bit of the XFL 2001 – I was not impressed, to be honest with you,” Luck said.
XFL owner Vince McMahon recognized that the relaunch in 2020 has to be totally different and that is what helped Luck decided on being involved as the Commissioner.
Luck wants to eliminate some of the misconceptions about the league. He said, “The XFL is not a developmental league for the National Football League. That’s certainly not our intent. We want to build a self-sustaining business and a self-sustaining franchise, but I think nonetheless the NFL personnel folks at the team level, and at the league level to a certain degree, would love to see another league be there so they can scout and see if players can be developed.”
We absolutely have our work cut out for us, no question about that, but I also think there were a handful of things that Vince did fairly well the first time around,” Luck added.
Luck pointed out that there were some good things that came out of the original incarnation of the XFL. “The whole Skycam concept came directly out of XFL. The idea of sideline reporters – remember how controversial that was back in 2001? … The idea of paying players a bonus, even if it’s a small bonus, for winning games. Fans like that because that resonated with their own lives. ‘I’m going to work a little bit harder if I know there’s some extra money on the line.’”
Luck said the league will eliminate all of the “bad” stuff when they relaunch in 2020.
In 2001, McMahon was combative against the NFL but that is not the case this time around. Luck said that he has given courtesy calls to the NFL team cities that will also host XFL teams.
You can read more about some of the proposed rule changes here.