The XFL is a heavily scrutinized and often misrepresented new football league, the brainchild
entrepeneur Vince McMahon
. Upset with the apparent sterility of the NFL, McMahon announced the new league in February of 2000, promising an all-access pass
to football -- cameras in the huddle, cameras in the locker rooms, cameras in the helmets, and microphones on everyone... with a seven second delay
to mute any possible f-bombs
. Players and coaches are interviewed about their successes and screw-ups between plays, fans voice off about what's happening, and rather than spending halftime in the booth, the locker rooms are invaded.
Partnered with NBC, the XFL season consists of ten weeks of football, with games played on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night, with a championship game at the end, aptly entitled "The Big Game At The End". Players receive a base salary for each game, with a bonus for each player if they win, and $1,000,000 for the championship team to split amongst themselves. The 'X' in XFL doesn't stand for Xtreme, or Xceptional, or anything for that matter. "The letters XFL are not an abbreviation."
The XFL has strayed from standard NFL rules, incorporating some CFL and college rules in an effort to make the game more exciting. Although bump-and-run coverage exists, there IS pass interference, and the college one-foot-inbound rule for receivers exists to combat this defensive advantage. There are no fair catches, but the kicking team can't leave the line of scrimmage before the ball is kicked, and must give the receiver a five-yard halo to catch the ball. You're more likely to see a kick returner beheaded in the NFL. There's also no coin toss before the game - two players scrum for a loose ball to determine who gets the opening kickoff.
A lot of people don't think the XFL can succeed, given the track record of previous leagues, like the USFL and the World League. The XFL has several things going for it, though. First, the league is a single entity -- teams aren't controlled by individual owners -- so bidding wars for players won't happen (in fact, salaries are fixed). Second, the league doesn't compete with the NFL for players, like the USFL did, so they don't have to fight an established league. And third, the league has a television contract, and a good one at that. While it doesn't ensure success, it starts the XFL out on good footing.
Announcers for the league include Matt Vasgersian, Jerry "The King" Lawler", Good Ol' J.R., Brian Bosworth, and former wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura.