He Hate Good Brand Design
August 22, 2019 7:15 AM   Subscribe

With the relaunch of the XFL in February 2020 drawing closer, the nascent league has announced their initial eight team lineup. Needless to say, the release has resulted in panning of the new team logos, along with comparisons to the original XFL roster.

Beyond the logos, people are questioning the decision to place almost every team in markets served by the NFL (the only outlier being St. Louis, which had been an NFL town until the team was moved to LA.) There's also the blurbs introducing each team, which are very much in line with McMahon's other ventures.

The nuXFL previously on the Blue.
posted by NoxAeternum (80 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great idea, let's reboot this thing that only lasted one season the last time we tried it, maybe we'll get two seasons this time around.
posted by e1c at 7:21 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


He hate me.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I can only assume that someone makes money off these things failing.

Anyway those logos look look like Overwatch League teams.
posted by selfnoise at 7:28 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


Seems to be a pretty bog-standard, uninspired corporate branding exercise. I think the only thing that will make a difference between failure and success is whether they deliver on their promise of making games faster and more fun to watch.

If they can pull that off, nobody's going to gripe too much about the uninspired milquetoast "badassery" of the branding.
posted by tclark at 7:32 AM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


But they're only on number 2!

"...So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. "
posted by aleph at 7:33 AM on August 22, 2019 [10 favorites]


Providence Steam Roller or GTFO.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:35 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


That logo for the Tampa Bay VaginasVipers is really...umm...something.
posted by rocket88 at 7:40 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


The names are boring but they're better than some of the old XFL names: The Hitmen, The Enforcers, The Xtreme.
posted by octothorpe at 7:43 AM on August 22, 2019


I liked the Renegades when they were in Los Angeles and played League of Legends.

(No, seriously, look at the logos.)
posted by andreaazure at 7:44 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


The names are just really bad. Who was in the meeting where they decided on Battlehawks?
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:48 AM on August 22, 2019


I can only assume that someone makes money off these things failing.

Last year's attempt at a minor/alternative football league, the AAF, was very explicitly that -- the primary financial backer Thomas Dundon, a venture capital ghoul, bought a controlling share of the league in order to gain ownership of its proprietary technology and then pulled funds from the football operations, leaving it unable to pay salaries less than two months after its first game.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:49 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Why?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 7:50 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Look, I hate sports, and a special fiery chunklet of that hatered is reserved for American football.

But.

I love everything about the fucking BATTLEHAWKS. That's a name and logo fit to be slapped on the side of my animal-themed spacefighter that combines to form a larger robot.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 7:51 AM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Seconding that they look like Overwatch League teams.

Team with the initials SD: Shanghai Dragons and Seattle Dragons.
Who shouts shields up? LA Gladiators fans with a lion logo and NY Guardians that have a bad looking lion head logo too.
Green and yellow team with a V? Valiant and now the Vipers.
Want another Washington team with a shield logo? How about the Defenders.

This is absurd.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I liked the Renegades when they were in Los Angeles and played League of Legends.

Their logo designer is less than happy about this.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


American football is very much in need of "disruption", so I wouldn't mind an alternative product, but this probably isn't it. They say it will be safer, but knowing who's behind it, I'll believe that when I see it. Meanwhile, the "no kneeling, no criminals" approach reeks of MAGA-hatted ignorance and bigotry (but I repeat myself.) What market are they trying to speak to here? "I don't like Colin Kaepernick, but I'm concerned about CTE?" That's maybe six people?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2019 [21 favorites]


The names are just really bad. Who was in the meeting where they decided on Battlehawks?

We will meet in space and laserfight, Jon Evil.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


They say it will be safer, but knowing who's behind it, I'll believe that when I see it.

There is no way to make American football safer while leaving it recognizably American football.
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


How do they keep getting money for these leagues?
posted by octothorpe at 7:57 AM on August 22, 2019


Who was the ad agency behind this? This is comically, Onion-esque bad.
posted by geoff. at 8:00 AM on August 22, 2019


Vince McMahon, AKA the WWE/WWF (pro wrestling) guy. Which I think explains everything, all at once.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 AM on August 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


They should have named all of them like Battlehawks

Dallas Thunderbudgies
Houston Kicksparrows
LA Punchravens
New York Doompigeons
St. Louis Battlehawks
Seattle Tactical Peahens
Tampa Bay Crushgulls
OC Stompin' Puffins
Roll Fizzlebeef
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:01 AM on August 22, 2019 [54 favorites]


Their logo designer is less than happy about this.

Really? Because calling a team the Renegades and giving it a generic looking outlaw for a logo is, umm, not original to either of those organizations.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:02 AM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


These new logos remind me of high school football logos designed by a past student who just happened to own corel draw at the time the school needed a mascot. The older names and logos were goofier, but they were eye-catching. I'd definitely stop and decipher Maniaxx but would glaze over most of these new ones or standard NFL ones even.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:03 AM on August 22, 2019


From the blurbs: "this is prime time meets primal instinct."

This only makes me imagine a giant football themed orgy, which is certainly intriguing though will probably be hard to televise.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:09 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Y'all are paying too much attention to the logos and not enough to the blurbs. They are rippling with heat. They know fear because they feed off it. They have a swagger that can't be denied and they've already begun to prowl.

I want this person to write my performance reviews and project proposals from now on.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:11 AM on August 22, 2019 [10 favorites]


Seems like an odd time to start anther football league with the brain injury issue haunting the NFL.
posted by zzazazz at 8:13 AM on August 22, 2019


Really? Because calling a team the Renegades and giving it a generic looking outlaw for a logo is, umm, not original to either of those organizations.

There's a pretty damning reply to that logo designer in his Twitter thread.
posted by good in a vacuum at 8:15 AM on August 22, 2019 [16 favorites]


Y'all are paying too much attention to the logos and not enough to the blurbs. They are rippling with heat. They know fear because they feed off it.

This is Susan Sontag's definition of camp if she was alive and writing about NFL spinoffs.
posted by geoff. at 8:16 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


@JanelleCShane weighs in with much better names generated by a neural net.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:19 AM on August 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Seems like an odd time to start anther football league with the brain injury issue haunting the NFL.

Isn't part of the marketing and/or intent behind this because some folks are mad that aspects of the professional game have been sanitized to be safer?
posted by dismas at 8:19 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Every time I encounter the XFL, it reeks of peak 2000s, George Bush Jr as president, Hummer driving between McMansions hellscape. It's bland corporate smashemup please why won't you spend money on us like you used to desperation. Perhaps they'll have as successful a single season as the Arena Football League that splashed out and exploded in the span of a few months. At least some people grifted their way to some fat paychecks while players got career hopes dashed.
posted by msbutah at 8:21 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Roll Fizzlebeef

If there was an entire David Ryder themed sports league I'm not saying I'd be first in line for season tickets, necessarily, but it'd be close.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:22 AM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Wobbuffet, I would be a fan of the Warp Ravens. The line-up, as it is, reminds me of the sort of stuff that I'd make up as a bored junior high student instead of putting my notebook away for a minute and attempting to talk to a girl.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:23 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


This league is somehow even more fucked than the original XFL.

20 years ago, Vince McMahon had won the Monday Night Wars against Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, taken the WWF public, and established himself as essentially the sole proprietor of professional wrestling in the US. He had plenty of time and confidence to take on a venture outside of wrestling. And the result of that was him losing at least $35M on the XFL, and that was with the assistance of Dick Ebersol and NBC.

But now? It was announced this week that in response to Shahid Khan's All Elite Wrestling airing a show on Wednesdays on TNT, WWE will be promoting NXT (its developmental system, think AAA minor league) to a two-hour show on USA on Wednesdays. Also, later in the fall, Fox will begin airing Smackdown on Fridays, and of course, USA will still be airing Raw every Monday. That means that Vince McMahon -- a known control freak who literally rewrites his show's scripts and narrates plot points to the ringside commentators while they are airing live -- will own a company responsible for seven hours of live entertainment spread over three days every week.

And you're telling me that, in addition to that, Vince McMahon -- who is 74 years old this month -- will also be shepherding a brand-new professional football network. If this version of the XFL is in any way still alive in 2022, it will be because Oliver Luck bought the IP from McMahon for about $5M.
posted by Etrigan at 8:25 AM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


The ultimate power move would be if he had to sell it to Shadid Khan.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:27 AM on August 22, 2019


It was pointed out on Reddit that the Battlehawks logo looks a little like the Israeli Air Force logo.
posted by gc at 8:35 AM on August 22, 2019


It's pretty obvious that they are hoping to cash in on MAGA cultists angry about NFL players taking a knee.

And maybe they could make it if Trump voiced his support. I mean, some MAGAHats started eating well done steaks specifically because that's how Trump likes them.

But i doubt they'll get that critical Trump endorsement, and the NFL is alrrady trying to appease that MAGAHats. I think they got excited during the brief flare of anti-NFL sentiment, and guessed wrong. They thought it would last long enough to make money and it didn't.
posted by sotonohito at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I picture the National Anthem for the inaugural game being sung by Kid Rock with musical accompaniment by Ted Nugent.
posted by rocket88 at 8:54 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Part of me wonders whether or not some of the thinking behind these alternative American football leagues is that they are hoping to have just enough success for some franchises to be brought into the NFL (which of course already happened once with the NFL-AFL merger). It's like tech startups hoping to have just enough success to be acquired by by Apple, Google or Microsoft.
posted by slkinsey at 8:55 AM on August 22, 2019


I think the new XFL won't be a failure this time. It will find an audience but still have to be subsidized by the WWE for years. The WNBA still needs to be propped up with NBA money after 20 years, so it's possible to run a sports league that way.

There are a couple of things on the XFL's side this time. The first is that the NFl broadcasters adopted some of the XFL's production style. Viewers are now accustomed to their football watching experience being loud and obnoxious.

The second is that the Arena Football League contracted from 19 teams to 6. So there is room in the market for an NFL alternative. Or the market is saying it can only support one football organization. I can never tell what the market is doing (its hands are invisible).
posted by riruro at 8:58 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


STL hates this, btw
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:59 AM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


@JanelleCShane weighs in with much better names generated by a neural net.

Oh, man, it hadn't occurred to me to feed it to talktotransformer. If you include the cities, it fixates on mixing up existing soccer teams, but if you leave them out you get expansion teams (city names from me) like:

Coosawatchie Molemen
Yeehaw Junction Shardkopeds
Palatka Lonely
Hahira Forsaken Stormcallers
Micanopy Jaguarcoats
Saxapahaw Starlays
Valdosta Fungus and Plants
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:05 AM on August 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


I have no faith in a Vince McMahon run XFL to do this, but I feel like some rules tweaks could make the game safer and "Xtreme" if they were willing to get interesting.

Incentivize long plays to get rid of the constant "just smash into them and hope for 3 yards" type stuff. Think of Fantasy Football type scoring where a play longer than X yards is just straight up worth a point on the scoreboard. Why not?

Maybe play with the idea of "downs" saying a "down" is any time you are tackled (as opposed to giving yourself up or going out of bounds). Shoot, make being tacked a 5 yard penalty on the ball carrier, so you might as well give yourself up 3 yards early. Make getting tackled come with a loss of down penalty.

Reduce the number of players on the field, reduce specifically the pass rush. Probably have to add a rule to limit QBs running the ball. Heck, go sandlot version and say "no qb sneaks" either have to hand off or pass.

In the defensive secondary, hitting the receiver while the ball is in the air comes with a hockey style penalty box penalty. Miss plays. Further incentivize interceptions somehow, so everyone becomes a ball hawk and quits looking for the big hit on a receiver. Could an interception be worth 2 points like a safety, a pick-six now a pick-eight or something?

I don't know. I am positive that another 10 minutes thought would punch holes or find room for improvement in these suggestions, but what I'm saying is there is likely room for a wildly divergent American Football league. But I'm afraid that a WWE themed NFL is not it.

(And please god let them have learned their lesson with the cheerleaders last time around)
posted by jermsplan at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


Etrigan, wresting marks have been waiting for this time precisely so that Vince will have less time to interfere with Raw and Smackdown, and will not have enough time to kill what makes NXT good. (And for people who don't watch wresting, NXT is treated as the farm team, but is often much better than the flagship shows speculatively because Vince is not as directly involved. See also: Velveteen Dream, the most extra man in wresting)

Vince frequently scraps whole shows at the last minute, creating chaos in storylines and carefully crafted production (Example: that time Vince thought everyone would be bummed about George H.W. Bush dying). Dean Ambrose/John Moxley talks a lot about Vince's process and how it can be frustrating for the performers on this podcast episode of 'Talk is Jericho'. Even if you have no interest in wrestling and know nothing about it, it's worth a listen to learn about how not to manage people.

There are two capable people who have been tapped to run Raw and Smackdown, and after months of garbage, Summerslam and following weeks brought good shows and quality storylines.

I really pray that XFL is moderately successful so that Vince McMahon spends all of his time on his new baby and lets WWE do its own thing.
posted by Alison at 9:13 AM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I initially misread the DC in the Defenders logo as QC, and I was like, "Cool, they gave the Quad Cities a team. I might watch this!"

And then I was like, "Wait, that seems implausible, I guess it says 'OC'?" And I was less interested, because I started thinking of oranges, The OC, and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and it didn't seem like an edgy move anymore.

By the time I realized it said DC, I had completely lost all interest in extreme football. Now I'm interested in this cool new underground extreme ballet league where (e.g.) a dude can just fly across the stage out of nowhere to ballet-kick another dude in the face. The players are better looking too and the heel turns are amazing.
posted by compartment at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Who was in the meeting where they decided on Battlehawks

It's my favourite by a long way, and I think the "Could this have been an 80s era Saturday morning cartoon with an associated toy line" filter should be applied to not only all sports teams, but perhaps all companies and all products in future.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


How do they keep getting money for these leagues?

Citizens footing the bill for stadiums and the tax exemptions given to sports leagues?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:24 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Is the XFL the same thing that introduced the country to the term “smashmouth football”? Also, I remember Jesse Ventura had something to do with it. But that all may have been a fever dream.
posted by misterpatrick at 9:27 AM on August 22, 2019


Is the XFL the same thing that introduced the country to the term “smashmouth football”?

Nah, that's been a descriptor for a long time.
posted by Etrigan at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2019


Who was in the meeting where they decided on Battlehawks

It's my favourite by a long way, and I think the "Could this have been an 80s era Saturday morning cartoon with an associated toy line" filter should be applied to not only all sports teams, but perhaps all companies and all products in future.


Can't stop thinking about this
posted by Query at 10:06 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Part of me wonders whether or not some of the thinking behind these alternative American football leagues is that they are hoping to have just enough success for some franchises to be brought into the NFL (which of course already happened once with the NFL-AFL merger). It's like tech startups hoping to have just enough success to be acquired by by Apple, Google or Microsoft.

That was the unstated goal of many investors in the USFL of the 1980s (including notably Donald Trump). While that league also flopped, it did result in the NFL expanding or relocating to a few of the USFL cities that had previously lacked NFL franchises (Jacksonville, Phoenix). I don't think many (any?) of the investors got a share of that action, though, despite their attempts (see also Donald Trump).

But today, with the current configuration of 32 teams, unless some teams fold or are moved I can't see much appetite for adding new teams. The owners don't want to dilute the profits and the schedule would also probably require playing more games, which the players don't want.
posted by AndrewInDC at 10:10 AM on August 22, 2019


STL hates this, btw.

The name is hysterical! I can point, laugh, and hate all at the same time.

Given that the XFL announcement came on the heels of a real football team coming to STL, I predict that any BattleHawks game will be outdrawn by the new MLS team. Hell, I predict that the existing STL FC team in Fenton will outdraw the BattleHawks.
posted by stannate at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


They all need cereal box tie-ins, with free logo robot toys, thus leading to the inevitable Saturday morning cartoon franchise. The only question is might the cartoon franchise outlast the XFL itself? Data, re transformers, he-man/she-ra and gi joe, suggests yes.
posted by bonehead at 10:32 AM on August 22, 2019


>>Part of me wonders whether or not some of the thinking behind these alternative American football leagues is that they are hoping to have just enough success for some franchises to be brought into the NFL

That's really not likely to happen, at all.

The AFL was successful and thus merged because at the time the NFL wasn't as all-encompassing as it is today. If you're an NFL fan, there is almost no offseason. Plus, most of the teams already play in NFL markets and will be stocked with players who most likely wouldn't make practice squads in the NFL.

NFL 24/7/365
September -> February - games
Feb - April - pre-draft and draft
April - June - OTAs, schedules released
July/Aug - training camp
Lather, rinse, repeat

The quality of football will be weak. Landry Jones was the first QB signed. This alone tells you all you need to know.

Some of their innovations will be adopted by the NFL in the near future, but they were already thinking about them to begin with - multiple-point conversion options, eliminating kickoffs, making punting more exciting/safer, etc.

BTW, Seattle, Barcelona wants their mascot back....
posted by splen at 11:00 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


BattleHawks, anyone?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2019


Re: why is the XFL even happening? I honestly think it may be equal parts "it's something Vince has always wanted to do" and "whatever else he has done, Vince has built a machine that is actually pretty well suited to broadcasting NFL games."

Vince has built a company which fills 2 arenas a week, at a new location every week, for a live television broadcast of athletic feats with live commentary, instant replays, "sideline interviews", etc. Every week, year round, including holidays. For decades straight. Their video packages are genuinely phenomenal. The ones they put together during a show to give you a highlight reel of the past 15 minutes, the ones they put together to show a highlight reel of the last 3 hours, and the ones they put together as promotional packages to show you the last 4 weeks that led to what you are about to see, all of incredible quality. They do constant branding, advertising, in-house music and music promotion. They do online streaming, live and archive.

I mean, if broadcasting live sports it's a natural brand extension, I don't know what is. So at that point, my best guess is that Vince was never able to, or never wanted to, outbid the major networks that currently own all the NFL broadcasting right. If I were Vince (lol, let me pretend I have the business chops to be a self made "billionaire") I would think that trying to get the rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football would have been a good first step. Maybe convince the NFL to give a Saturday Night game too. Who knows, some day you impress so much or make so much money you're bidding on Sunday Night football? Or some kind of new offering that competes with Sunday Ticket or whatever the "watch every out of market game" thing is these days.

And I think offering to use his traveling circus of broadcasting and promoting and producing is a better option than trying to put on the games themselves because THAT is where I think he's reaching into an area he doesn't have a lot of strength in. What he knows how to do (or knew how to do, depending on your feeling of the current product) is put on a scripted show with live action, guaranteed high spots, and endings planned to either send the fans home happy or rile the fans up so they tune in next week. He doesn't know anything about ensuring an exciting football game happens, because it's not scripted! He's going to have second tier performers, and bank on his production quality to turn it into a compelling product. And that didn't happen for him the first time around, and I'm not totally clear why he thinks it will happen this time around.
posted by jermsplan at 12:05 PM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


jermsplan: I have no faith in a Vince McMahon run XFL to do this, but I feel like some rules tweaks could make the game safer and "Xtreme" if they were willing to get interesting.

If I had a football league all to myself, this is what I would declare: Trick plays only. Double reverses? Feh. Quadruple reverses. Every punt a fake punt. Statues of Liberty like we're on Ellis Island. Flea flickers as far as the eye can see. Basically I want the Harlem Globetrotters of football.
posted by mhum at 12:09 PM on August 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


> @JanelleCShane weighs in with much better names generated by a neural net.

This made me realize there's probably some point where the escalating aggression in sportsball team names begin to converge with metal band names.
posted by ardgedee at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


What market are they trying to speak to here? "I don't like Colin Kaepernick, but I'm concerned about CTE?" That's maybe six people?

One of whom has a Twitter account that provides guaranteed promotion worth many million dollars a week (for the first season) and won't complain when McMahon pre-arranges game results.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2019


I anything the XFL should focus on younger players giving them the opportunity to play and get paid for 3 years before going to the NFL instead of getting nothing in college.
posted by PenDevil at 2:04 PM on August 22, 2019


All this money and energy would’ve been better spent bailing out the Alliance of American Football.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:11 PM on August 22, 2019




The XFL did succeed in influencing the NFL in some significant ways. The way NFL broadcasts are produced now owes a lot to what McMahon and his team did for the XFL. Most obviously, the NFL's "sky cam" -- a TV camera suspended on cables over the field such that it can zoom from sideline to sideline and endzone to endzone -- was pioneered in the XFL. The NFL was so conservative at the time, the XFL felt like a breath of fresh air. I mean, they let the players put whatever the hell they wanted on the back of their jerseys! They encouraged the players to be human beings with personalities!

THAT SAID, ugh, a lot of it sucked and I feel like this go around it's just going to be worse. The actual football part was not good. There was a lot of talent, but the teams and coaches didn't have enough time to play together. They were constantly fiddling with the rules, mostly rolling back ill-advised innovations, like the opening scrum, that proved too dangerous to do in a real game. The officiating was bad. The whole thing was just half-baked and needed more runway to become a worthwhile product.

I actually attended an XFL game at Pac Bell Park. I am not currently wearing my Las Vegas Outlaws workout shorts, but I assure you that they are lovingly folded in a place of honor in my dresser.
posted by chrchr at 2:36 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Wildcats team logo was drawn in a kind of... obsolete vernacular...
posted by killdevil at 4:13 PM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


I predict nothing but success for this new venture.

I am of course lying through my teeth.
posted by tommasz at 4:37 PM on August 22, 2019


>>He doesn't know anything about ensuring an exciting football game happens, because it's not scripted!

>Basically I want the Harlem Globetrotters of football.


Between these two comments, there's the solution for the XFL. Script it like wrestling. Allow the players to bend the rules like wrestlers and the Harlem Globetrotters do. The bad guys can do late hits or blatant interference or whatever while the refs gesticulate wildly but have no success in imposing order on the field. The announcers are "Mean Joe Green" straight men who are horrified at the events on field, with color commentary by an excitable ex-player or coach who's taking one side or the other.

And just when things are looking darkest. When the Dallas Renegades, led by their evil Russian coach who is determined to destroy America by crushing all teams before him, are on the verge of victory in the Platinum&Diamonds Bowl. Their opponent, the noble but largely feckless LA Wildcats, are all prostrate on the field. Rolling around in pain after the last play in which many of them were illegally hit with folding chairs.

But, what's that!?! That song... That's the BattleHawks music! The BattleHawks are wearing Wildcats jerseys and are rushing the field! They're going to take over the play and save the completely disabled Wildcats! But there's movement in the stands! Fans are rushing the field?!? No! They're not fans! Houston Roughneck players were hiding in the crowd! They've ambushed the BattleHawks! And there's the Roughnecks coach, the Sultan! Riding into the stadium on a camel! Waving his saber high in the air! Screaming "Death to America!!!"

I'd watch that kind of football.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:47 PM on August 22, 2019 [10 favorites]


Obviously, the Warp Ravens are going to field some strong psykers, I wonder how other teams are going to deal with that. Maybe the Kraken Guard can sub in a couple of dreadnaughts? I might finally learn how football is played. Can you field 4 terminators instead of the usual 11 players?
posted by mrgoat at 5:02 PM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Warp Ravens versus Kraken Guards is definitely my jam, especially with Honey Badger gawking every ball in the stadium.
posted by wintermind at 5:14 PM on August 22, 2019


It's pretty obvious that they are hoping to cash in on MAGA cultists angry about NFL players taking a knee.
Considering its provenance, maybe the XFL should have had "face" teams and "heel" teams, so you could have the Kneetaker team that everyone loves to hate. A team of vegans. A team of…I dunno, socialized-medicine advocates.

Of course, it would be hard to rally crowds in the home cities of the heel teams, so maybe not such a great idea after all.
posted by adamrice at 5:43 PM on August 22, 2019


How do they keep getting money for these leagues?
Citizens footing the bill for stadiums and the tax exemptions given to sports leagues?


The Houston team at least is playing at a college campus stadium. So taxpayers are indirectly getting money back (XFL is renting the space) not paying out. It’s still gross, and I’m not into their politics, but there you go.
posted by librarylis at 5:46 PM on August 22, 2019


I like where you're going, adamrice & teegeeack -- but why even have home teams? why not barnstorm the teams just like they do with WWE? Play to a trumpland narrative of cucks and alphas (or faces and heels if you prefer)?
posted by turbowombat at 5:52 PM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Of course, it would be hard to rally crowds in the home cities of the heel teams, so maybe not such a great idea after all.

I dunno, they could probably attract a crowd in Seattle.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:56 PM on August 22, 2019


Of course, it would be hard to rally crowds in the home cities of the heel teams, so maybe not such a great idea after all.

One man's face could be another man's heel - you get a certain white population of gentrifying Brooklyn to cheer the Bushwick Black Bloc and the Portland Guillotine Operators and jeer the Houston Helicopter Pilots and the Kansas City Cops.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:57 PM on August 22, 2019


Just in case people are unfamiliar with what the title references: Rod Smart aka He Hate Me. The original XFL allowed players to put nicknames on their jerseys. I don't know if any other major sport has done that on a regular basis since then.

When I see the Battlehawks logo, the only thing I can think about is Brock Lesnar's sword tattoo.

The Alliance of American Football lasted all of eight games. And that happened this year. If McMahon hasn't rethought anything since they folded the XFL is in big big trouble.
posted by LostInUbe at 11:55 PM on August 22, 2019


American football is very much in need of "disruption", so I wouldn't mind an alternative product, but this probably isn't it. They say it will be safer, but knowing who's behind it, I'll believe that when I see it. Meanwhile, the "no kneeling, no criminals" approach reeks of MAGA-hatted ignorance and bigotry (but I repeat myself.) What market are they trying to speak to here? "I don't like Colin Kaepernick, but I'm concerned about CTE?" That's maybe six people?

I know more about this than I want to because I follow wrestling news, and there is some oddness and irony involving the stuff mentioned above. After the XFL documentary, people came to McMahon offering him 50 million for the IP. In response, he decided that it must be valuable and that he should be the one to bring it back.

The other folks went and created the AAF. While they were getting their ducks in a row, Vince decided that he had to get the word out ahead of them, so he called a press conference to announce the XFL with very little planned, beyond the MAGA crap. They had little to no answers ready about anything else.

Shortly thereafter, they actually met with Colin Kaepernick and offered him a job, despite the fact that their one idea was a fuck you to him. Fortunately or unfortunately, this was a non-starter, due to the fact that they offered him some incredibly low and janky figure like 50k, while he is currently already making millions.

As a result, I expect that there will be a great deal of stupidity as this product rolls out.
posted by bootlegpop at 12:23 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Of course, it would be hard to rally crowds in the home cities of the heel teams, so maybe not such a great idea after all.

As long as you have teams in Philadelphia and anywhere in Canada, you’ll be able to sell tickets.
posted by Etrigan at 2:24 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


>>Considering its provenance, maybe the XFL should have had "face" teams and "heel" teams, so you could have the Kneetaker team that everyone loves to hate. A team of vegans. A team of…I dunno, socialized-medicine advocates.

"The Ghost of Mean Gene Okerlund here with linebacker Chet "PETA" Peterman of the New York A-O-C's before their gridiron war this Sunday with the Dallas WallBuilders. Chet, what are your thoughts about the WallBuilders and their QB "Marine" Todd Whiteguy?"

"Well you know Mean Gene we're going to march right into Dallas with our organic fiber uniforms and after we replace all their precious hot dogs and beer with tofu dogs and kombucha we're going to make sure your children are educated about the value and dignity of all genders and sexual orienta..."

* "Marine" Todd Whiteguy enters the studio and strikes him across the back with a steel chair *

* Studio crowd breaks into MAGA chant *

"This is an AMERICAN Steel Chair, baby! Coal will never die!!!!!"

"Mean Gene here reminding everyone to check the hotline for Rudy "The Greek" Giuliani's money line picks and thoughts on birthright citizenship. 1-900-MAGA-MAGA, 3.99 per minute, kids don't worry about getting your parents' permission!"
posted by splen at 4:40 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Alliance of American Football lasted all of eight games. And that happened this year.

To be fair, the AAF's major problem is that a vulture capitalist who only wanted their IP bought a controlling stake, then used it to get what he wanted and tossed the rest aside.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:52 AM on August 23, 2019


Every time I encounter the XFL, it reeks of peak 2000s, George Bush Jr as president, Hummer driving between McMansions hellscape. It's bland corporate smashemup please why won't you spend money on us like you used to desperation. Perhaps they'll have as successful a single season as the Arena Football League that splashed out and exploded in the span of a few months.

You mean the Alliance of American Football, right? From the link about Arena Football you posted:

The Arena Football League (AFL) is a professional indoor American football league in the United States. It was founded in 1987 by Jim Foster, making it the third longest-running professional football league in North America, after the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL).

That's the first sentence in that wikipedia article.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:53 PM on August 23, 2019


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