"XFL 2020: RIse and Fall" Book Cover
Book cover.

XFL 2020: Rise and Fall

So much time, effort and treasure were expended between 2018 and 2020 just to “reimagine football.” Most would say football was fine the way it was, and it would be silly to change it. However, when billionaire wrestling mogul Vince McMahon held the notion that he wanted to make football better, and pledged $500 million to make it happen, the gears started to turn.

This story is about the path of the new XFL and the many successes of the league, including the people, coaches, players, and fans, leading up to and including the league’s first season in 2020, and then the eventual and catastrophic shutdown of league operations, triggered by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sudden, tragic, and mind-numbing. Senseless in many ways, especially when you consider all people went through to put the league together, only to have their hard work tossed away. In addition, we cannot overlook the players, whose hopes and dreams of a pro football career were dashed due to a fate completely out of their control.

Despite its early departure, did the XFL succeed? Did the league’s innovations improve the game, and did XFL 2020 provide the seeds that will eventually lead to long-term spring football success?

Buy the Book

NOW! Available on Amazon:

XFL 2020: Rise and Fall


About the Book

Pages: 314, including Index.

Table of Contents:

Chap. 1: Introduction
Chap. 2: In the Beginning… there was Smashmouth Football
Chap. 3: Ready, Set, Relaunch
Chap. 4: A Stroke of Oliver Luck
Chap. 5: The Business of XFL Football
Chap. 6: The Alliance of American Football
Chap. 7: Staffing the XFL
Chap. 8: Building a Player Pool
Chap. 9: Identity Building
Chap. 10: Rules, Rules, Rules
Chap. 11: XFL Draft
Chap. 12: Getting Ready
Chap. 13: Let’s Play Football
Chap. 14: Coronavirus shutdown
Chap. 15: XFL Future
Chap. 15: Epilogue
Appendix A: 2020 XFL Draft Invitees
Appendix B: 2020 XFL Schedule
Appendix C: 2020 XFL Final Standings
Appendix D: 2020 XFL Player Awards
Appendix E: 2020 XFL Individual Stat Leaders
Appendix F: 2020 XFL Attendance.
Appendix G: 2020 XFL Television Viewership.
Photo Credits


McMahon was still convinced there was room for another football league.
Despite the fact the sports landscape was already crowded with the NFL,
college football, CFL, and arena leagues, there was still approximately seven
months where there was no football.

“I think if the demand is there, and as well I think the quality of the play.
This is going to be a different game, a fan-centric game. It will be faster; it
will just be a better football game than what everyone else is accustomed to

From Chapter 3 – Ready, Set, Relaunch

Since he wanted to take a more hands-off approach for this incarnation
of the XFL, to run his league, Vince McMahon realized he needed someone
with a wealth of knowledge and experience in sports management, and most
importantly a passion for the game of football.

Oliver Luck was at the pinnacle of his career. He was fit, capable, and completely the epitome of what people would see as a dynamic leader for any sports organization.

Oliver fit the mold of what Vince needed.

From Chapter 4 – A Stroke of Oliver Luck

As the head of Optimum Scouting, Eric Galko was respected among
football people. He was also the director of scouting for YourCallFootball
and The Dream Bowl. Oliver Luck and the XFL were counting on Galko’s
significant resume to give the league credibility in a place where it was
perceived to be lacking. In fact, when he joined the XFL, an astute Galko
began a social media campaign on behalf of the XFL, dispelling rumors
and building up the league as a place where football players could receive
significant, meaningful playing experience.

Galko began to sell the league to agents and potential players. This was
something Galko took to heart, as he knew there were players out there that
would benefit from additional playing experience, to develop their skills, or
to gain valuable film they could use to sell themselves.

From Chapter 8 – Building a Player Pool

Schwartzstein and Luck began the process by establishing what they
referred to as a “Reimagination Committee.”

On July 23, 2018, the first meeting of the committee was held in Charlotte,
NC. Schwartzstein and Luck brought together an eclectic group of former
players, coaches, and industry experts to talk about the game of football.
More specifically, the topic of the day was, “How might we produce a cleaner
game, with fewer complications?” Main considerations were to be simplified
rules, using technology, and preserving the health and safety of players.

From Chapter 10 – Rules, Rules, Rules

The first four phases of the draft were broadcasted live on a video stream.
In the final phase of the draft, where each team picked 30 players, the league
decided not to livestream the picks. With the selections being done behind
closed doors it was a frustrating period for players, as many had been
following the picks, waiting for their name to be called.

From Chapter 11 – XFL Draft

On January 19, 2020, three months after being assigned to the Los Angeles
Wildcats as their Tier 1 quarterback, Luis Perez was traded to the New York
Guardians for quarterback Charles “Chad” Kanoff.

It was considered to be the first blockbuster trade of the XFL.

After the Los Angeles Wildcats acquired veteran quarterback Josh Johnson,
it has become rumored that Perez was not in the running for the starting
quarterback job.

From Chapter 12 – Getting Ready

“It’s a clean slate. If all you know about the XFL is ‘He Hate Me’ forget about it, long gone, this is the brand spanking new XFL,” Steve Levy said.
“Right here today you’re going to see the passion of football players who
are going for a few things, go to the NFL, get back to the NFL, and if not
just playing football really for the love of football itself. This is win-win for

“It’s great. I mean football is America. America is football,” Greg McElroy
followed up. “It is synonymous with the fabric of our country, and we have
ten more weeks of it. It’s going to be incredible. I can’t believe we’re here,
we finally made it, but football is here to stay. Thank goodness for the next
several weeks.”

From Chapter 13 – Let’s Play Football

Coach June Jones knew this and advised Walker, “You just got to run out the clock. Go into shotgun… go into shotgun.”

When P.J. Walker took the fourth-down knee at the Houston 21-yard line it
was clear the clock read 0:02. However, Houston was celebrating the win and
the officials first looked confused, but just ended up walking off the field.

From Chapter 13 – Let’s Play Football

There was certain finality in the firing of Luck, as he was portrayed as the
XFL’s golden boy. From his good-natured leadership, to his ability to convey
clear positive messaging on behalf of the league, involving Oliver Luck in
the building of the XFL was one of the key decisions Vince McMahon had
made. Now, apparently it wasn’t.

From Chapter 14 – Coronavirus Shutdown

About the Author

Mark Nelson is a long-time football fan and follower of the XFL since its inception. Founder of the web site XFLBoard.com in early 2000, Mark has followed and wrote about the XFL, its players, and people, over its different inceptions, and through its varied success, trials and tribulations. Mark is a military veteran who currently works as a Library Systems Specialist at Red River College Polytechnic in Winnipeg, Canada.