On Thursday, WWE owner Vince McMahon announced that the XFL—the former football league that folded after just one year in 2001—will be coming back in 2020. So far, the details are few and far between. We know that there will be eight teams in their (second) inaugural season which is scheduled for January or February 2020, we know the players will be required to have a completely clean criminal record, and we know the players will probably be forced to stand for the national anthem.
Other than that, McMahon didn’t provide many specific details via a press conference streamed on Periscope Thursday afternoon.
But the announcement certainly seemed to strike up some excitement across the football world. All day, people on Twitter were sharing what would be on the back of their XFL jersey and good names for potential XFL franchises.
And the excitement poured over into some NFL players. In fact, a few former Detroit Lions seemed excited about the prospect of playing again.
Take, for example, tight end Joseph Fauria, whose comeback attempt this season fell short:
I mean... if you throw it up, I’ll come down with it https://t.co/U0CBY1MjJL— Joseph Fauria (@BigJoeFauria) January 25, 2018
Or cornerback Keith Lewis, who spent a few months with the Lions in 2016:
Even Dan Orlovsky joked about coming out of retirement to join the XFL ranks:
I’m only coming back if we can talk about the depths of the end zone...— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 25, 2018
For many—if not all—of these players above, waiting two years for the XFL to open its doors again will likely be too long to continue their football careers, but it does bring up an interesting point about the kind of players the XFL may be able to draw. For college stars like Johnny Manziel, who quickly burned out in the NFL, the XFL could be a chance at a redemption story (although, if McMahon sticks to his “no prior criminal record” policy, Manziel would be ineligible to play in the league).
Of course, drumming up buzz was never an issue for the XFL the first time around. The key, as McMahon likely knows, will be continually putting out a good product that not only draws interest, but keeps it. Quality of players will be high on the league’s priority list, and if Thursday is any indication, there’s at least some interest from former NFL players.