* Despite the failure of the league, it did give a number of players a chance to resume their careers in the NFL. Ironically, it gave increased exposure to the AFL after initially being viewed as threatening to take the league’s best players away. After another year with no professional football on NBC, in 2003 the network convinced the AFL to move its schedule to coincide with the end of the NFL season (just as the XFL’s did) and began broadcasting weekly Sunday afternoon games, with a much smaller investment of money and publicity than the XFL received. In 2005, NBC won the rights to Sunday night NFL games beginning in the 2006 season.
* During its only season, the XFL had higher TV ratings in the US market than the NHL.
* As the season drew to a close, most of the tawdry elements and gimmicky camera angles of the XFL’s broadcasts had been toned down significantly, and the league’s fans were optimistic for a second season.
* Fans in non-NFL cities that hosted XFL franchises (Birmingham, Memphis, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Los Angeles) hold out hope that their cities can host a new or re-located NFL franchise just as Jacksonville did when the city enthuastically accepted the Bulls of the USFL. That city, like several XFL cities, had previously been considered too small of a market to host professional football. 10 years later, the Jacksonville Jaguars started play in the NFL. Meanwhile, Memphis got an NBA team and Orlando already had one, and an AFL team,which could put any attempt to get a NFL team in those small markets in jeopardy, and Los Angeles continues to be a city without an NFL team. Las Vegas and Birmingham, which are also pursuing a pro team from one of the other pro leagues, will have to wait and hope that one lands in their city.
* The XFL ranked #3 on TV Guide’s list of the worst TV shows of all time in July 2002.
* On ESPN25, the XFL was #2 in biggest flops in the last 25 years of ESPN’s existence. #1 was Ryan Leaf, QB, of the San Diego Chargers. During the same program, veteran sportscaster Greg Gumbel went on record in saying that he felt that the XFL was one of the worst ideas that he’s ever heard for sports.
* The XFL featured a pregame show in some league cities called XFL Gameday hosted by shock radio jocks Opie & Anthony. During an interview with McMahon, Bob Costas called the pregame show an “abomination”, which Opie & Anthony later mocked on their nationally syndicated radio show. When Costas’ interview with McMahon turned ugly, Opie & Anthony played clips of McMahon verbally blasting Costas.
* Years before the controversial locker room shower scene between Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan on Monday Night Football on ABC in 2004, the XFL launched a series of cheerleaders commercials on NBC with adult models like Pennelope Jimenez, Karen McDougal and Angel Veil in 2000. The most famous one featured them as some of the cheerleaders taking a shower in the locker room. Using clever camera angles and strategically placed objects, the commercial gave viewers the titillating illusion that the cheerleaders were nude in the shower with little left to the imagination. The edgier XFL commercials backfired and caused controversy. Deemed too risquÃ© by family values groups, the commercials were quickly withdrawn before the launch of 2001 XFL inaugural (and final) season.
* A commercial that aired for the Survivor Series 2003 (a WWE PPV event) poked fun at the XFL. It began with football players walking onto a field getting pumped up for a big game. They found their “opponents” were real-life WWE wrestlers. The next few seconds consisted of the wrestlers fighting the football players with wrestling moves (such as anklelocks and dropkicks). Vince McMahon watched the whole thing from his limo with binoculars saying to himself thoughtfully “The WWE and football? Nah.” He then rolled up his window to conclude the commercial.
* Vince McMahon’s original plan was to purchase the CFL, which had been on the verge of going under. However, CFL officials decided against selling the league for fear that McMahon would ruin the Canadian game. The CFL has since enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, expanding back to Ottawa (with the Renegades in 2002) and considering the addition of a tenth team with Quebec City and Halifax as frontrunners.
* The Simpsons referenced the XFL folding in one episode. In the gag, Homer was seated on the couch wearing XFL merchandise, holding a miniature XFL flag, saying “I can’t wait for the new season of the XFL. Who will win this year’s Million Dollar game?” prompting Marge to tell him that the league had folded. When asked how she knew, she said it was because the janitor at her hair salon told her, seeing that he was the MVP of the last season.
* On November 30, 2005, CBS aired “Jamalot”, an episode of the dramatic TV series CSI: NY, In the episode, the death of a roller derby jammer is investigated. Her name was “She Hate Me.”
* In the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The 6th Day, the XFL appears to be the leading pro football league of the future.
* In the 2005 Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard, many of the players on the Mean Machine wore nicknames on the backs of their jerseys, as in the XFL.
* Despite public opinion the X in the XFL did not stand for Xtreme (or eXtreme), it stood for X. Therefore, the league’s name was the X Football League.