Updated 11:53 a.m. Aug 3
Maybe the Roughnecks will get to layeth the smackdown on some roody-poo opponents once again.
According to multiple reports, actor Dwayne Johnson (aka WWE legend The Rock) and investors, including ex-wife Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners, have agreed to purchase the XFL for about $15 million.
The eight-team league declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy on April 13 after being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After just five weeks of play before the shutdown, the league's top team was the undefeated Houston Roughnecks at 5-0.
Published Apr 10
Well, we'll always have 5-0.
The XFL has suspended operations entirely, laying off all of its employees, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to multiple reports.
According to Tom Pelissero, a reporter with the NFL Network and NFL.com, XFL officials held a conference call Friday in which employees were informed of the decision. Per one employee, tweets Pelissero, the league said it was "shut down."
The XFL was formed in 2018 by Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, as a spring football league to in some ways complement the National Football League. It was McMahon's second attempt to bring spring football to America: In 2001, his original XFL, with a much racier and aggressive style of play and presentation, failed after one season.
The new XFL had actually caught on with many football fans, featuring new and tweaked rules that registered well with viewers. It started play in February but suspended its season March 12, once COVID-19 began spreading in America.
Of local interest, it was pretty clear that the best team in the XFL was the Houston Roughnecks, coached by former Oilers quarterbacks coach June Jones. The Roughnecks had gone 5-0 before play suspended, with quarterback P.J. Walker proving to be the league's breakout talent. Walker recently signed a two-year contract with the NFL's Carolina Panthers.
While the odds were low that the XFL would complete a full season once the pandemic shut down all sports leagues temporarily, this latest news sounds a lot like a death knell for the nascent league. Hopefully the laid off workers can rebound quickly from this news. As for Houston: There's always next time.