(Mike Furrey photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)
Talk of Fame Network
The XFL was a made-for-TV league in 2001, founded by Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation and funded in a joint venture by the WWF and NBC.
But the eight-team league had dismal television ratings and folded after one season. The XFL didn’t last long but it was fun:
*The pre-game coin toss was replaced by a two-player scrum for the football.
*There was no extra-point kicking option; teams had to run or pass for that single point.
*The AFL bump-and-run rule was revived, allowing defensive backs to chuck receivers up and down the field.
*There were no fair catches on punts.
*There was a 35-second play clock (as opposed to the 40-second NFL play clock).
*There were microphones and cameras in the lockerrooms and huddles.
*Players could identify themselves in any way they so choose on the back of their jerseys. One player put “He Hate Me” on his jersey — and we’ll talk about him down below.
The XFL did enable players to extend their careers and some used that spring league as a springboard to the NFL.
The Los Angeles Xtreme won the only WFL title and its quarterback, Tommy Maddox, was selected the league MVP.
Maddox signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers that fall as a backup to Kordell Stewart. He stepped in for an injured Stewart in 2002 and quarterbacked the Steelers to an AFC North title, capturing NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Mike Furrey played wide receiver for the Las Vegas Outlaws. He went on to lead the NFC in receptions with the Detroit Lions in 2006 with 98.
Paris Lenon played linebacker for the Memphis Maniax. He went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL, starting 128 games for five different teams. He lasted longer in the NFL than any other XFL alum, retiring after the 2013 season.
Bobby Singh played guard for the Los Angeles Xtreme. He went on to play seven seasons in the Canadian Football League, winning the league’s outstanding offensive lineman award in 2003 and a Grey Cup with the British Columbia Lions in 2006. Singh also was a member of the 1999 St. Louis Rams — making him a rare champion in three different leagues.
Rod Smart was the first star in the XFL simply by identifying himself on the back of his Las Vegas jersey with the words, “He Hate Me.” Smart finished second in the XFL in rushing and went on to play five NFL seasons, primarily as a special-teamer and kick returner. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown 100 yards in 2003.
So who was the best player to come out of the XFL – Furrey, Lenon, Maddox, Singh or Smart? Vote now: