Rebooted XFL might be a direct response to NFL anthem protests

Shutdown Corner
There’s hot new speculation on the XFL, and why Vince McMahon might be bringing it back. (Getty)
There’s hot new speculation on the XFL, and why Vince McMahon might be bringing it back. (Getty)

There’s been a lot of speculation in the wake of the rumor that Vince McMahon might be rebooting the XFL. And how can anyone resist? The XFL was a massive, flaming failure, and reminiscing about it is still hilarious. But the speculation exists because we haven’t gotten any solid details about it, what it might be called, or anything else.

So how about a little bit more speculation? David Bixenspan over at Deadspin and Chris Harrington of did some research into possible trademark renewals related to the XFL, and found some interesting details.

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First, this new football league wouldn’t be called the XFL, mostly because it can’t be. Per the statement that the WWE released about the rumors, McMahon is pursuing this venture separately from the WWE.

That means that he can’t use “XFL” or any of its trademarks, because they’re all owned by the WWE.

But what has McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment been up to? A lot, it turns out. Especially since it’s a young venture.

Vince McMahon (“VKM”) isn’t mentioned anywhere on the document, but the three-month-old company has the same name as McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment. And the company has filed for a few very curious trademarks.

Alpha Entertainment registered trademarks for “URFL” and “UrFL” in September, using the same attorney who has done work for the WWE in the past. And just a few days before those trademarks were filed, a company called VKM Ventures filed for several more oddly related trademarks.

VKM are Vince McMahon’s initials, and VKM Ventures is represented by the same lawyer who registered the Alpha Entertainment trademarks. And when Bixenspan did a little research into Alpha Entertainment, he discovered that Alpha and VKM Ventures are actually the same company, but had undergone a name change in mid-September.

Vince McMahon is definitely planning something. We’ve got trademarks for “URFL,” “UrFL,” “UFL,” “United Football League,” and “for the love of football.” The guy has to be planning a new football league, he’s just probably not ready to announce it yet.

All that is very interesting, but it brings up a few burning questions: why this? Why now? Why at all? The point of the XFL was that it was football unleashed — fewer rules, fewer penalties and bigger hits. With the research into the effects of concussions and traumatic brain injuries continuing to draw horrific conclusions, right now doesn’t seem like the right time for a league that throws safety to the wind. So what’s the point? What could this new football league provide that the NFL doesn’t?

Bixenspan has a theory. The trademarks were all filed in mid-September, when the NFL was in full swing and the player anthem protests were in the news constantly. With the “United Football League” and “for the love of football” trademarks, there definitely seems to be a message, and that message is not about exercising your constitutional right to protest.

Beyond that, a writer at the far-right website Breitbart mused that this new league could easily be made into a “Make America Great Again” league that caters to Trump supporters. The writer told Bixenspan that he was just editorializing and not stating facts, but Trump himself gave a speech in September in which he railed against the NFL and its players. And Vince McMahon has a long relationship with Trump which even made it into the ring at one point.

It’s all speculation. While the trademarks point toward Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment, we have no idea what this new league will be called and how it’ll market itself. But we probably won’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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