The XFL.

There are many emotions that come to mind when those three letters are mentioned to sports fans.

Many fans loved the league as it gave them a team to root for in cities that did not have NFL franchises at the time, such as Las Vegas. Many fans loved the league because it gave them a chance to watch football in the Spring.

Vince McMahon
Getty Images

Meanwhile, many fans disliked the league because of the influence of WWE's Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon, who disparaged the NFL while pushing a league that many say objectified women and routinely pushed the line of morality. And many fans disliked the league because of the subpar football that some games offered up.

Over the weekend, I watched the documentary "This Was The XFL." It was a film showing how the league came to be in 2001, how it was carried out, and ultimately how it failed. It was directed by Charlie Ebersol, whose dad Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports partnered with McMahon to form and promote the league. The documentary did a fascinating job of showing the positives and negatives about the league and how McMahon and Ebersol's close friendship played a part in everything.

The league was relaunched by McMahon in 2020 but was shut down again, this time due to COVID-19.

Now, the XFL is back and is being headed up by professional wrestler/actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Facebook screenshot
Facebook screenshot

And, unlike when the league was first launched in 2001, the XFL is working with the NFL, helping to "grow the game of football," as "The Rock" has put it.

As you can see, "The Rock" has a great relationship with the NFL, appearing in the last two of the last three Super Bowls during pregame build up segments.

When the XFL begins play in 2023, there will be a couple of familiar faces to Saints fans who will man the sidelines and head up two XFL franchises - JIm Haslett and Wade Phillips.

Haslett and Phillips will lead the Seattle and Houston franchises, respectively.

(Photo by Gail Oskin/NFLPhotoLibrary/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gail Oskin/NFLPhotoLibrary/Getty Images)

While many remember how his time in New Orleans ended in disappointment in 2005, Haslett led the Saints to their first-ever playoff victory over the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in thrilling fashion.

Haslett has had a long NFL career as a player and as a coach since 1979. His time as Saints Head Coach lasted 5 seasons after he served a short stint as New Orleans' Defensive Coordinator in 1996.

Meanwhile, Wade Phillips' time as the leader of the Black & Gold only lasted 4 games when he served as the interim coach in 1985 after serving as the team's Defensive Coordinator since 1981. Phillips (pictured left below) is known as a mastermind defensively and for being the head coach of six different NFL franchises - New Orleans, Denver, Buffalo, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston.

Of course, when you talk about Wade Phillips' time with the Saints you must talk about his dad Bum Phillips. Bum coached the Saints from 1981 till he resigned in 1985 and Wade took over for the final four games of that season.

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