To figure that out, it’s important to look back at why the original XFL failed.MORE XFL 2020: Rules | Rosters | TV scheduleWhat was the original XFL? McMahon and NBC executive Dick Ebersol co-founded the XFL in 2001, and it was a single-entity league instead of having owners for the eight original franchises. The “X” in XFL had no meaning for legal reasons. McMahon promised “smash-mouth football,” and the hype leading up to the launch of the league was at a pro-wrestling like level. Take this promo for example. Imagine watching this in the social media era: Fans were expecting full-blown chaos on a football team when the debut came on Feb. 3, 2001 in Las Vegas — which was less than a week after the Super Bowl. Everybody remembers McMahon’s speech before the first gam — which drew a 9.5 Nielsen rating. What did the XFL do right? The original XFL used some innovations still used by the NFL today — including the SkyCam and on-field microphones for players and coaches. The XFL also had camera men on the field during the game. The XFL used a 35-second play clock, too, and the new league also has rules in place that will speed up the pace of play. The league spiced up special teams and overtime, and those are elements of the NFL that are seemingly discussed every offseason. The XFL will re-launch on Feb. 8 in a second attempt to create a professional football league. WWE chairman Vince McMahon was behind the first XFL in 2001, and he’s trying again. It will be interesting to see what the league learns from the failures of that first attempt along with the Alliance of American Football, which launched last season. What did the XFL do wrong? The XFL looked too much like McMahon’s wrestling product than football that fans could appreciate long term. That worked on some occasions, like substituting the opening coin toss with a scramble for the football. But the product relied on salacious sideline interviews and gimmicks that do not work in football. Plus, the football was not great. That is the same problem the AAF had. The players, mostly borderline NFL roster players, did not lack effort. But the lack of star power caught up with the league. When the XFL game forced “Saturday Night Live” to push back its start time 45 minutes in the third week of the season, it reinforced the need for a better time slot for viewers on a major network. The league, much like the AAF, failed to capitalize on the high ratings of the first week. What is the XFL’s legacy? The XFL could be summed up in three words. “He Hate Me.” Rod Smart, who played for the Las Vegas Outlaws, wore “He Hate Me” on the back of his jersey, and the league allowed leeway for its players and commentators to become bigger personalities. Tommy Maddox finished with 2,186 yards, 18 TDs and nine INTs and was one of the success stories in the league. Ultimately, McMahon did not have a product that came close to the NFL, and Bob Costas exposed that during a one-on-one HBO interview. By then, the one-year experiment was almost over. Will XFL 2.0 be set up to fail in the same way? Can the league keep viewer interest without NFL star power? The USFL was able to do that in the 1980s by getting star players such as Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, Reggie White and Steve Young to play in the league. That is the biggest long-term hurdle. In the short term, the XFL will generate interest to fill the football void. The league runs through April 26, and it has a better TV plan with games on ABC, FOX, ESPN and FS1. This version appears more football oriented, and there are some interesting rule changes that will be analyzed over the first few weeks. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/eb/40/xfl-020620-getty-ftrjpg_4fwcgi97agcb1epopcezb3u93.jpg?t=452962928&w=500&quality=80 McMahon will have his fingerprints on the league, but it’s important to note that Oliver Luck, who served on the College Football Playoff committee, is the commissioner. If the football is better than average, which the AAF was not, then the league might have a chance to last more than one season.