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You’re probably expecting me to start making fun of the XFL right now, aren’t you? It’d be for good reason: Most people remember the XFL, 2001’s alt-football league/Vince McMahon fever dream, as a one-season experiment in pigskinned chaos that never fulfilled its promise to dethrone the NFL.
The gist of the XTREME (sorry) league was that it tried to steal NFL fans by promoting looser rules. Read: More truck-sticking, which we now know is slightly problematic. Plus, the players could wear anything they wanted on the back of their jerseys: There was E-rupt, Baby Boy, Chuckwagon (who could forget Chuckwagon?), Dirty Durden, and He Hate Me, who, in my humble opinion, belongs in Canton between Lombardi and Montana.
Anyway, the XFL is back! And it’s still fighting the good fight against big brother NFL. This time, it’s promoting a faster, higher-scoring version of the game (study up here if you truly care that much about the deets). There are eight teams, all of which will play the first games of XFL Pt. II’s 10-game regular season this weekend.
And that’s why we’re here today. Let’s face it, most of us didn’t get to pick who we root for, and it’s the way of the world and the luck of the draw that most of us are not born into championship-franchise fandoms. Maybe you grew up with the pre-Drew Brees, existentially woeful New Orleans Ain’ts. Or maybe your father raised you a Mets fan (which, I can attest, sentences you to a lifelong Job-like test of faith and loyalty). Or maybe you just happen to be from Cleveland. If so, in your sports-fan life, you become the underdog guy. You cherish the near miss and live for the elusive upset. You nurture heartache and disappointment as if they were desirable emotional states. You learn to hate the Yankees. If this is you, now is your chance to change all that.
But we know you’re not about to sift through every rando-heavy, 46-man-deep XFL roster. And neither are we, really. Still, our editors did bare minimum—i.e. the legwork of a five-minute Google speedrun—for you, and made extremely first-impressioned arguments for why each team deserves your support. And if you’re not sold on a team at the end of this, the Canadian Football League fires back up in a month.