Dwayne Johnson, the superstar actor and former defensive lineman, flew to New York Tuesday to meet about one of his side projects — the XFL.
And football fans, especially ones who don’t mind watching their favorite sport in the springtime, should be thrilled as The Rock works to revive the league.
Via Instagram, Dwayne Johnson shared a photo of himself on a private jet. He captioned it:
“Making a special trip this morning and flying into NYC for a very big and exciting XFL ownership & organization meeting. The positive mana & energy will flow. League of culture, passion, innovation and excitement.'”
Dwayne Johnson Bought Bankrupt XFL In Summer, 2020
The fledgling XFL represented an early victim of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. The league started the weekend after the Super Bowl, which was about a month before the virus shut down the sports world. Although other leagues eventually came back, the XFL went out of business.
It was a shame, too. Vince McMahon, who made his billions from the WWE, owned the XFL and put some heft behind the eight-team league. Former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck was league commissioner. And the networks liked the football content for spring.
On XFL opening weekend, ABC and Fox split the four games and drew an average of 3.12 million viewers. The league added some different features. Fans could hear the discussions and play calls. And there was a quicker pace to the game.
Johnson Liked Idea of Second-Chance League, But Couldn’t Swing Deal with CFL
But after a pause in the action, McMahon laid off almost every employee and put the XFL into bankruptcy. After the XFL went bust, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia bought the league for a $15 million deal with RedBird Capital. Garcia is Johnson’s ex-wife and business manager. Johnson announced the deal on Oct. 1, 2020.
“As owners, we’re proud to champion our XFL players, coaches, cities and fans into an electrifying 2022 season!” Dwayne Johnson posted on Twitter. “It’s an uphill battle — but we’re hungry, humble and no one will outwork us. A league of culture, passion & purpose.”
Johnson was especially interested in the idea of the XFL as a second-chance league. He played defensive line for the Miami Hurricanes, then got a chance at pro ball with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Johnson’s pro career lasted a season, but he said the “CFL changed my life.” He then switched to pro wrestling in 1996 and eventually evolved into Dwayne Johnson, action hero, movie star.
Johnson wanted the XFL and CFL to form a partnership. But the CFL decided to carry on in 2021 without a formal agreement with the XFL. The XFL website said action starts in 2023, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Johnson is carrying on with his movie career. He recently signed on for the sequel to Jungle Cruise. And, he shared a clip of his new Netflix movie Red Notice.