The second coming of the XFL planned to be a professional football league that outlasted its previous one-and-done iteration. If not for the coronavirus, the league believed it was a near certainty -- an expectation that ultimately didn’t come into fruition.
The XFL suspended league operations and laid off its employees on Friday morning, a source confirmed to The Dallas Morning News. The decision comes nearly a month after the league ended its first season due to coronavirus. The league lasted five games. The Dallas Renegades finished 2-3.
ESPN’s Field Yates reported that XFL Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Pollack delivered the news to league employees via zoom. ESPN also reported that there are no plans for the league to return in 2021. The News reached out to the league for a statement but didn’t hear back at the time of publication.
When the league announced it was ending its first season on March 12, it also added an optimistic outlook for the future.
"The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years,” the league said in a statement.
That sentiment was shared by the Dallas Renegades, as well. Head coach Bob Stoops, a legendary coach at Oklahoma, had team meetings with his players and coaches on March 13, the day after the league was put on hold. He said it didn’t feel like a goodbye.
“This is just temporary,” Stoops said. “Like the end of any season, it’s see you next year and do the same thing.”
Stoops also said he intended to be back coaching in 2021. The league planned it that way, too, assuring players that their contracts would be paid through May 31 -- the end of the first league season. The News reached out to the league regarding pay to see if that still plans to happen.
“It gives them confidence we’ll move forward and we’ll be doing this again next year,” Stoops said regarding players having their first season’s contracts paid out, “and I think it’s been a positive start.”
Other league employees were told their positions were terminated immediately. They would be paid until April 12 plus any unused vacation or PTO time, according to a source.
Before Friday there was still optimism throughout the league that there would be a second XFL season. A billboard promoting ticket sales feature Dallas quarterback Landry Jones still stood on Interstate-30 west between Dallas and Globe Life Park. The Renegades had a multi-year deal with the stadium, which underwent an approximately $10 million renovation between the end of the Texas Rangers season and the Renegades opener to become a multi-purpose venue for the future.
On Thursday, a letter from the league went out to season ticket holders, telling them they would be refunded for their 2021 payments but would have their ticket status reserved for when the league eventually returned, a source said. Playing in the future was still the plan. A day later, that’s no longer the case.