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The XFL was a professional American football league which played for one season in 2001, created as a joint venture between NBC and World Wrestling Entertainment under the company name "XFL, LLC." The teams were the following:

The concept of the league was first announced on February 3, 2000. The XFL's opening game took place on February 3, 2001 between the Las Vegas Outlaws and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. The game, a 19-0 victory for the Outlaws, was watched by an estimated 54 million viewers. On April 21, 2001, Los Angeles defeated San Francisco in the XFL Championship Game (the "Million Dollar Game"), 38-6. Following a withdrawal of NBC from XFL, LLC, and the termination of their agreement with the UPN to televise games, the league announced that it was ceasing operations on May 10, 2001.

The final standings were as follows:

Eastern Division
Orlando Rage82
Chicago Enforcers55
NY/NJ Hitmen46
Birmingham Thunderbolts28
  Western Division
Los Angeles Xtreme73
San Francisco Demons55
Memphis Maniax55
Las Vegas Outlaws46

The XFL was originally conceived to build on the success of the NFL and professional wrestling. It was hyped as "real" football without penalties for roughness and with fewer rules in general. The loud games featured players and coaches with microphones and cameras in the huddle and in the locker rooms. Stadiums featured trash-talking public address announcers and very scantily-clad cheerleaders. Instead of a pre-game coin toss, XFL officials put the ball on the ground and let a player from each team scramble for it to determine who received the kickoff option.

Although the XFL started the season with reasonable ratings, the viewership declined after just one week due to a number of factors including what was perceived as the poor quality of the play. The XFL folded after one season, due to astonishingly poor television ratings; one NBC broadcast receiving the lowest-ever market share for a major network prime time show. NBC originally signed a two-year broadcasting contract. WWE said that its after-tax losses on the experiment would be nearly $35 million, similar to NBC's.

It was observed that the XFL seemed to be trying to attract two different audiences to their games: wrestling fans and football fans. Ultimately, it could not sustain significant numbers of either group. Wrestling fans wanted more drama, trash-talking, and cheerleaders, while football fans wanted more exciting gameplay. The XFL later tried to attract more football fans, but the largely second-rate players couldn't deliver better football. The sport was panned by critics as boring football with a tawdry broadcast style.

One of the announcers for the XFL was Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, whose involvement was controversial in that some felt that his being an announcer took time away from his job of running his state.

Notable players include league MVP and Los Angeles quarterback Tommy Maddox, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the XFL folded. Maddox later became the starting quarterback for the Steelers, and led them to the playoffs. Another of the better-known players was Las Vegas running back Rod Smart whose name on the back of his jersey read "He Hate Me". Smart later went on to play for the Carolina Panthers.

It should be noted that the "X" in XFL did not stand for "extreme," as in "extreme football league." When the league was first organized, promoters wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the "X" did not actually stand for anything.

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