We still know very little about the exact relationship between Vince McMahon’s XFL and Charlie Ebersol’s Alliance, but all the indications are that the XFL is still moving forward despite the latter’s splashy opening press conference this week. The XFL’s media relations team has continued to be in communication with the press, including XFL Watch, behind the scenes, and issued a “no comment” to ESPN’s Darren Rovell just today.
David Bixenspan, who has been thoroughly if cynically covering the story since the beginning, published an article on Deadspin that floats the theory that Charlie Ebersol has been working on the Alliance for nearly three years, and may have used the 30 for 30 documentary as a way to move those plans forward.
What exactly were Charlie Ebersol’s intentions in making the XFL documentary? Was it to examine one of his father’s most maligned creations, or was it to whet the public’s appetites for a “new XFL” and how a revival could be done right? Was what otherwise appeared to be a journalistic endeavor actually something more like a means to an end for the AAF, or was Ebersol’s closeness to the subject matter a convenient elision of his journalistic obligations?
I think that’s far fetched. The original citation for the three-year timeline came from a former WWE writer quoting a Washington Post story. The online version of the story currently doesn’t contain a reference to a three-year timeline, and at the opening press conference, Ebersol referenced a 14-month timeline, effectively saying he started on the league in earnest right after the 30 for 30 dropped. A much more plausible explanation is that the process of making the documentary inspired Ebersol to give it another shot. McMahon likely heard about Ebersol’s plans, which in turn inspired him to get back in the game as well, and pushed him to make premature announcement to get out ahead of Ebersol.