XFL Folds

The XFL, a football league founded by the World Wrestling Federation and jointly owned by NBC, folded today after one season that was a critical and TV ratings disappointment.

"We're discontinuing the XFL," WWF spokesman Judd Everhart said.

Despite many adjustments during the season, very little worked for the XFL between the much-hyped and well-rated season opener and the April 21 championship game, which was watched by about 75 percent fewer people.

The final game's national rating was a 2.1, tying for 93rd place among prime-time shows that week and lower than anything else on the four major networks. Each rating point represents a little more than 1 million TV homes.

"Launching a new football league in such a short time period was a daunting and exciting challenge, but we gave it our best shot," said NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, who had hoped to provide his network with football after it lost its NFL contract after the 1997 season.

Sport or Spectacle?

The XFL didn't seem to be able to decide whether it wanted to be more about sport or spectacle.

Early games had lascivious cheerleader shots, anti-NFL bluster from WWF types, sophomoric double entendres and screaming announcers, who sounded more like shills than analysts.

By the end, most of that nonsense was gone. Although the quality of the football might have improved during the season, it was telling that the league's MVP, Tommy Maddox, threw more than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns during a brief NFL career.

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