As noted, Neo Sports Insiders’ Brad Shepard broke the news earlier this week that a possible return of Vince McMahon’s short-lived XFL is rumored, and the news went viral almost immediately.
Shepard subsequently had the opportunity to interview former XFL New York/New Jersey Hitmen announcer Peter Schwartz, and below are some interview highlights.
B: What was it like working as an announcer for the XFL?
P: “It was a lot of fun, to be honest with you. I was still an employee of WABC, but I was made to feel like I was a part of the XFL family, and specifically with the Hitmen. It was a great relationship right from the start. One of the great things about the XFL, even though it only lasted a year, were the friendships that I formed and still have today. Everybody that was hired for the Hitmen, for the broadcasts, people that I met in the league and other teams – everybody that was involved in it was very passionate about it. Every person that I ever came across was 100 miles per hour forward in trying to make that league as good as it could be, and I couldn’t have been more proud in being involved with it.”
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B: What was the general feeling after you found out the league folded, and how did you find out?
P: “I think the people involved were pretty devastated obviously, I know I was. After I’d stopped to get something to eat for dinner that day, I came home, popped on ESPN and the first thing I saw on the bottom line of my TV screen was that the XFL folded. The first phone call I made was to my broadcast partner, Joel Santisteban. I said, “Do you believe this?” We were both so stunned that we had trouble having a conversation because the fact that it was gone in such a short time was devastating. It was actually shocking, all indications were that it was coming back, whether NBC was involved in it or not.
A few days after the season ended, the Hitmen were already figuring out what to do in the offseason to promote the team. I’d placed a call to the principal of my high school to see if I could get a Hitmen player to come visit the kids and do an assembly, and not long after that the league folded. It was really sad.”
B: Do you think a relaunch of an American Football League like the XFL could be successful today?
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P: “I absolutely think it could. I think it’s important for professional football to have a second outdoor league that isn’t necessarily a rival to the NFL. It has to be done correctly. Vince had some good football people involved and working for him. They had good football coaches. Lots of guys with NFL experience. I think the one thing that hurt us is they rushed to start the season.”
Neo Sports Insiders