Like a Maniac 

To celebrate the Flyer’s 25th year, we’ll be using this space each week to look back on stories from past issues.

The following, titled "Reserving Judgment II," ran in the February 22, 2001, issue as the second half of a two-part editorial.

"Questions about the XFL are as plentiful today as they were when the gaudy new football league, co-owned by NBC and the World Wrestling Federation, first announced it would make Memphis one of its eight charter members. After three weeks, the TV ratings have settled down to the low expectations that the league itself had before getting the first week's unexpectedly good viewer totals.

click to enlarge Memphis Maniax XFL team
  • Memphis Maniax XFL team

"Memphis Maniax General Manager Steve Ehrhart tried to stem the tide of bad press this week, issuing a press release proclaiming Memphis as the 'number one' UPN market. He spun reporters at the team's weekly press conference to the effect that things are better than the national media make them out to be, that the Memphis TV market in particular is doing better than expected, and that the two local games drew well, especially considering the weather.

"The jury is still out on the Memphis Maniax and the Xtreme Football League.

"But the combination of NBC's bucks and the WWF's chutzpah could give the league real staying power — a la the old AFL and the current MSNBC, two similarly endowed hybrids. Here, too, we'll reserve judgment."

click to enlarge XFL scoreboard at Liberty Bowl Stadium
  • XFL scoreboard at Liberty Bowl Stadium

The Maniax, which played at the Liberty Bowl, had a half-decent season (5-5, third in the league) the year of their debut. And that was all. The plug was pulled on the entire XFL after only one season. As for the first part of the editorial, titled, naturally enough, "Reserving Judgment"? That dealt with the only-months' old presidency of George W. Bush.

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