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Now That America Is the XFL, What Is Your XFL Name?

Here is a full 22-man XFL roster, plus specialists, culled from the vast and goofy ether of Sports Twitter.

Jim Lohmar

ESPN's 30 for 30 shop most recently enlisted Charlie Ebersol, the son of former NBC Sports executive and one half of the XFL braintrust Dick Ebersol, to produce a two-ish-hour documentary feature about Vince McMahon's erstwhile counterpoise to the stodginess of the NFL. This Was the XFL is by turns a journey back in time to a more innocent America, deeply informative about what went into ushering McMahon's nascent vision into actual football games that were shown on TV, and utterly hilarious in its hindsight. Bob Costas positively drips with loathing throughout at the very thought of the project, which alone kind of makes you root for Ebersol, McMahon, and, weirdly, Jesse Ventura.

In many ways, the XFL was ahead of its time, if only because it was a decidedly Donald Trump-ian vision of professional football in America—big, dumb, loud, violent, gaudy, slipshod, scantily clad, and extremely on television. The XFL flaunted its disregard for employee safety—every promotional commercial harangued us with the "no catch halo" rule—and, through its juvenile prodding of the cheerleaders to hook up with players, had an appropriately Trumpy ambient horniness.

More broadly, what was irresponsible or even irredeemable about the XFL became part of its sales pitch. The XFL fought the NFL's head trauma with even more head trauma. The XFL sexualized and exploited women even more than the NFL's wanton treatment of its cheerleaders, to the point that such objectification became a touchstone of the endeavor. Players, for their part, were paid virtually nothing for the privilege of taking even greater risks with their health than their NFL counterparts. "They wanted to see something that was violent," former play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian said of the XFL's audience. The deleterious effects on players' gray matter did not quite rise to the level of secondary concern. It wasn't a great league by any stretch, but it's hard to say it was irrelevant.

There is, um, still something of a website for the XFL, which maintains archival information about rosters, game scores, and the like. Most memorable about the XFL, of course—and there is much to memorialize in This Was the XFL—were the nomenclatural peculiarities of the league's players. (If it feels weird to read "the league" with any sort of seriousness in this context, be not alone, for writing it feels downright stupid.) The league's nominal abbreviation itself announced the XFL's peculiarity against the NFL juggernaut, mostly because the X didn't necessarily stand for anything. Or not any one thing, anyway: it was X for XTREME but also X for X-rated, let's all go get laid. X as in "no," as in "not the NFL."

XFL players were further encouraged to assume nicknames for themselves, to lend a sense of individuation for league participants that is sorely lacking in the NFL even to this day. Take, say, the roster of the Memphis Maniax (yes, also with an X), which featured a Big Cat (née Antonio Anderson), Chaka (née Shante Carver), Christian (née John Williams), ChronicY2K1 (née Charles Jordan) and the highly quotable Kev Cobb (née Kevin Cobb). And no one will ever forget He Hate Me (née Rod Smart), who went on to participate in an actual NFL Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers in 2003.

Twitter is a very dumb place, which is a great part of its appeal. This has been especially so in the Trump era, as the executive branch's erratic/pissy use of the platform has given it a far more sinister role in decent people's social media lives. So it's important to catch and hold on to the moments when Twitter transcends its daily dumbness and achieves moments of surreal, heady collaboration. Last Thursday, as This Was the XFL debuted, I tweeted this, and it happened:

Whether Twitter needed something to distract itself, or whether people have a real stake in memorializing their first automobile and most recent bout with serious intestinal discomfort is hard to say. What we do know is that a lot of people apparently wanted to use this XFL name generator. The generator works even better if you use the make of your first car, in which case my XFL avatar becomes NEON BUFFALO WING, a name that feels right at home on an XFL jersey.

I've been inundated with responses all week—not least from some ESPN personalities and others—and it has been good, both as a distraction and as a reminder of the less depressing things about XFL. As a way of giving back, here is a full 22-man XFL roster, plus specialists, culled from the vast and goofy ether of Sports Twitter. Sadly, NEON BUFFALO WING works only in the front office of this crowdsourced experimental league football team. Before reading on, though, please take a moment to consider David Aldridge suffering food poisoning after drinking rancid airport coffee. Thank you.

QB: JEEP STREET MEAT

FB: VOLKSWAGEN TUNA

RB: TEMPO BIG MAC

C: LINCOLN BEANS

RG: CUTLASS SALAMI

LG: CHEVETTE CRAWFISH PIE

RT: SAFARI SAUSAGE

LT: MUSTANG GUACAMOLE

TE: MERCURY CHIPOTLE

WR: HONDA LASAGNA

WR: MONTEGO SHRIMP

DT: OMEGA LO MEIN

DT: SIERRA CONCH

DE: BMW ADULT MILKSHAKE

DE: BUICK FRUITCAKE

MLB: CHEVY CHORIZO

SLB: FORD STRYCHNINE

WLB: THUNDERBIRD MCDOUBLE

SS: BENTLEY KOMBUCHA

FS: FIAT TARATUFFOLI

DB: MONTE CARLO PEACHES

DB: SILVERADO ALFREDO

P: SATURN PISTACHIO

K: PEUGEOT PAELLA

LS: WRANGLER ELK STEAK

Who will coach this swarthy cadre of brigands? You already know who.

Thanks to all for keeping hope alive.