Johnson appeared on the “ManningCast” and was asked about his dealings with the XFL. He said he wanted to make the league focused on the players and their goals to achieve success in their football careers. He called owning the league a “full circle moment” for him.
“Man, I cannot wait. I’m so excited about the XFL. We want to create a league of culture, a league of opportunity, a league of passion. I use the term ‘mana’ often. And mana is a Polynesian word that’s spirit. It’s the thing that lights up your skin with goosebumps when you’re feeling something and there’s such a great feeling and momentum and mana behind this league,” Johnson said.
“As an XFL owner, my No. 1 goal and my No. 1 priority will always the player and to take care of the players and to create these opportunities for them. I can’t wait.”
Johnson said there should be more announcements about the league coming in the next couple of weeks. He asked Peyton Manning what he thought about the league.
“It’s a great thing you’re doing because there’s a lot of players out there that don’t get that shot to the NFL and we never hear about it. The chance to develop players for NFL teams to be able to go down and watch film of the XFL. It’s a great thing you’re doing,” Manning said.
The XFL folded during the 2020 season as the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports leagues across the U.S.
In August 2020, Johnson teamed up with Dany Garcia, of The Garcia Companies and TGC Management, and Gerry Cardinale, the CEO of Redbird Capital, to buy the league from Alpha Entertainment.
The league started a week after Super Bowl LIV. It featured eight teams from markets across the U.S. The league drew 3 million viewers in its first week but the audience tapered off in the following weeks.
The XFL is set to kick off again in 2023.