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In 2001, the WWE was so popular that Vince McMahon was looking to branch out into other sports.
He decided to try to carve into the football market by creating the XFL, a more "Xtreme" version of professional football, that would play during the NFL offseason.
The XFL promised harder hits, fewer rules (like no fair catches), and more scantily-clad cheerleaders. By the end of the first season, McMahon had learned two things:
- Those rules are in place for a reason.
- You don't mess with football in America
The viewers (all three of them) failed to embrace the new brand of football with less talented players, and the league folded after just one season.
Although it did leave us with one of the lasting nicknames in all of sports, Rod "He Hate Me" Smart, who actually had a pretty decent post-XFL career with the Carolina Panthers.
Better than the nickname itself is Smart's explanation, as told to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"Basically, my opponent is going to hate me. After I win, he's gonna hate me. It is what it is...For example, (when) I was on the squad in Vegas and coach was putting other guys in, (if) I felt I'm better than them, you know, hey, 'he hate me.' See what I'm saying? I feel as if everyone hates me, from my mom to my dad and even my brothers and sisters everyone "hates me"."