Dwayne Johnson on giving NFL hopefuls a chance to succeed where he failed in the XFL
The enormous figure of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson strides on the field, microphone in hand, and Choctaw Stadium falls silent.
The first game of the new XFL season is about to begin, just a week after this year’s Super Bowl.
Johnson and his ex-wife Dany Garcia, who are both in town for a “historic day,” now own the American Football League.
It took them three years to develop an original, ground-breaking league that has given 400 players the opportunity to succeed where Johnson failed – by making it to the NFL.
“I was there when they told you the dream was over,” Johnson says to the two teams. “But here’s the truth: your dream is just getting started.”
“With that chip on your shoulder, you’re going to show the world what it’s like to be truly hungry.” I know since I have the same chip.”
Three months later, Johnson will be in the final game on Saturday (01:00 BST, Sunday), when the season’s greatest players will have one last chance to show how hungry they are.
‘Football was going to be our ticket out,’ says one.
Johnson went on to become a world-famous wrestler and actor, but his first dream was to be a professional football player.
Johnson attended the University of Miami, where he met Garcia and helped the Hurricanes win the national championship in 1991.
He was not taken in the NFL Draft after graduating in 1995. Johnson was released two months into the 1995 season despite joining with a Canadian Football League team.
“This was our life after university,” he explained. “It was a dream come true to play football and make it.”
“That was going to be the exit ticket.” But it didn’t happen for me or us.”