Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson is one of the most commercially successful actors of his generation, and he hopes his box office success will carry over to his new project: the XFL.
The Rock gave an impassioned speech worthy of one of his movies at Saturday's American Football Minor League opener before the Vegas Vipers and Arlington Renegades met in the first game of the season.
"If they told you the dream is over, but here's the truth, your dream is just beginning," he said, addressing the players.
"Because you're going to get on that field, line up and show the world what it's like to be really hungry and not let it get you down.
"I know that because I've, and we're here because the X of the XFL represents the intersection of dreams and possibilities. You bring the dreams, we bring the possibilities. Now let's get to the game we all love and why we're here today."
Johnson and a group of investors bought the XFL rights in August 2020 for about $15 million after the league went bankrupt during the Covid 19 pandemic. This is the third incarnation of the XFL, a spring football league that first launched in 2001 and collapsed after one season before being revived in 2020 until the pandemic forced it to an early end.
"I say this to all the players, all the coaches and especially all the fans with great gratitude and humility and an insane amount of excitement. I declare these words to kick off our season. XFL, let's go baby!" Added Johnson to cheers from the crowd.
The Arlington Renegades defeated the Vegas Vipers 22-20 in the first game of the XFL season. Six other teams are in the league: the DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, Orlando Guardians, San Antonio Brahmas, Seattle Sea Dragons and St. Louis Battlehawks.
The XFL, which begins the weekend after the Super Bowl, has introduced some new rules not found in the NFL, such as three overtime periods per team, a 35-second game clock and three timeouts per half.