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Holy Testosterone! The Xfl Is Comin' At You

Even with NBC as a partner, can it score where other NFL-wannabes have failed?

Early in his career as a football impresario, Vincent K. McMahon learned exactly what it means to get sacked for a big loss. On Feb. 3, as he was announcing the creation of the Xtreme Football League, investors were nervously cashing out of XFL's parent, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. (WWFE) By day's end, WWFE stock had plummeted 25%, to $12.31 a share. Says the ever-confident McMahon: "I don't mind people doubting us. We'll just have to prove them wrong."

At this point, McMahon, 55, is doing just that. Eight months after the scared money bailed, the stock has recouped some of its losses, trading at just under $15 a share on Oct. 17. And there are signs that the quirky league, which promises real football with the in-your-face look of McMahon's WWF, may not be such a crackpot idea after all. "We'll deliver the game of football in a way it has never been delivered before," promises Basil V. Devito Jr., president of the XFL and a McMahon lieutenant for 15 years. "It's reality programming wrapped in a sporting event."