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airs Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. on NBC-TV.

XFL Football

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So you wanna see some smash-mouth football, huh? Well you can, starting Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. on NBC-TV. It'll be few-holds-barred football, which is perhaps an apt way of expressing it, since NBC has formed a "strategic partnership" with World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. The two entities will jointly own and run the XFL and its eight teams. The brutality will continue on Saturday nights in prime time through April. The odd coupling of NBC Sports and the WWF may lead some to question the legitimacy of the games, but rest assured: Up in the broadcast booth to lend an air of authenticity will be Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who will offer up his reputation as governor of Minnesota as a guarantee. NBC says the league will connect with the audience by returning the game to its "tougher roots and the wide-open way it was played in the '60s and '70s." XFL football will eliminate the fair-catch rule (meaning punts will be live balls), require only one foot inbounds on pass receptions, institute a 35-second play clock and limit halftime to 10 minutes. The process of telecasting the games will be different, too. Cameras will be everywhere — in locker rooms, on the sidelines, and even in the helmets of some players. Players, coaches, locker rooms and huddles will also be wired for sound. Who might the target audience be for these "enhanced" football games? You guessed it: the one demographic that craves action and violence, young American males. And to make sure nobody forgets that the point of it all is prime-time barbarism, the winning team each week will share in a victory bonus pool. Can't you just hear the players now? "All this fun, and they're going to pay me too!" Is anybody out there ready to bet that XFL football won't do what it's supposed to

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