A rear view of Rod Smart #30 of the Las Vegas Outlaws walking on the field during the game against the New York/New Jersey Hitmen at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Todd Warshaw /Allsport

The sports world was lit aflame Thursday morning, as World Wrestling Entertainment announced chairman and CEO Vince McMahon will make a “major sports announcement” at 3 p.m. ET. It can be seen on the website of his new entertainment brand Alpha Entertainment, which is entirely separate from WWE.

Sources told ESPN’s chief business reporter Darren Rovell that it will, as expected, be McMahon’s second stab at a professional football league. Sports fans who remember the start of this millennium may recall McMahon’s ill-fated XFL, which was supposed to be a serious competitor to the NFL. At the end of ESPN’s recent documentary “This Was the XFL,” McMahon hinted at wanting to give the concept another go.

The XFL (which McMahon once jokingly said stood for “Xtra Fun League”) was announced in 1999 and began play in 2001. It also ended play in 2001. A rash of technical issues, PR scandals and the inescapable fact that it was poorly played football sunk the league after just one season, with low TV ratings and nearly empty stands defining the doomed league.

It was started during the peak of WWE’s “Attitude Era,” when McMahon’s wrestling operation was at its most edgy and PG-13. The XFL took the same approach, promising harder hits thanks to the lack of tackling rules, no fair catches and a chaotic alternative to kickoffs. The league was also known for a particular affection for sexualized cheerleaders, as well as former wrestler Jesse Ventura taking a day off each week from his job as governor of Minnesota to do color commentary for games.

However, times have changed. The violence of football is more controversial than desirable in 2018. It is largely expected that McMahon’s new, unnamed league will steer clear of the violence and sex of the XFL in favor of a league that panders to those who felt disgruntled by Colin Kaepernick’s protests during pre-game NFL national anthem ceremonies. Deadspin reported back in December that this would be the case, based on Alpha Entertainment trademark filings.

Much of the buzz around this new league expects a more explicitly patriotic version of pro football, especially given the McMahon family’s close relationship with president Donald Trump. It is not yet known what this new league will have in common with the old XFL, but longtime fans may be disappointed if it does not bring back personalized nicknames on player jerseys.

A close up of Haven Fields #52 of the New York/New Jersey Hitmen nickname and jersey during the game against the Birmingham Bolts at the Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Al Bello /Allsport