Schwartz: Throwback Apparel Company Keeps The Original XFL Alive

Dustin Alameda grew up in the Bay Area of California and was a fan of the San Francisco Demons of the original XFL back in 2001.  That league lasted just the one season, but the new XFL is set to launch this weekend with eight teams, none of which are the same from the eight that played 19 years ago. 

So, after launching a throwback apparel company in 2016, it was a no-brainer for Alameda to include XFL gear on his website including jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and mini-helmets. 

“I just started with some Demons jerseys and they sold pretty well so I just kind of expanded from there,” said Alameda, the Founder and Owner of Portland, Oregon based 503 Sports (www.503-sports.com). 

Once Vince McMahon announced two years ago that he was bringing the XFL back, many football fans became nostalgic about the original league that turned out to be a disaster on the field as well as financially to the point where McMahon and NBC pulled the plug on it after just one season. 

Throughout the years, the original XFL was constantly the punchline of jokes but there were some things that the NFL took from the XFL like the “skycam” and some of the special access the XFL gave its fans.  Of course, there is always the legend of Las Vegas Outlaws running back Rod “He Hate Me” Smart who went on to play for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL and Los Angeles Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox who returned to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There was a ton of XFL merchandise available in 2001 but over the years the only way to get any of that apparel was at collectible shows, garage sales, and eBay.  But Alameda has kept the memory of the XFL alive with his line of merchandise.

And with the new XFL about to begin, business has been picking up in terms of the old XFL.

“The last few months it’s been more popular as people are getting ready for the new league,” said Alameda.  “The “He Hate Me” jersey is really popular.  The uniforms were way ahead of their time with custom font.  Teams didn’t wear that back then so I feel that it’s kind of catching on and it’s kind of noticeable with the jerseys.”

503 Sports has apparel from all eight original XFL teams including the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Memphis Maniax, Chicago Enforcers and Birmingham Bolts.  When it comes to the jerseys, you can have it personalized with your favorite players from the original XFL whether it was “He Hate Me”, Orlando Rage wide receiver Kevin Swayne who scored the first touchdown in XFL history and went on to play for the Jets in the NFL as well as the New York Dragons in the Arena Football League, NY/NJ Hitmen running back Keith Elias, or even Las Vegas Outlaws wide receiver Mike Furrey who also played for the Dragons and then went on to the NFL and is now the wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears.  

You could also get a jersey with your own name and number, so since I was the radio announcer for the Hitmen, maybe I can get a personalized jersey for myself?  In addition to “He Hate Me”. there were other players who had their nicknames on the jerseys instead of last names, so I might just get one with the name “RADIO GUY” and the number 77 since our broadcasts were on 77 WABC Radio here in New York. 

There are many who feel that the New York Guardians have the best-looking logo, uniforms and gear in the new XFL, but fans have also been gobbling up Hitmen apparel from 503 Sports.

“Surprisingly it’s one of the best sellers,” said Alameda.  “I didn’t think they had much of a following compared to the other teams but I’d say other than the “He Hate Me” jersey on its own the Hitmen stuff has probably been the next most popular team with hats, jerseys, and shirts.”

 

In addition to the XFL gear, 503 Sports has apparel from other defunct leagues like the USFL, Arena Football League, World League of American Football, World Hockey Association, and the ABA.   

As far as the new XFL is concerned, the odds are that it will stick around longer than the original league.   The football was really bad in the original XFL and there was too much interaction with the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) so it was hard for mainstream media and sports fans to take it seriously.

This time around, the XFL has a well-respected football man Oliver Luck as the CEO and Commissioner along with strong television partners in ABC, ESPN, Fox and Fox Sports One.  The league has done everything right during its two-year launch to kickoff, including a better player pool, some interesting new rules, and hiring some terrific coaches including Kevin Gilbride with the Guardians and Bob Stoops with the Dallas Renegades.

Will this XFL survive past its inaugural season?

“I would hope so,” said Alameda.  “I enjoyed the last league and I feel like the AAF last year showed all the mistakes not to make so I feel like it has a much better chance this time now that they’ve learned from those mistakes the first time and watched the disaster of last year.”

There is a lot of intrigue about the new XFL, but there are a lot of lasting memories of the original XFL and those memories are being brought back to life and celebrated with the line of apparel available from 503 Sports. 

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter covers the Islanders for New York Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club. Peter spent 8 years as the radio play by play voice for the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League. He was also the radio play by play announcer for the XFL’s NY/NJ Hitmen in 2001 and the radio play by play announcer for the New York Saints of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League from 1993 to 1996.

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