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XFL legend ‘He Hate Me’ resurfaces, again explains fantastic moniker


While putting forth its best effort to be a unique and unconventional alternative to the NFL, the XFL obviously turned out to be a total bust, lasting only one season in 2001.

But the Vince McMahon-created spawn of professional football did deliver some interesting moments and at least one fascinating character: Rod Smart, otherwise known by his absolutely bizarre moniker “He Hate Me,” which of course was emblazoned on the back of his Las Vegas Outlaws uniform.

Smart, who actually transitioned to the NFL, bouncing around a handful of teams, for several seasons following the XFL’s demise, is now a counselor based in Charlotte, N.C., recently explained on a “Talk of Fame” broadcast why he changed his longtime nickname, “The Rocket,” to “He Hate Me.”

“I’m not sure (how that happened),” he said, via Shutdown Corner. “But I can kinda get an idea. If you have a rocket in front of you, and it’s steady going past you, soon enough you’re going to hate that rocket.”

Makes sense.

The “He Hate Me” nickname of course caught fire, so much so that two members of the XFL’s Las Angeles Xtreme mocked Smart by rocking “I Hate He” and “I Hate He Too” on their jerseys. Smart didn’t mind.

“I didn’t hate them,” he said. “I thought it was funny. Because I was the original guy getting hated on. I already felt like through my years (in) childhood on up to adulthood … I always felt like a leader. And that kinda showed me that my leadership is very unique in the world.

“It was a great thing to see them take my moniker and use it themselves in their own way. It just shows my leadership … I passed it on down well.”

And in some ways, he became one of the most lasting impressions from the failure that was the XFL. And that should count for something, too.