Owned by the WWE and NBC, the XFL offers football for fans directly after the Super Bowl. The league also features unique rules that make the game interesting and different from the NFL. (Photo courtesy of public domain).
The XFL kicked off its first week of games on February 9 drawing in 3.3 million viewers for the debut game. The XFL features eight teams and a 10 week regular season dedicated to providing fans with quality football and entertainment.
This league gives fans an opportunity to watch football even after the NFL season ends. It especially caters to fans and families due to the low ticket prices. Even though they play at the regular NFL stadiums, tickets that would cost hundreds of dollars can cost around $30.
Originally started in 2001, the XFL ran for one season before being discontinued. Critics called the XFL too similar to pro wrestling, with commentators and teams emphasizing violence. At the time, there was also a lack of talent within the league as well.
Now in 2020, the league revamped their rules and format of play to try and make the season successful. Some rules include needing one foot in bounds to have a completed catch and a kickoff at the 30 yard line.
Instead of having individually owned teams, the XFL manages all eight teams. Aside from the eight teams, there is a “Team 9” which is a farm or practice team which features offensive and defensive players. After week 5, all of the players on Team 9 will be distributed to the remaining eight teams.
The league features a wide variety of players. From straight-out of college to seasoned professional, the XFL provides a diverse amount of skill levels. Amongst these are Aaron Murphy, Landry Jones, and Christine Michael.
Opening weekend saw decent attendance for the first games. According to USA Today, about 17,000 fans attended five of the stadiums. While this shows an impressive turnout, attendance has to remain stable in order for the league to continue.
Here’s how each team performed during week one:
Los Angeles Wildcats vs Houston Roughnecks
The debut game for the revamp of the XFL showed off Roughnecks QB PJ Walker who threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Walker played college football at Temple, later going on to join the Indianapolis Colts practice squad in 2017.
Seattle Dragons vs DC Defenders
DC lived up to their name, showing off a strong defense by scoring twice on defense and recovering three turnovers. For the first half of the game, the score stayed close. The two teams remained tied at 17, and it was not until the third quarter where DC began to pull away with a lead. Final score: Defenders 31, Dragons 19.
NY Guardians vs Tampa Bay Vipers
The NY Guardians came to play football this week, holding Tampa Bay at only 3 points. Guardians QB Matt McGloin threw 182 yards for one touchdown, and overall the team performed at a higher level than the Vipers. The Guardians capitalized on all of their third downs and red zone plays at 100%.
Also, this game showed the first XFL ejection when Vipers DT Ricky Walker threw a punch at an opposing player. Nobody really expected in the first weekend of games to see an ejection but it sure made the game entertaining. Final score: Guardians 23, Vipers 3.
St. Louis Battlehawks vs Dallas Renegades
The Battlehawks vs The Renegades drew a massive crowd both at the stadium and at home. The teams drew the second most tv viewers for an XFL game to start the weekend. The game proved to be very evenly matched with both QB’s throwing over 70% completion throughout the game.
The Battlehawks were the only road team to win opening weekend and showed off a strong defense. While Dallas managed to get on the board first with a 32 yard field goal, they were unsuccessful in holding back St. Louis. Final score: Battlehawks 15, Renegades 9.
Week 1 of the revamped XFL proved to be a hit amongst the large market, drawing in fans in all of the cities as well as high ratings nationally through broadcasts. Week 2 will bring some interesting matchups and hopes to continue drawing in fans to checkout what the league is all about.