by Bee Jay Glosson
When the XFL was announced we all just kind of patiently waited for its debut. While waiting we watched the AAF fold before it even finished its inaugural season and we saw the 32 year old AFL go bankrupt and close its doors.
Then the pessimism started. “The XFL will bust before mid season.” “Vince McMahon couldn’t make it work the first time whats different about this time?” “No one can beat the NFL why is it even trying?” “No one is going to want to watch outdoor football in February.”
Stop worrying. You are absolutely right, it is not the NFL but it is the XFL. It is fast, creative and ahead of schedule on making the game safer than the NFL.
No one is going bankrupt, Vince McMahon has done his homework. He knows what he did wrong last time and knows not to do it again.
As far as no one will come to the games? Yeah, tell that to the 17,000+ that showed up to all 4 of the opening weekend games.
You know that part of yourself that hates how the NFL has basically removed the kickoff by just making kickers kick through the endzone? The XFL has fixed this. They had 90% of all kicks returned in week 1. While in contrast, the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a 89.9 % touchback ratio. The XFL has made the kickoff safer and more abundant with the new rules they implemented.
The opening weekend saw all eight teams in action over the course of 2 days, and the product that we got on the field did not disappoint.
We got blocked punts, pick six’s, trickeration on offense and so many kickoff returns our hearts could burst.
The Defenders opened league play against the Seattle Dragons in front of 17,163 at Audi Field. The Defenders scored first ever points in the XFL on the kick by T. Rausa. Then the Dragons scored the first ever touchdown with a pass from Silvers to Proehl.
A few more league firsts will happen also in the form of the first blocked punt returned for a touchdown and the first pick 6 in league history, both coming from the Defenders.
The game was close in the first half with the Dragons leading at times. However, in the second half the Defenders proved to be too much for the Dragons. Cardale Jones would go 16/26 for 235 yards and 2 TD’s and lead his team to a 31-19 home win.
The crowd was loud and energetic and it seems that Audi Field truly can be a home field advantage better than any other in the league.
In New York we saw the Vipers stumble as they put up near 400 yards of total offense and only score 3. The Guardians defense found a way to bend but not break and easily won the game 23-3.
In Houston we saw P.J. Walker go off with 4 TD passes and 265 yards as the Roughnecks went on to beat the Wildcats 37-17. This loss quickly came back to haunt the Wildcats in more way than one as they fired their Defensive Coordinator the very next day.
The Battlehawks came in as 9.5 point underdogs to the Renegades. St. Louis took advantage of a Renegades team that was missing starting QB, Landry Jones, and found a way to ride their own QB, Ta’amu, to a 15-9 upset on Dallas’ own field.
All four winning teams from this past weekend are playing each other in week 2. Meaning that by the end of Sunday we will only have 2 unbeaten teams left.
With the Guardians coming into DC to battle for one of those spots they will need the crowd to be loud and proud to help make Audi Field one of the toughest places to play in the XFL.
Shields Up Defenders! Get up! Get Loud! And above all else, Defend the DMV!