The XFL Returns: What Week 1 Has Showed Us

The XFL Returns: What Week 1 Has Showed Us

By Matthew Schieffer, Staff Writer

The reboot season of the XFL kicked off last weekend with eight new teams and over 400 new players. In 2001 the league had its first season, and the Los Angeles Xtreme ended up winning “The Million Dollar Game.” The league folded after that first season; however, they were not able to hold interest for a full season.

Vince McMahon has sold $272 million of WWE stock to help fund the second season and is expected to spend $400-$500 million in the first 3 years of operation. Commissioner Oliver Luck, who was a former quarterback for the Houston Oilers from 1983 to 1986 and the father of former Colts QB Andrew Luck, has both business and football experience.

So far, in the first week, the play has been better than most thought. Many rule changes have helped this cause, as many more people are becoming upset with the referees every weekend. In the XFL, the refs let the players play the game, more hitting, fewer penalties slowing the game down, and the new kickoff rule makes the league more exciting. The kicker kicks from their 30, while the rest of his team lines up to the opposing 35. The receiving team lines up at the 30 with the returner behind them. Each kick also has to travel past the 20-yard line, and players cannot run until the returner has the ball in their hands. These rules will add incentive to returning kickoffs while eliminating most high-speed collisions.

The first game of the new season featured the DC Defenders taking on the Seattle Dragons. DC has quite possibly the biggest star in the league with QB Cardale Jones. The Ohio State product won a national championship with the Buckeyes back in 2014 and hadn’t lost as a starter. That trend would continue for his as he was able to lead the Defenders to a 31-19 win over the Dragons. The defense for the Defenders was big hauling in a pick-six, and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Jones passed for 235 yards and 2 TDs while completing 61.5% of his passes and reminded fans why he was selected in the NFL draft. Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers threw for 3 TDs but also tossed 2 ints in an up and down day.

Wrapping up day one, the Houston Roughnecks faced off against the LA Wildcats in the highest-scoring game in week one. With both teams walking into the locker room at 18-17, each team felt like they could win the game. Houston was able to capitalize on this feeling, however, and scored 19 unanswered points of defeat the Wildcats 37-17. WR Nelson Spruce was the star for LA, hauling in 11 of his 15 targets for 103 yards, becoming the first receiver to eclipse 100 yards in a game. Roughnecks quarterback PJ Walker looked like a breakout star after scoring 4 TDs on the day. Walker was able to get it done both through the air and on the ground to keep the Wildcat defense on their toes.

Day two started with the Tampa Bay Vipers took on the New York Guardians. Tampa Bay is already surrounded by controversy with both their QB Aaron Murray and head coach Mark Trestman under fire for their week one loss. New York, on the other hand, has nothing to complain about after being underdogs and blowing out the Vipers, despite being outgained. New York went into the locker room up 17-0, and all the momentum after many stalled Tampa Bay drives. Murray was not able to lift his team out of the hole and struggled to hit his receivers. The Vipers were able to get a field goal in the third but never scored again. The Guardians scooped and scored off an Aaron Murray fumble and capped off their 23-3 win.

Week one finished off with another upset as the St. Louis Battlehawks toppled the Dallas Renegades 15-9. Dallas looked good in the first half, being viewed as the best team by many pundits. St. Louis woke up in the second half, however, and the one-two punch of QB Jordan Ta’amu and RB Matt Jones proved too much to handle for the Dallas defense. Ta’amu went 20-27 for 209 yards on top of 77 rushing yards on 9 attempts and a late touchdown. Dallas, on the other hand, didn’t have too many bright spots. The defense collapsed, and nobody on the offense looked great.