The XFL: What to Know About America’s Newest Football League

Written by Darcy Waskiewicz, Sports Editor

Last weekend, the XFL league made its debut with its first football weekend of the season. The XFL used to be a league run by the World Wrestling Federation and the NBC in 2001, but it only lasted for a season. A few years ago, Vince McMahon, CEO and chairman of WWE, decided that he wanted to reopen the XFL and officially announced its revival in 2018. 

The ten-week XFL season began the weekend after the completion of the National Football League season to avoid competing for viewers and fans. The league decided to award teams to cities with some of the biggest sports markets and NFL teams. The final result was eight teams in major cities: Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. The only city that does not currently have an NFL team is St. Louis after the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 2015. 

The teams are split into two divisions, with the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons making up the West Conference. The East Conference is compiled of the DC Defenders, the New York Guardians, the St. Louis BattleHawks, and the Tampa Bay Vipers. 

Throughout the ten-week season, the teams will each host five games with a two-week postseason wrapping up the end of the season. During the game, the home team decides whether they want to kick off, receive or wait until the second half instead of the coin toss that starts off every NFL game. At the end of the regular season, the two best teams from the West and East conference will battle each other in a bracket of single elimination, with the best team competing against each other for the title of best in the XFL. 

The main goal of the XFL that makes it different from the NFL is to make the games more continuous, with less pauses and breaks during the game. One way the league is implementing this is to have the clock constantly running, with pauses only during a change of possession, until the clock hits two minutes, when the clock will stop after every play is blown dead.

Another difference that makes the XFL stand out is how teams can receive extra points after a touchdown. Instead of choosing between an extra point kick or scrimmaging for two points, teams can choose between three different scrimmage plays: a two-yard attempt that would give the team one point, a five-yard attempt that would gain the team two points, and a ten-yard attempt for three points. 

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the DC Defenders defeated the Seattle Dragons 31-19 in the league’s debut game. Later that night, the Houston Roughnecks beat the Los Angeles Wildcats 37-17. The next day on Sunday, Feb. 9, the New York Guardians had a dominant performance against the Tampa Bay Vipers with a 23-3 win. 

Week 2 will see new match-ups and some teams receiving their first ever losses and wins. New York will take on DC on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m., with Tampa Bay and Seattle following that night at 5 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 16, Dallas will travel to Los Angeles for a 3 p.m. game, with St. Louis playing in Houston that night at 6 p.m. 

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