XFL Rocks the Nation


Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

Doran Grant is a cornerback for the DC Defenders

Harrison Kemmer, Reporter

UPDATE: The XFL season has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was two weeks underway as of this writing…

The XFL season is 2 weeks underway and the Dallas Renegades are underperforming. Opening as +300 favorites to win the championship, they have slipped to +700 underdogs. Week one was a severe disappointment, in which an Instagram model, Philip Nelson, was the starting quarterback for the Renegades. Dallas lost their opening game of the inaugural season 15-9 to the St. Louis Battlehawks. A lack of ability to throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield combined with first game jitters did not make a good game. Week two ended much happier, with a 25-18 victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats. Landry Jones made his XFL debut at quarterback and was much more successful than Nelson, as he threw for 305 yards and a touchdown after a slow start. Cameron Artis-Payne ran for 99 yards on 14 carries. He also tallied a touchdown in the win. The Renegades schedule is on the XFL website. 

Overall the XFL has been a success. People around the country love the new style of football and pace of play. Along with the stars and well-known coaches, including Bob Stoops for the Renegades and June Jones for the Houston Roughnecks, the XFL will not be going anywhere anytime soon. PJ Walker, quarterback of the Roughnecks, has taken the league by storm. Walker has thrown for 987 yards while completing 63 percent of his passes. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. As an elusive quarterback, he has escaped sacks and has run for 104 yards. His ability to extend the play is a talent that the NFL will want.    

Ethan Jordan ‘23 has shown love for the Roughnecks. 

“Being from Houston, it is fun to have a new team to support and root for,” Jordan said “Obviously it is nice that they are 3-0 and I think PJ Walker is the best QB in the league.” 

 The new rules are exciting. One of the coolest rules is the kickoff. 

“It is really cool that the teams start at the 35 and 30-yard line, while the kicker kicks from the other 30-yard line,” Luke Rollins ‘23 said. “I like that the players can’t move until the ball is caught because this causes more returns and hard hits.” 

The goal of this league is to increase the pace of play and to increase excitement. One of the rules instituted is the new kickoff. In the NFL 34.1 percent of kicks are returned, as opposed to 90.1 percent for the XFL. Punts are interesting as well, as gunners, players that run down field to tackle the returner, are not allowed to leave the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. Punts in the NFL allow gunners to leave pre kick which caused 36.2 percent of punts to be returned. The XFL has had 63.4 percent of punts returned in the 2 inaugural games of the league. These return stats are up to week two. 

   Another fun change is that two forward passes are allowed if the first is behind the line of scrimmage. In the NFL, you can only throw two passes if the first is backwards.       

   The final big change is that there are no extra points. In the NFL, after a touchdown, you can kick an extra point that is 33 yards away from the goalpost. In the XFL, while field goals are allowed, extra points are not. A team has the option to go for 1 point from the 2-yard line, 2 points from the 5-yard line, and 3 points from the 10-yard line. Another interesting addition to the XFL is on-field access. The NFL has this, but not anywhere close to the level of the XFL. Sideline analysts can go up to a player or coach and ask him questions at any point of the game, even after a costly turnover or penalty. This is destined to be an awesome addition to the game of football.

Over the first four weeks of the season, the XFL teams are separating. It is clear that the Tampa Bay Vipers will be the laughingstock of the league, as they have used three quarterbacks to gain absolutely no momentum. Under head coach Marc Trestman, their offense has sputtered. Their two bright spots on offense are the running backs DeVeon Smith and Jacques Patrick who have rushed 296 yards and 231 yards respectively. The Roughnecks and Defenders seem to be the best in the business, as their QBs carry them to victory in high flying ways. The Roughnecks have won by a total of 38 points in their 4-0 start. The Defenders coach Pep Hamilton has developed an excellent game plan for Cardale Jones. The Renegades and Battlehawks seem to be just below the undefeateds above. The Renegades have a good passing attack, and with less turnovers, they could become a serious powerhouse in the league.           

The Battlehawks, under coach Jonathan Hayes, used their run game in week one to carry them to victory against the Renegades. In week two Jordan Ta’amu, QB of the Battlehawks, threw for 284 with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in a loss to the Roughnecks that leaves them at 1-1.

Then there are the mediocre teams: the New York Guardians (1-1), the Seattle Dragons (1-1), and the Wildcats (0-2). The Guardians, led by coach Kevin Gilbride, have some serious chemistry issues. Quarterback Matt McGloin called out the offensive game plan on national TV at halftime. The Dragons showed some promise in their week two victory against the Vipers behind Keenan Reynolds 87 receiving yards and touchdown. Head coach Jim Zorn clearly wanted Reynolds involved in the offense last week. Although the Wildcats, under coach Winston Moss, have the same record as the Vipers, they have shown much more promise. They only lost by 7 to the Renegades in week two and Josh Johnson threw for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nelson Spruce caught 6 passes for 89 yards and both of Johnson’s passing scores. 

The XFL has been a very successful league throughout the first two weeks and it is hard to see that changing. As more people begin to watch the league, more teams may join. All in all, Vince McMahon, owner of the league, has created an awesome league for everyone to love and enjoy.

Week 3 saw wins by the Roughnecks, the Renegades, the Battlehawks, and the Wildcats. The Vipers gave Houston a close game, but PJ Walker came out on top. Landry Jones had three touchdowns and two interceptions in the Renegades win. Joe Powell returned a 90-yard kickoff to the house for the Battlehawks for the first kickoff return touchdown in the XFL. Josh Johnson threw for 278 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions for the Wildcats to end the Defenders undefeated season. 

Week 4 was a week of firsts for the XFL. The first Texas Throwdown between the Roughnecks and Renegades occurred with a 27-20 Roughnecks win. The Vipers won their first game with a 25-0 thumping over the Defenders. The Battlehawks are ranked first in the East standings for the first time in team history. They beat the Dragons 23-16 at home this week. The Guardians won their second game of the year with a 17-14 victory over the Wildcats. The overall league standings have the Roughnecks in first, Battlehawks second, the Defenders, Renegades, and Guardians tied for third, and the Wildcats, Dragons, and Vipers tied for sixth. Sadly for Renegades fans, Landry Jones re-injured his knee and is out for two weeks. Philip Nelson and Eric Dungey are the quarterbacks that will suit up for games in his absence.