After the NFL capped off the 2022 season with Super Bowl LVII, which ended in dramatic fashion with the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs beating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35, die-hard football fans were eager to see more football with the return of the XFL. Those who heavily favor football get the chance to view more gridiron action in the spring. In the past, spring football leagues have come and gone, but there could be a chance for the XFL due to the changes that were made in preparation for its return.

Unfinished business

The league was originally founded in 2018 by WWE wresting executive Vince McMahon and started play in early 2020.

It was a successor to the league of the same name that was also founded by McMahon in 2001. However, that league only lasted one season and then folded due to loss of fan interest, low television viewership, and poor play on the field. When the new XFL made its debut on Sat. February 8, it promised football enthusiasts new rules that made the game more exciting and different from the NFL.

Some of the rule changes included during kickoff, all teams stay on or behind the line of scrimmage until the ball is caught, as well as getting rid of the extra point after touchdowns, replacing with one, two, or three point conversions. Players and coaches were also interviewed during the games, making it more exciting for the fans.

There were eight teams who played a ten game season and each team rosters featured players who've had professional football experience. Rating were great from the start and it seemed like the XFL would be great, but after week five, it was announced the league would be canceling the rest of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was spreading across the country, leaving the future of the league in jeopardy.

First day

The XFL came back to the field on Sat, February 18 with a whole new image and new faces running the show. McMahon was forced to give up his ownership of the league after the shutdown, but several months later, it was purchased by former wrester turned actor Dwayne Johnson and businesswoman Dany Garcia. With the rebranded product, the first game of the season took place at Choctaw Stadium with the hometown Arlington Renegades taking on the Vegas Vipers.

The game was exciting from the start and ended with the Renegades defeating the Vipers 22-20, rallying from a 14-3 halftime deficit, scoring 19 points and holding off Vegas from a tying two point conversion with eight seconds left.

The second and final game of the day was a matchup between the Orlando Guardians and Houston Roughnecks at TDECU Stadium. The Guardians scored first on a 27 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Paxton Lynch, a former Denver Bronco, to wide receiver Cody Latimer, but could not hold the lead for the rest of the game and was bombarded by the Roughnecks defense, losing 33-12. With two games in the book, league play would continue the next day with the final two games of the week.

Amazing finishes

The next day of XFL action on Sun. February 19 featured action packed games that was entertaining for those in attendance. The first contest of the day took place at the Alamodome with the San Antonio Brahmas playing the St. Louis Battlehawks and by the end, it became an early candidate for game of the year. The Brahmas controlled the game from the start and, by the start of the fourth quarter, had a 15-3 lead with the win insight. However, Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron was not deterred and overcame his poor play and led his squad to 15 straight points, taking the lead on a connecting 14 yard touchdown pass to receiver Austin Proehl with 16 seconds left to take a 18-15 lead and seal the victory.

The final game of the week took place up north in the nation's capital featuring the DC Defenders taking on the Seattle Sea Dragons. The matchup started off in the Sea Dragons favor, whose offense is considered one of the best and featuring players with NFL experience, like quarterback Ben DiNucci, who was a backup for the Dallas Cowboys for a few season, and former All-Pro Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. The contest was back and forth from the start, but it changed when the fourth quarter started. Defenders quarterback D'Eriq King rushed for five yards into the endzone to give the team a 22-18, and from there the score would remain that way. The first week of the 2023 XFL season was in the books.

What's next

The XFL has brought an exciting rendition to the game of football and giving people a chance to see more action on the gridiron field in the spring season. Along with the United States Football League, who also play in the spring and start play in April, there will be a lot of competition as to who will be king of spring football. If they keep with the level of play that was seen, the league will be a success.