The third iteration (and possibly the best iteration) of the XFL is now 2 weeks young. If you thought I wouldn’t have words, you played yourself.
All D, no O
Typically, at just about every level of football, the defenses are ahead of the offenses to start the season. It takes a little bit for offenses to get their timing together. Two weeks into the 2023 XFL season, this seems to be the case. Except, I’m not completely convinced it is.
If you looked at the Week 1 scores, you saw Houston put up 30 on Orlando. Arlington put 22 on the board against Las Vegas. (For some reason *cough* *Bob Stoops* *cough*, many folks were anointing the Renegades as the favorites to win the XFL Championship after just one week. Pump your brakes.) This is why you can’t trust a glance at the scores, they’re missing context. Watching every game will tell you that no one single team, and I mean not one single team, has it together offensively. (In the amount of time it took me to type this, Seattle turned the ball over 4 more times.)
Meanwhile, defenses are eating. A thrilling Week 1 defensive struggle between St. Louis and San Antonio (which was decided by a late touchdown by the BattleHawks.) is a big highlight. Just enough offense at the end to make it exciting, but good defense throughout. On the other hand, you get a clunker like Week 2’s tilt between D.C. and Las Vegas. An 18-6 pain fest that would have frustrated even the most impassioned defense enthusiasts.
The season’s still young, but in a 10-game sprint, teams better get the O figured out quickly. Whoever does, has a great chance to get to San Antonio May 13th.
Rules and Presentation
Throughout all iterations of the XFL, they’ve always been innovative in both the rules and presentation of the league.
Having uniformity with broadcast presentation, helps gain and keep an audience. Also, making games easily accessible helps as well. The XFL has done a good job of this. I feel they’ve done a better job this go of having the broadcaster go to the read and remind the audience of when and where to watch the upcoming games. Advertisements are more frequent as well.
The rules continue to be innovative and have had a factor on games. The option to go for one, two, or three after a touchdown, has made for some interesting scores. Teams not being able to block until a kickoff is caught, is a big win for safety.
My favorite rule is the option to go for a 4-and-15 onside try in the fourth quarter. The BattleHawks successfully used this option in their dramatic Week 1 comeback win. Imagine the drama of this option in the playoffs. (Salivating)
As I mentioned before, the season is still young. Offenses will wake up, some defenses will still be tough, and the rules will make for some interesting outcomes. Overall, as someone who’s been down with the XFL since 2001, I’m happy to see its evolution and even happier to see its return to play.