The NFL season is officially in the rearview mirror. However, fans of the sport (myself included) do not need to lament the long months between the Super Bowl and the new season. We can now turn to a new league brought to us by a familiar face. WWE magnate, Vince McMahon revamped his XFL project that died on the vine in 2001. The 2020 version holds more potential than its predecessor. This is in part because of the league leaders and also because the improved XFL promises to avoid gimmicky flash and WWE crossovers.
I, for once, am setting aside my natural cynicism and am willing to be open-minded about the XFL. As the inaugural game day for the 2020 re-boot of the XFL draws near, let’s take a quick look at the teams, starting with the Eastern Conference.
D.C. Defenders – Washington, D.C.
The team will play home games in Audi Field. The Defenders Head Coach is Pep Hamilton.
The Defenders offense is in good hands with former NFL QB, Cardale Jones under center. Jones famously won the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship as starting quarterback for The Ohio State University.
New York Guardians – East Rutherford, New Jersey
Guardians home games take place in MetLife Stadium. Kevin Gilbride is the Head Coach.
Aside from Coach Gilbride’s pair of Super Bowl rings from 1997 and 1998, the Guardians don’t have a lot of sparkle at first glance. However, the young locker room is called underrated by some; no need to count them out before they start.
St. Louis BattleHawks – St. Louis, Missouri
The Dome at America’s Center will host the Battle Hawks home games. The Head Coach is Jonathan Hayes.
The BattleHawks have a decent group of players with NFL experience, including former starting running back, Matt Jones. Seasoned safety, Will Hill can hopefully prove to be a leader on D. Experience in key spots should work in Coach Hayes’ favor.
Tampa Bay Vipers – Tampa, Florida
Raymond James Stadium is the Viper’s home field. Marc Trestman is their Head Coach.
Plenty of questions regarding quarterback Aaron Murray’s supporting cast of players are already plaguing the team before anyone has taken an official snap. Antonio Callaway looked like a bright spot on the Vipers’ horizon, but he’s out with a lower leg injury.
We won’t have long to wait to see how these teams look when they are not on paper. The XFL 2020 season kicks off on Saturday, February 8 at 2:00 pm.