Football Season Is Over, Long Live Football Season (An XFL Primer)

The NFL season ended Sunday with the Chiefs win over San Francisco, but thanks to the stubbornness of Vince McMahon, football season is nigh. Nigh, I say, as the XFL reboot is set to begin this weekend. There are just enough known names from my dynasty football consumption and just enough rules differences, most of which are a step in the direction I would like to take football, to make the league interesting. Plus, you know, the whole St. Louis Battlehawks thing.

Yay Local Team!

Photo courtesy XFL.com

Eight Teams

The XFL will feature eight teams in two divisions.
The East: St. Louis Battlehawks, NY Guardians, DC Defenders, Tampa Bay VIpers
The West: Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, LA Wildcats, Seattle Dragons

They will play a 10-week regular season schedule and two-week postseason.

New Rules

The XFL rightly realizes that kicking should not exist in football. So, they have made some rule changes to push teams toward kicking less.

Kickoffs will be kicked from the 25, but the coverage team will line up well in front of the kicker (the return-side 35) to eliminate the long run ups before collision. That also means onside attempts have to be declared ahead of time, reverting to the traditional setup.

No more extra point kicks. Instead, teams can take the ball at the two, five or 10-yard line for one play, earning one, two or three points, respectively if successful.

Punting has be disincentivized as well. A kick of out bounds inside the 35 or into the end zone will put the ball at the 35.

Double forward passes are allowed, if the second forward pass still occurs behind the line of scrimmage.

Overtime–OT is now five rounds of one-play drives, starting at the five. The team with the most points after five rounds wins. If a tie, continue rounds until one team leads after a round. Think shootouts in soccer.

Clock management–The play clock is 25 seconds. There is also a comeback period, where the clock stops after every play for two minutes in the half. Teams have two timeouts per half instead of two. There are no challenges, but every play is subject to review. Halftime is only 10 minutes. All of these are designed to make the game move quicker.

Bet On It

Championship odds have been released. Dallas is the heavy favorite, at +300. LA follows at +500. Our Battlehawks have the worst odds at +1000, tied with Seattle. That will not deter us.

And the league won’t hide behind some thin veil when it comes to gambling talk either.
XFL broadcasts won’t hide from gambling talk, point spreads

Team Breakdowns

St. Louis Battlehawks

Coach–Jonathon Hayes. OC Chuck Long. DC Jay Hayes. Hayes was an NFL tight end for 12 years and coached at Oklahoma. Most recently, he was on Marvin Lewis’ Bengals staff from 2003-2018. Jay is his brother. Long was the 1985 Heisman runner up, coaching at Iowa. He also coached at Oklahoma, Kansa and San Diego St. He spend the last several years on the Big Ten Network.

QB–Jordan Ta’amu (Hotty Toddy!) was the QB who admittedly should have done more throwing the ball the AJ Brown and DK Metcalf. He is one of the more athletic QBs in the XFL, even if the college production probably wasn’t what it should have been. Cause of concern: Old-school coaches with a new-school quarterback. Taylor Heinicky who got cups of coffee with Housotn and Carolina is the backup.

RB: Christine Michael, he of constant unfulfilled promise with the Seahawks heads the depth chart. From one Hawk to another. Matt Jones backs up.

WR: Nothing of note for NFL fans. L’Damian Washington and Carlton Agudosi head hte depth chart.

P: Marquette King. Yeah, I mentioned a punter. He is a former Raider and one of the few entertaining punters.

Dallas Renegades

Odds: +300

Head Coach: Bob Stoops. OC: Hal Mumme. DC: Chris Woods

Stoops and Mumme are a fun combo. Stoops is known for his 17-year run at Oklahoma. Mumme is one of the original Air Raid guys.

QB: Landy Jones. Injured to start the year. Former Steeler, Jaguar and Raiders. Syracuse Eric Dungey is the backup. Dungey carried the Curse for a couple years.

RB: Cameron Artis-Payne, Lance Dunbar

WR: Jazz Ferguson, Jeff Badet, Flynn Nagel

LA Wildcats

Odds: +500

Head Coach: Winston Moss. OC: Norm Chow. DC: Pepper Johnson.

Moss was a stud LB at Miami, former Seahawk and Raider. Coached LBs for Mike McCarthy in GB. Chow is now 73 and was a high school assistant recently after leaving Hawaii. Pepper played 13 years in the NFL.

QB: Josh Johnson. THe #1 AAF pick who got picked up by the Redskins. Probably the best QB in the XFL. Just turned 34. A San Diego product.

RB: Elijah Hood (UNC), Dujuan Harris.

WR: Nelson Spruce, Jordan Smallwood, Adonis Jennings.

DE: Shawn Oakman, the Baylor Behemoth.

DC Defenders

Odds: +750

Head Coach: Pep Hamilton. OC: Tanner Engstrand. DC: Louie Cioffi.

Hamilton was most recently the passing game coordinator at Michigan. Known for grooming Andrew Luck at Stanford and with the Colts.

QB: Cardale Jones. Could be nice fit for Hamilton’s offense. One of the more famous players in XFL.

RB: Jhurell Pressley, Donnel Pumphrey. Pressley runs a 4.38.

WR: Rashad Ross (4.34) and DeAndre Thompkins (4.33) fast. Former colt Eli Rogers.

DE: Sam Montgomery. DT: Tracy Sprinkle lead front line.

Tampa Bay Vipers

Odds: +550

Head Coach: Marc Testman. OC: Jaime Elizondo. DC: Jerry Glanville.

Hey Jerry, what does the XFL stand for? Trestman is a CFL legend and a Bears washout. Glanville is now 78.

QB: Aaron Murray. Former Georgia QB. QB/RB Quinton Flowers could be a weapon with the new double pass rules.

RB: De’Veon Smith, Jacques Patrick.

WR: Daniel Williams, Jalen Tolliver.

TE: Nick Truesdell. Their first round pick.

Houston Roughnecks

Odds: +900

Head Coach: June Jones. OC: Chris Miller. DC: Ted Cottrell. Jones was run-and-shoot from old Falcoms, Chargers, Hawaii, SMU. Miller is former pro bowl QB in Atlanta. Cottrell coached in college, NFL, USFL, UFL, AAF.

QB: Connor Cook. Former MSU. Battling Phillip Walker. Walker was actually drafted first.

RB: DeAngelo Henderson, Andre Williams.

WR: Sammie Coates, Kahlil Lewis. Coates was a stud in the SEC, big target.

Carrying zero TEs. Jones Run-and-Shoot all the way.

NY Guardians

Odds: +320

Head Coach: Kevin Gilbride. OC: George Mangus. DC: Jim Hermann. Gilbride has 21 years of NFL experience. Last with the Giants from 2007-2013. Mangus was a Spurrier guy at Florida.

QB: Matt McGloin. Another former Raider, former Penn St guy.

RB: Tim Cook, Justin Stockton.

WR: Mekale McKay, Colby Pearson, Joe Horn Jr.. DeAngelo Yancy was #3 overall pick, but already on IR.

Seattle Dragons

Odds: +1000

Head Coach: Jim Zorn. OC: Mike Riley. DC: Clayton Lopez. Zorn is back in Seattle. QB coach for Baltimore and KC after Redskins HC coach from 2008-2009. Riley coached at Oregon St and Nebraska.

QB: Brandon Silvers. Outplayed Manziel and Hackenberg in AAF last year (Memphis). Former Troy QB.

RB: Trey Williams, Kenneth Farrow, Ja’Quan Gardner. Pound the rock type backs. Gardner had a nice run in AAF. Williams was #7 overall pick.

WR: Alonzo Moore, Kasen Williams. Austin Proehl is Ricky’s son.

Week 1

Seattle at DC (-6.5)
LA at Houston (-5)
Tampa Bay (-3.5) at NY
St. Louis at Dallas (-6.5)
My ATS picks: DC, LA, NY, Dallas.

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