An overview of the XFL and what we can expect from it.

What is the XFL? 

The XFL is a professional American football league, consisting of eight different teams and split into two separate divisions: the North division and the South division. It’s considered a minor league compared to its bigger rival, the National Football League (or the NFL for short). Owned by Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners, the XFL launched in February 2023. This minor league is not very known, even to many football fans, but it continues to promise a season to remember.

As a surprise to some, the XFL is not a new league. However, the league’s history is something that many don’t want to remember. In 2001, a man named Vince McMahon, who helped create the uprise of the WWF, partnered with NBC and his former business partner, Duncan Ebersol, to create the XFL. The league was hyped up by McMahon, but with little time to train, the league’s attention eventually faded out.

The old XFL went wrong for many reasons, but overall, it was their lack of boundaries and intense games that labeled them as the most wild and dangerous football league. To start off, the rules of the XFL at the time were considered extreme, such as the replacement of the coin toss. Instead players ran to the middle of the field, and whoever turned out with the football would be choosing to play on offense or defense. One such time ended a player’s season when he dislocated his shoulder in the hunt for the football. Similarly, the fair catch rule was removed, leaving no chance for the receiving team to calmly begin their turn at offense. These rule changes made it hard for players to stay safe during the games.

Following the downfall of the crazy season, the XFL didn’t play again for more than 20 years. And now, it’s making a comeback. This time, the rules, players, teams, and coaches will be different. So, how will these new teams affect the season?

As mentioned before, there are eight teams in the XFL, split into two divisions. The four teams in the North division are the St. Louis Battlehawks, the Seattle Sea Dragons, the DC Defenders, and the Las Vegas Vipers. The four teams that make up the Southern division are the Arlington Renegades, the Houston Roughnecks, the San Antonio Brahmas, and the Orlando Guardians.

Currently, all eight XFL teams have already played three games each. Out of all of those teams, the DC Defenders and the Houston Roughnecks have the best records, with both teams having a perfect 3-0 record after playing in their first three games. On the other hand, the Las Vegas Vipers and the Orlando Guardians have yet to win a single game this season, with the two teams currently having an 0-3 record.

When it comes to the league’s players, there are multiple former NFL players who are now playing in the XFL. Some of these include players such as Seattle Sea Dragons wide receiver Josh Gordon, Vegas Vipers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, and Orlando Guardians quarterback Paxton Lynch.


NFL vs. XFL Rules

The XFL is definitely more vigorous than the NFL, but what are some of the major changes we can expect to see? Although no major changes are being made, the smaller rule changes will definitely impact the game. If you mix the rule changes and competitiveness of the teams, it’s bound to be an exciting season.

For one, teams will have three run/pass only options for extra points after scoring a touchdown. These options will allow them to gain one point, two points, or three points, depending on what they choose. However, if they fail to convert the extra points, the points will be given to the defensive team.

In addition, the play clock will be lowered to 35 seconds after the previous play, as compared to the NFL’s 40-second play clock. The clock will stop following first downs after the two minute warning (in either first or second half). The first and second half will have a 10-minute halftime to split them. Similarly to the NFL, the XFL will have three timeouts per half. These changes are made to create a larger rush in the XFL, limiting the time between plays and instead focusing on keeping the game continuous.

There are also a few different changes to overtime compared to the NFL. Teams will alternate attempts from the opponent’s 5-yard line. There are three attempts per team, or until the winner is decided. And lastly, head coaches are allowed to challenge one on-field ruling per game, including those that involve fouls or potential fouls.

Overall, these rule changes are designed to create a fast-paced, rigorous, and competitive game. Unlike their last season, these rules don’t encourage any harsher game play; instead, the rules focus on keeping an up-tempo game to make sure that the audience is engaged and on the edge of their seats.


Predictions For The Season

The XFL is currently 3 weeks into the current season, and as mentioned before, it can already be noticed which teams are thriving, and which teams are having trouble surviving. In the North Division, the DC Defenders are dominating, having gone perfect so far in their first 3 games. In the South Division, the Houston Roughnecks have also won all of their games so far.

If the XFL Playoffs started today, the four teams that would make the cut would be the DC Defenders and the St. Louis Battlehawks in the North, and the Houston Roughnecks and Arlington Renegades in the South. Of course, there is still plenty of football left to be played, which means plenty of time for there to be changes, twists, and turns in the race to ultimately clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Ultimately, the four teams that are predicted to make the playoffs will be the DC Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, Houston Roughnecks, and the Arlington Renegades. Obviously, the Defenders and the Roughnecks are the two best teams in terms of their record so far. Even though only 3 weeks of the season have gone by, those 2 teams will most likely be shoe-ins for the playoffs.

On the other hand, there are the Seattle Sea Dragons and the Arlington Renegades. Seattle, specifically, has only one win under their belt this season, and that was against the Vegas Vipers, who are yet to even win this season. Despite that, they still have talented players, especially NFL veteran Josh Gordon. That difference in skill and experience could very well push Seattle through to the playoffs.

In Arlington’s case, they should also be able to clinch a spot in the playoffs, although with great difficulty. Their offense isn’t too spectacular, but with enough defense, they should be able to make the playoffs.

Out of all of those teams, the one that should be the most likely to be crowned champions would be the DC Defenders. Statistically, they are an incredibly well-rounded team, and their currently perfect record only furthers their argument for why they could be the XFL Champions come the end of the season.


What Do iUP Students Think About the XFL? 

Many students expressed their interest in a new football league, but very few had heard about the XFL. So what do they think about a more dangerous, fast-paced football league? Here’s what some of our our owls have to say:

Jaxon Radcliff says that, “I saw a few [XFL]  games a little while ago, I thought it was interesting, especially with being able to hear the huddle and play calls and things like that. While I don’t think it will take viewers from the NFL, it is a great thing to watch while the NFL is in [the] offseason.” Jaxon also mentions that any good sports league needs “variety” in order to stand out from the rest of the football leagues.

Eighth grader Colton Inglish says that he thinks the XFL is a good idea, but that he doesn’t expect the XFL to become a large competitor to the NFL. He notes that “the NFL is a household name. A key to a successful league is to have passionate fan bases and reach the highest number of people. […] The XFL’s struggle to even start (three seasons in a row) epitomizes the difficulty of organizing a new, successful competitive league.”

Overall, many students look for certain good traits in a sports league. Many agreed on a few things: sports should be entertaining, have healthy competition, and, as Avery Whitmire puts it, “[have] a good team of players that are passionate about what they are doing, [and] will support their teammates with a full heart.” If the XFL can meet the standards of these iUP students, they would definitely be interested in what this season has to offer.


In Conclusion

The XFL, compared to the NFL, is a whole different type of game, even in a small way. Of course, XFL football is still football, and it is still just as entertaining. But, the question is: will the league be able to survive? Well, hopefully, the answer to that question will be yes this time around, but only time will tell.


Works Cited: 

DeArdo, B. (2023, March 2). XFL Week 3: How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time, date, full weekend schedule, picks, predictions.

About. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2023, from

Morin, R. (2023, February 10). XFL 2023 rosters: Josh Gordon, Martavis Bryant among the top former NFL players. USA Today. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from

Pasley, J. (2020, February 7). The story behind the XFL, America’s wildest football league. Business Insider.