AMERICAN FOOTBALL

XFL Reboot Surprises Fans in Opening Weekend

The XFL returned for its first season in 19 years, as the reboot’s eight new teams faced-off in what proved to be an entertaining weekend for football fans.

Owned by WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, the pro-football league notoriously ran for just one season in 2001, in an attempt to rival the giant NFL.

Both the WWE (then WWF) and television broadcaster NBC lost a reported $35 million each, with the league being labelled as boring, tawdry and sleazy.

The league’s link to McMahon’s professional wrestling company also created concerns over the legitimacy of the league, with many bookmakers unwilling to provide odds for the games.

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Now under the spin-off company of Alpha Entertainment and completely devoid of all connections to pro-wrestling, the leagues return at the weekend showed many positives for executives that have a ‘long-term view for success’.

In the opening game on Saturday, the DC Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons 31-19, with former-college national champion Cardale Jones finishing 16-of-26 for 291 yards, with two touchdowns.

The performance of the weekend came from Houston Roughnecks’ quarter-back P.J. Walker as he helped his side to a 37-17 win over the L.A. Wildcats, with four touchdowns and an interception.

Defence proved vital in both of Sunday’s games. The New York Guardians top the XFL East table after they defeated the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3, after The Guardians forced three turnovers and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

St. Louis BattleHawks continued the strong showing of defences, including four sacks of Philip Nelson, as they kept the Dallas Renegades out of the end-zone on their way to a 15-9 victory.

The reboot proved a success both live and in broadcast, with each game achieving 17,000-plus in attendance and the opening game peaking at 4-millions viewers on ABC.

The next eleven-weeks will see how successful this competition will be, but judging by the opening day, this sequel looks to be far more successful than the original.

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