Well, week 1 of XFL Football is officially in the books and I’d wager I’m far from alone in being pleasantly surprised with the results. As reported by a nerd on twitter whose name may or may not rhyme with Aaron Lobell, The XFL surpassed the entire ticket revenue of the AAF before week 1 even kicked off. I’d say the football itself was palatable if not good and I’ll share some details about the fan experience at the game itself, but I feel much more confident in the staying power of the XFL than I ever did the AAF.
Now, let’s talk some gameday. I arrived at Audi Field (important note for later) around 11:30am for a 2pm kick. There wasn’t a tremendous tailgate scene but the Defenders were holding a fan engagement event that made up for it. There was a booth for youngins to make their own shields, a bunch of radio and corporate partners, an Air Force recruiting gimmick aimed at high school underachievers, and a lovely live band that Defender Man thoroughly enjoyed.
I will get a Defender Man interview before the season is over. That’s a promise that you can hold me to. Now, the actual reason we arrived so early is because my wonderful girlfriend acquired on field passes for warm ups through season tickets, a cool touch as far as fan engagement goes. We had to check in right next to the media booth who so condescendingly denied me a credential but I stayed strong in the face of adversity. They let us in just before 12:30 and lined us up like cattle and herded us onto the field. Next time I’ll be sure to get the later slot so there’s a little more going on but still an awesome experience.
One of the players was nice enough to bring his nephew out for warm ups with him
I was alpha’d by Oliver Luck. Straight up Alpha’d. Tried to ask for a quick Basement shoutout but he shook my hand, looked into my soul, and deemed me not worth his time and moved on. Fair enough, Oliver.
I was able to confirm for the first time that Tyree Jackson is in fact VERY tall
After a half hour, we were again herded off the field and decided that it was our duty as inaugural season ticket holders to purchase some gear. The line moves quick, the gear is fire, my only complaint was they were out of $29.99 matchup game balls and only the official XFL Balls were left. They’re big fire but I will not be forking over $130 for a football Mr. McMahon. However if anyone at the Defenders or XFL offices is reading this my pager is always on and I am openly available for purchase.
Finally, game time. I should have recorded it in stadium but the XFL played these videos explaining the rule tweaks. They were helpful to me as a football guy but I found it interesting how much attention my girlfriend who frankly doesn’t give a shit about football paid to them. Well produced, concise, and voiced by Dean Blandino who I’m pretty sure is just Jerry Ferrara with extra makeup. Doesn’t get much better than that.
At long last, the XFL season was officially underway. I actually really liked the new kickoff rules, seems like a good common sense fix to having guys sprinting full speed at each other while still allowing for returns and big plays.
And that actually seems to be one of the salient points of the XFL: common sense. A lot of the tweaks were explained, you watch them play out, and you just think “that makes sense”. Perfect example, how on Earth does the NFL not have refs mic’d for those reviews? That simple addition makes everything so much more transparent and understandable and was universally well received. I’d personally be shocked if we don’t see that make its way into the NFL within a year or 2.
Circling bach, Audi Field really was the perfect venue for The Defenders and the XFL in general. It seats about 20k and the reported attendance was just over 17k. I had estimated on twitter from the game that it was about 80% full so I wasn’t too far off, but the crowd was raucous. People absolutely got into it and while there were a few technical and production issues as to be expected from a major enterprises first professional production, the whole thing ran relatively smoothly. Also I wish I got a video but they had a guy with the Defenders Shield declare it the most important day in the history of DC sports at kickoff. While wearing a Washington Nationals 2019 World Series Champions hat. True visual poetry. I’ll include a hodgepodge of random videos and pics I took at the end of the blog just to give you a sense of the environment during the game, but overall the XFL and the DC Defenders receive an A- grade from me.
As for the football itself, like I said it was a pleasant surprise. We got some big hits, Cardale Jones made some big throws, Tyree seems to be the extra point specialist which is intriguing. The game finished 31-19 moving the Defenders to 1-0 both straight up and ATS and as we know, good teams win, great teams cover.
P.S I’m 2-1 +.9 units so far and I am gonna bend this league over and defile it. I will impregnate the league and it will yield me a son, a son comprised of 50 units and a positive record. Book it.