The inaugural season of the XFL Reboot kicked off this weekend. And there were a few takeaways.
First, let’s start with the scores.
The New York Guardians blew out the Tampa Bay Viper 23 to 3.
The DC Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons 31 to 19.
The Houston Roughnecks beat the LA Wildcats 37 to 17
And finally, the closest game of the week was St. Louis BattleHawks beat the Dallas Renegades 15 to 9.
With the exception of the final game, every game was decided by at least twenty points. That was probably not what Vince McMahon was hoping for. Teams like the Vipers and Renegades were predicted to be better than the showings they had this weekend.
The league also has a unique rule set that is meant to encourage offensive productivity. None of which were taken advantage of in week one.
St. Louis has a defense.
The BattleHawks defense was aggressive, nasty and effective. Sacking Dallas Renegades quarterback Philip Nelson four times and intercepting him to end the game. In fact, all nine of Dallas’s points came via a field goal. They also did this post game.
Roughnecks Aerial Assault
P.J. Walker unleashed holy hell this weekend with 272 passing yards. Completing four touchdown passes in the comeback win over the LA Wildcats. The former Temple product also did a nice job distributing the ball. Each touchdown had a different recipient and all but two of his receivers had over twenty yards.
Vipers Quarterback Controversy
Aaron Murray is arguably one of the more highly touted players in the XFL. The former Georgia product was expected to do big things for the Vipers. But after a pitiful first half performance going 11-of-25 for 156 yards the Vipers made a change at QB. In came the former USF Bull Quinton Flowers. Q did what Bulls fans had seen him do for four years at USF. He ran the ball four times for 34 yards. Making defenders look silly in the process. He completed one of the prettier passes in the game. A 37-yard bomb to Daniel Williams. Eventually leading the Vipers to the red zone for a field goal.
Look I am biased, I worked for USF during Q’s time there and I absolutely love the kid. He is dynamic, entertaining, and an all-around good human. When he went to USF he was not the pinned on starter either. But after a quarterback carousel, Willie Taggart gave Q the start in a very emotional game after losing his brother the week before. The rest was history. Q lead the university to national prevalence with running back Marlon Mack, and wide receivers Rodney Adams and Marquez Marquez Valdes Scantling.
If I am the Vipers I would let the hometown kid start and watch how electric he can be.
Lack of Double-Forward Pass
Week one saw a product that mirrored that of its NFL brother. No silly gimmick plays or weird three-point attempts after a touchdown. The one rule that does seem to intrigue to me is the Double-Forward Pass.
This allows teams to pass forward multiple times as long as the first pass doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage. So instead of being forced to laterally pitch the ball to the second QB you can throw forward allowing for better protection and schemes to develop.
In theory QB one get the ball from the snap, finds QB two somewhere else behind the line of scrimmage throws the ball to QB 2. Who then delivers a rocket launcher downfield to a streaking wideout.
Imagine a scenario like in hockey with two defensemen working the point on a power play. They pass the puck back and forth buying time and changing perspective to open up better lanes.
Most of these rosters have a quarterback conversation if not a controversy. LA used three different QBs after losing the lead to the Roughnecks. Yet they only used them one at a time. As some of these teams seemed to struggle offensively you would think they would incorporate more plays for the Double-Forward Pass. If not just putting two QBs on the field giving the other teams something to worry about.
Next week every team that won will play each other and every team that lost will play each other. It will be interesting to see if the severity of score continues. Or will we get the high scoring offensive thrillers the league promised?