XFL announces teams for 2023 reboot; Washington among them


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When the XFL returns in February, spring football will return to the nation’s capital as well.

On Sunday night, ahead of the league’s third iteration, the XFL announced the cities and stadiums where its eight teams will play, as well as the head coaches assigned to those clubs. The list includes Washington, who will be coached by Reggie Barlow, a former NFL wide receiver and comeback who ran Virginia State from 2016 to 2021. An unnamed DC team will play their games at Audi Field, the league announced.

“To the fans in DC, we are back,” Barlow said in a statement released by the XFL. β€œIt is a great honor and pleasure for me to have the opportunity to coach a team in the District of Columbia. Our XFL team will play with great passion and we look forward to being part of this great city. It’s going to be really exciting and we already know that you guys will come and get louder for us.”

The league will also have teams in Arlington, Texas (at Choctaw Stadium, coached by Bob Stoops), Houston (TDECU Stadium, Wade Phillips), Las Vegas (venue to be announced, Rod Woodson), Orlando (Camping World Stadium, Terrell ). Buckley), San Antonio (Alamodome, Hines Ward), Seattle (Lumen Field, Jim Haslett), and St. Louis (America’s Dome, Anthony Becht).

Barlow left Virginia in March to join the XFL. Before heading VSU, he was head coach at his alma mater, Alabama, from 2007 to 2014.

In June, the league announced several coaching and front office positions for each team, but did not specify where each group would coach. Barlow’s staff includes defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, offensive coordinator/running back coach Fred Keiss, director of player personnel Von Hutchins, and director of team operations Stacey Johnson.

Williams, a former head coach for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, was the Washington NFL’s defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2007, and most recently was the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020. Case coached with Barlow at Alabama State. Selected in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Hutchins played defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans.

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In February 2020, DC Defenders hosted the first game of XFL 2.0, providing an alternative to the Washington NFL franchise’s dwindling fan base. Defenders averaging over 16,000 fans went 3-2 in three games at Audi Field and the shortened season, with all three wins coming in front of their roaring home crowd.

β€œI played a lot of football in the NFL, high school, college or whatever, but these fans are different,” defenseman Raheem Moore said after the team’s fifth and final game. “I don’t know if the XFL is paying these guys to be so loud, but the energy is just crazy.”

This version of the XFL, owned by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon, was shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league filed for bankruptcy the following month and requested a sale. In August of that year, McMahon’s former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bought the league for $15 million, along with his business partner and ex-wife Dani Garcia and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners.

Next year will see the first season of XFL action in San Antonio, and the league will return to the Las Vegas and Orlando regions, where the original XFL teams were in 2001. In 2020, the XFL had teams in New York, Los Angeles. and Tampa, but their attendance was low. These markets accounted for the five lowest attended games out of the 20 played that year.

Unlike the USFL, which played all of its 2022 regular season games in Birmingham, Alabama and the postseason in Canton, Ohio, the XFL will play all of its games in host cities. The league will later unveil team names, logos and uniforms. The games will air on ABC, ESPN and FX; In May, the XFL announced a multi-year broadcast deal with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN.

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