Its been just over two years since we got the announcement from Vince McMahon that the XFL would be reborn in 2020. Almost a year after that it became real with the reveal of the eight cities that would have teams. 2019 would thus become a year of anticipation for fans that jumped right back on the XFL bandwagon.
The year would become a whirlwind of hiring, building, organizing, player camps and fan events. The league had thousands of pieces simultaneously coming together. By contrast, from a fan perspective there were a simple few, major milestones to anticipate then celebrate that you could count using only your two hands; Head Coach/GM hiring’s, Summer Showcases, name and logo reveal, draft, uniform reveal, minicamps and training camps being among the biggest.
The name/logo and uniform reveals had people the most anxious it seemed. Prompting many calls from Twitterville to get it done. In the end, by most account they were worth the wait. With all teams it seems having a legitimate claim of being the best name/uniform in the league. The release of the uniforms really cemented the league was here and ready to play pro football.
Moving forward with the column
Like the coaches, players, the league and other fans sites, I have tried to grow and get better writing TWTW and will try to come up with a decent format for you to have a quarter cup of coffee with in the morning when you can’t have your volume up or ears in listening to one of our great XFL podcasts; just a little old fashioned storytelling aka ‘reading'.
We will have things like players and/or plays of the week and game of the week. Fab 4 + 1 (this is XFL Plus after all). A lot of our fans site and podcasts will have full power rankings so I will keep it to the best four, plus one on the outside looking in. Also, will have short game reviews with just a few thoughts on each. Some notable numbers and thoughts I come across that week.
Then, looking toward to The Week That Is instead of Was, I will address some the events that will come to pass. I will ask some questions I want answered. I will also throw my hat in the prediction ring for the four weekly games. Although, I am going to do it just a bit differently.
I am simply going to pick who the winner is and by how much, no final score stuff. Somewhat going with a similar paradigm of betting odds that are being embraced by the league. But no real betting angle here, just guessing who will win and by how many points. I will judge my weekly results by how many points I miss by, lower score is better, and my readers can call me out by them. Sounds fun ‘eh.
Moving forward with the league
Finally, yes! We are here. Four days until the start of XFL 2020. It is hard to believe this past year has now went so fast. And for those of us who were around for the first iteration in 2001 it is almost unimaginable XFL 2.0 opening kickoff is here 19 years later after 1.0’s demise, upon us right now, again.
Those that followed the games in 2001 are bringing the passion of that one and only year and then having it pop up in your mind here and there over the years. Not always prominent or anything, but those of you who followed it know what I mean. Then to have it come back seemingly bigger, smarter and better than ever generates a unique nostalgia with so long in between events.
The leadership, financial backing, planning, TV Deals, timetable and fan outreach of this league has been tremendous and primed for success. I have had the privilege of visiting several of the Dallas Renegades events from the first Summer Showcase to logo reveals to the latest open practice this week before kickoff. And although the events have been Dallas Renegades focused, you could see the league itself grow and really try to get everyone involved and make this a great family and fan friendly league.
The Week That Is
A few notes on the coming week.
Well, lets see how this first week of predictions grow. It may either be one of my worst scores or beginner’s luck with pretty blind guesses. We will see, let's go.
Seattle vs. DC: DC by 4 – This is a tough one for me. I might have picked Seattle if they were playing in Seattle because I think their players would have an advantage practicing in Seattle weather. But DC has some good D and QB play so leaning to that and their home field this first week
L.A vs. Houston: Houston by 9 – Another tough one this first week because you must go by a lot of just player personnel and social media stuff. I say tough and pick Houston by 9, but that is still just one score.
Tampa Bay vs. New York: New York by 13 – Picking spreads is more challenging than I thought once you get going. I am starting to think my score at the end of these first four games might be around a +100 difference. Just a hunch here.
St. Louis vs. Dallas: Dallas by 11 – Two score victory with Stoops going for a couple normal (1pt) PATs and then maybe 50/50 on others. Dallas is probably missing Jones at QB, but their offense still clicks with their good RB and WR corps.
Fab Four + 1
This will be my version of Power Rankings and this section will normally go before my predictions in following weeks, but I guess this first week the order will basically consist of my weekly prediction winners, then ranked. So, that section was first this week. Subsequent weeks might have a bit more leeway in my list. These might be fun to revisit on Monday.
1. Dallas Renegades – Preseason favorite and I picked them to win by a couple scores.
2. Houston Roughnecks – Just seemed like a strong team before the actual kickoffs happen.
3. Washington DC – I think their game will be closest and playing a strong team.
4. New York – They will be one of the four week one winners
+1. Seattle – Best team that doesn’t win this first week.
Four Questions I Want Answered
Which QB is going to step up above the rest? There was a lot of thought put into the assigned quarterbacks so, it will be neat to watch them duel.
What will be the most popular extra point? My guess for the breakdown: Half the time for the standard 2-yarders with the other two options splitting the rest of the attempts.
How will the kickoff play out? I am excited about watching this go off. There is something more satisfying about waiting for the kickoff all week and then actually being excited when the thump of the kickoff goes into the air. It can be the best play in football and will be good to anticipate it again.
How will the broadcasts be, and rating numbers? Like 2001 the first week might be the best of the year but I don’t think there will be the drop off after that that happened back then. I think it will be a much more polished and professional production. The league will finally be completely and wholly real once we all see it on TV.
So, here we are, after so much anticipation and excitement. Finally starring at XFL 2020 opening day. I for one can’t wait to see the final product on the field. From the football, to the stadiums and fanfare, and TV stuff. We thought this first year was a fun ride, that was only the first loop of this roller coaster. Here We Go.