clearn.png
Sunday March 29th, 2020 5:02AM

New XFL kicks off with entertaining debut in DC

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The debut of the new XFL had a punt blocked for a touchdown, a juiced-up crowd roaring for big plays and a player swearing during an in-game television interview.

The actual football was hit and miss. College national championship-winning former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was the biggest star on the field and took the microphone to address fans before the start of a brand-new football league.

"This is for the love of football," Jones said. "Enjoy.”

Jones' D.C. Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons 31-19 Saturday afternoon in the opener of the new XFL that provided plenty of entertainment in person and on TV. It's far too early to tell if the XFL can take a foothold where its previous incarnation and the recently unsuccessful Alliance of American Football failed, but executives are willing to wait and see.

“For us, if the fans who attend and watch at home feel as though it was a good football game and they had a fun time either watching or being in this awesome venue with us, that's success,” XFL chief operating officer Jeffrey Pollack said. “We're taking a long term view in this. Success ultimately will not be measured in the first game or the first weekend or the first season."

The first weekend is a chance for football fans to catch a glimpse of some of the few players they might recognize. There's former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones with Dallas, former NFL QB Josh Johnson with San Diego and ex-Navy standout Keenan Reynolds playing for Seattle.

It's not the star power of the NFL, but billionaire Vince McMahon's latest venture is an attempt to capture the attention of hardcore football fans in the aftermath of the Super Bowl.

“Our expectation for this first season is for football fans to simply give us a look, give us a chance, sample us,” Pollack said. “We understand that fandom is earned. It's not given. ... We think that if you love football, you're going to love the XFL.”

In the league opener, a crowd of 17,163 almost filled up Audi Field, home of Major League Soccer's D.C. United. There was a buzz around the stadium in the hours before the XFL's debut, with cars lining up to enter parking lots and fans checking out a league-sponsored tailgate. Fans were already sporting Dragons and Defenders gear and queued up in long concession lines at halftime.

"I didn't have real expectations going into the game as far as what the experience was going to be like," Cardale Jones said. “If I did ... they would've been blown away.”

The location of the first game made sense in the neighborhood of the NFL's Washington Redskins, who haven't won the Super Bowl since 1992 and have just one playoff victory in the past 20 seasons. Fan-made signs mocking the “Hail to the Redskins” slogan and asking Redskins owner Dan Snyder to sell the team were draped from a balcony at the 50-yard line.

The broadcast included in-game interviews with a kicker seconds after he missed a field goal attempt and a defender involved in a scrum that led to a penalty. Seattle's Dillon Day dropped an F-bomb that made it to the airwaves and went viral.

On the field, the play was a mix of traditional college and pro style with some different twists.

There was no coin toss, and when Reynolds fielded the opening kickoff, he did so with everyone else on the field standing still as part of a rule implemented for safety. The clock ran for all but the time inside each two minute warning, and some other tweaks were different for players.

“It was definitely an adjustment for some of the stuff,” said Seattle's Austin Proehl, son of former NFL receiver Ricky Proehl, who caught the first touchdown pass in the new version of the league. “It's something we've got to get used to.”

With no extra point kicks, teams had the option of trying one-, two- or three-point conversions, but each coach in the first XFL game only opted for one-point attempts.

"The only difference for I think a coach calling plays is deciding to go for one, two or three," Seattle coach Jim Zorn said. “That was surprising to me was that rule change, being able to go to one, two or three with your extra point try, there's a lot of strategy in that.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 NASCAR champion Harvick signs 2-year extension with SHR
Kevin Harvick has agreed to a two-year contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing that will take the 44-year-old NASCAR champion through the 2023 season
5:20PM ( 22 minutes ago )
New XFL kicks off with entertaining debut in DC
The new XFL debuted with an entertaining game the D
5:16PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Powell leads No. 12 Seton Hall past No. 10 Villanova 70-64
Myles Powell had 19 points and No. 12 Seton Hall snapped a 17-game road losing streak to Villanova with a 70-64 victory over the No. 10 Wildcats
5:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Champagnie pops for 30, Pitt slips by Georgia Tech 73-64
Freshman Justin Champagnie poured in a career-high 30 points and Pittsburgh pulled away from Georgia Tech 73-64
4:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Harvick parks media gigs, keeps eyes squarely on NASCAR road
Kevin Harvick has agreed to a two-year contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing that will take the 44-year-old NASCAR champion through the 2023 season
4:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hundreds of dogs dash for Westminster agility title
Over 300 dogs from dachshunds to Doberman pinschers are scrambling for the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility trophy
4:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Column: Shame on college football for lack of black coaches
Colleges around the country finished off their football signing classes this week, proudly touting scores of African-American athletes as their next big stars
10:06PM ( 19 hours ago )
Chiefs fan says he took 'NFL hit' in parking meter collision
A Kansas City Chiefs fan says he took a “professional NFL hit" when he slammed into a parking meter while trying to catch a pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the team's Super Bowl victory parade
10:17AM ( 1 day ago )
Betting could be 'X' factor for new pro football league
Knowing its season begins less than a week after one of the biggest betting events in America, the new XFL is embracing sports betting in a major way
3:10AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Week 3 of Weinstein trial: Fake names and raw emotions
In the third week of testimony at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial, the prosecution rested, the defendant dozed off and there was the most intense testimony yet, with jurors being sent home early one day after a key accuser started sobbing uncontrollably
2:34PM ( 3 hours ago )
Actor-comedian Orson Bean, 91, hit and killed by car in LA
Authorities in Los Angeles say actor and comedian Orson Bean was hit and killed by a car in Los Angeles
11:27AM ( 6 hours ago )
Before Oscars, stars pack Tom Ford's fashion week show in LA
While most fashion shows are in New York this week, Tom Ford has brought fashion week to Hollywood
5:32AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
The Latest: Klobuchar to Buttigieg: Experience a good thing
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is unloading on former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at Democrats' presidential debate for saying that watching the chaos in Washington almost made him want to change the channel to cartoons
8:52PM ( 20 hours ago )
King angry at CBS promo of interview questions about Bryant
CBS' Gayle King says she's angry that her network promoted her interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie with a video clip that focused on questions about a sexual assault charge against Kobe Bryant
12:05AM ( 1 day ago )
Manfred concerned with team/media roles of Martinez, Mendoza
The dual roles of former Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez and ex-Olympic softball player Jessica Mendoza as team employees and broadcasters have drawn the concern of baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred
7:55PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Andy Reid tells parade-goers Chiefs will win again next year
Hundreds of thousands of Kansas City Chiefs fans braved sub-freezing wind chills to celebrate the team's first Super Bowl victory in 50 years
4:45PM ( 3 days ago )
49ers lament missed chances in Super Bowl loss
The parade the San Francisco 49ers had hoped to be enjoying was held a couple thousand miles away in Kansas City
4:29PM ( 3 days ago )
Mayor: 'Joy ride' driver arrested on Super Bowl parade route
An apparently impaired driver taking a “joy ride” along the Chiefs' Super Bowl parade route in downtown Kansas City was put into a forced spin by law enforcement officers and arrested at gunpoint
12:34PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
2014 NASCAR champion Harvick signs 2-year extension with SHR
Kevin Harvick has agreed to a two-year contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing that will take the 44-year-old NASCAR champion through the 2023 season
5:20PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Powell leads No. 12 Seton Hall past No. 10 Villanova 70-64
Myles Powell had 19 points and No. 12 Seton Hall snapped a 17-game road losing streak to Villanova with a 70-64 victory over the No. 10 Wildcats
5:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden: first two states important, not critical
Joe Biden is continuing to waffle over whether he needs to do well in New Hampshire even as he promised supporters at a Manchester campaign office “the reports of our death are premature
5:10PM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: Bloomberg courts black voters in Alabama
Joe Biden is continuing to waffle over whether he needs to do well in New Hampshire even as he promised supporters at a Manchester campaign office “the reports of our death are premature
5:07PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Sequins, big bows, glamorous gowns at Badgley Mischka show
Everything sparkled with sequins at Badgley Mischka's show  which played up the glamour of “Downtown Abbey," with the Beatles' bohemian Abbey Road era
5:04PM ( 37 minutes ago )