Catch the football game last weekend? No? Didn’t even realize that there was one on? Well, we weren’t trying to trick you this time, because there was actually a football game last weekend. In fact, there were four!
That’s right – we’ve been blessed with some good ‘ol American football this late into the year. The NFL’s Super Bowl took place over two weeks ago, and we still get the opportunity to watch guys throw the pigskin around this February all the way till May. And it’s all thanks to Dwayne, “The Rock”, Johnson, and the XFL.
What is the XFL?
Good question. The XFL is a professional football league here in the U.S. that was originally founded in 2018 by Vince McMahon. Now to be more accurate, it technically started off with its first season in 2001. However, the XFL back then didn’t quite have the legs that this new and improved version of the league does. So back in 2001 they only held one season before shutting down.
But this time around they appear to be here to stay. They have a deal with ESPN where all their games can be watched live with ESPN+ after all. And what does The Rock have to do with the league?
Well, back in 2020 the XFL was five games into their season when the COVID-19 pandemic shut them down. By April, the league had to declare bankruptcy, and a few months later, The Rock and a few of his associates swooped in to save the day by purchasing the assets of the league.
The current XFL football league is home to 8 teams and holds a 10-game long regular season from February to late April with a two-week playoff period that concludes mid-May. Of the eight teams, half of them play in cities where NFL teams already exist, and there are even a few familiar NFL and CFB faces on rosters. To add to all that, the league
Before we dive in to their special rules, here are the 8 teams of the XFL football league:
South Division XFL Teams
Arlington Renegades (currently 2-0)
Houston Roughnecks (currently 1-1)
Orlando Guardians (currently 0-2)
San Antonio Brahmas (currently 1-1)
North Division XFL Teams
DC Defenders (currently 2-0)
Seattle Sea Dragons (currently 0-2)
St. Louis BattleHawks (currently 2-0)
Vegas Vipers (currently 0-2)
The XFL’s Special Rules
If over 40 extra games of professional football to be watched during the spring wasn’t enough, the XFL also makes things interesting with some rules that separate them from the NFL.
We’ll be here forever if we talked about all the special rules of the XFL, but here are some highlights from the list:
The spot of kickoffs occurs at the kicking team’s 30-yard line. Other than the kicker, members of the kicking team line up at the receiving team’s 35-yard line, while blockers on the receiving team line up five yards away at their 30-yard line. No one except the kicker and returner can move until the ball is caught or three seconds have passed after it hits the ground.
Onside kicks can occur conventionally, or, if a team chooses, they can opt to run a 4th & 15 play where they attempt to get the ball back by picking up the first-down yardage on one attempt. Talk about exciting!
Both of these kickoff rules are essentially in place to add more player safety given the dangerous nature of kick returns.
Instead of an extra point field goal attempt after a touchdown, scoring teams can earn one extra point by converting two yards from the end zone. They can increase the amount of points they earn by lining up further away from the end zone. If they can convert from five yards out they earn two extra points, and a conversion ten yards from the goal line results in three extra points.
Pair that rule with the new onside kicking rules, and an 18 point lead can evaporate in a matter of five plays. Wild!
Overtime is decided with a three-round shootout of two-point conversions that mimics penalty shootouts in sports like hockey and soccer. There’s no coin-flip to see who goes first. Should a game head to overtime, the visiting team gets to start on offense first.
While it hasn’t had to happen yet, we have to think an overtime period in the XFL would be super exciting to watch given how new and differently it’s structured than what we’re typically used to in the sport. And we’d love to see how both winning and losing team’s fans react to the outcome of it.
If you think the league’s rules are fun, their approach to officiating and transparency in calling games is another breath of fresh air. Dean Blandino, the XFL’s VP of Officiating and Playing Rules Innovation, gives an in-depth look into the XFL’s approach towards officiating games on the league’s website that we highly recommend you check out.
So What About This Chicago XFL Team?
Ah yes, could Chicago host an XFL team? It’s a fun thing to consider with how the new league is becoming more popular in the world of football. We wouldn’t have any concerns about the appetite for a new team not being there. What Chicagoan wouldn’t want a new football team to root (or cry) for?
Plus, when you add in the context of the Chicago Bears moving out of the city for Arlington Heights, it almost makes sense to get a football team back in Chi Town. Soldier Field will obviously be up for grabs in the near future. Why not slot a Chicago XFL team in there? While we don’t have any sort of say in the matter, and making it a reality would involve a bunch of people and decisions to be made, we can help them get a head start with one important decision.
The team name.
We might not be able to come up with team names as classic as the Bears, Cubs, or Blackhawks, but we can give it a shot. Here are a few of our name ideas for a Chicago XFL team.
The Chicago Beans (tourists will love it). Chicago Windies (get it… wind?). Chicago L’s (get it… trains? Alright this one might suck). The Chicago Enforcers (our 2001 XFL team’s name). And last, but not least, the Chicago Flurry (get it… snow?).
Got a better idea for a Chicago XFL team name? Let us know in the DMs. Or, if you really want to get things moving, you can reach out to Lori Lightfoot’s office while they’re still there and give them the idea to see if they can get some pieces moving. They’ll have to find a new Soldier Field tenant at some point, might as well start considering options now.
Featured Image Credit: XFL on Instagram