The XFL makes its return in 2020. Today, they officially released the names of the inaugural eight teams. Here they are, ranked.
Remember the Alliance of American Football? Neither do I. Never mind the lack of organization, talent, or payment of players, it’s all in the name. AAF doesn’t ring. AFL would have been fine, but AAF? It sounds more like an insurance company than a football league. Enter, the XFL.
Already widely established because of their brief, dangerous and, let’s go with “eccentric” single season back in 2001, the XFL is back. Sorry, I should have written that as if it came from a wrestling promoter. Let’s try again.
The XFL… is… BACK!
Many of us who are old enough to remember watching the first iteration of the XFL doesn’t remember how bad the football was. The league was extremely rough, both on and off the field. They scrapped conventional kickoffs for a dodgeball-like sprint that everyone knew would result in injury immediately (and it did, immediately), they relied heavily on the promotion of brain trauma before anyone truly knew the dangerous and lasting effects of concussions and they probably spent a little too much time focused on the cheerleaders.
There were a few good things to come out of the XFL, though. The overhead skycam that the NFL uses today brought us closer to the action, nicknames on the jerseys allowed players to express themselves (He Hate Me became a household name) and the league moved away from the useless kicking of the 20-yard extra point, something the NFL is still working on, having recently backed up the PAT to 33 yards.
The return of the XFL felt more official than ever today after the league dropped the names of the first eight teams that will be participating. Here they are:
First and foremost, one massive miss from the second edition of the XFL was not returning at least one original team. The original XFL included the Thunderbolts, Enforcers, Hitmen, Rage, Outlaws, Xtreme, Maniax and Demons. Okay, not much to choose from, but at the very least, the Hitmen and Outlaws should have been a part of the return of the league.
The new names aren’t all bad, though. Let’s run through the list and critique the XFL’s choices, starting with the worst:
Los Angeles Wildcats – Why does every non-major league feel they need to have a team named the Wildcats? There are probably well over a thousand teams named “Wildcats” in almost every level of every sport. Wildcats are the least frightening breed of wild cat. They are basically stray cats that live in jungles instead of cities. Leopards would have been cool.
Seattle Dragons – Did a child name this team? Tommy the six-year-old decided on this name because his favorite toy is a dragon. This was a prime opportunity for the XFL to steal the Seattle Kraken away from the NHL (who will probably waste it by going with Sockeyes anyway).
New York Guardians – Guardians of what? Garbage? In a perfect world, Eli Manning will be booed out of New York in time to sign a deal with the Guardians and carry on his legacy with the city. They should have gone with “Rogue” from The Dark Knight Rises.
D.C. Defenders – I actually like this name and logo. Not because they are cool, but because they look and sound like the next failed DC comic movie installment. Before comic book fans have a collective aneurysm – Yes, I know the Defenders are actually a Marvel superhero group.
Dallas Renegades – First, the western outlaw logo looks pretty cool. Second, they already have a rally song picked out. That logo does look familiar though…
Unlike some Dallas teams, hopefully, the Renegades owner values the importance of his future world-class running back.
Tampa Bay Vipers – Now we’re getting to the cool names. Vipers is bad-ass. How has no other league chosen this yet? Based on the name alone, the Vipers will be a force in the XFL. They also had the coolest introduction video.
Houston Roughnecks – This might be the only name that directly coincides with its city. For those of you who don’t know, a roughneck is what you call someone who works on an oil rig. Expect the Houston team to be one of the grittier teams in the league. “Mercenaries in the muck” is a great tag line.
St. Louis BattleHawks – I don’t need to know what a battlehawk is or where this name came from to proclaim them as not only the best named XFL team, but also the best breed of bird. Period. Bald eagles are really cool to see in the wild but I guarantee a battlehawk would have that thing pinned down and talon-ed to death in seconds. Here’s to hoping that “BattleHawks” become the new “Wildcats” of the sporting world.
kicks off begins in January or February of 2020. If they are smart, they’ll run Week 1 on the week of the Pro Bowl. The XFL actually has a chance to be successful this time around, especially if they can learn from the AAF’s mistakes.
Oh. And bring back the black and red ball.