The XFL has made a comeback, and after two weeks in the books, the league gave us a lot of exciting football. Sure, it’s not the NFL, but having live football on TV less than a week after the Super Bowl was a real treat, and the games were pretty fun to watch.
The XFL has plenty of rules that the NFL should adopt, from putting betting lines on scoreboards to how players line up on kickoffs, so if we’re lucky, maybe the league will consider using some of them in the future.
For now, let’s break down some of the best moments from the XFL season so far. We’ll update this piece each week of the season, or at least however long the season lasts.
Best fans: The DC Defenders’ home crowd that made this absolutely epic beer snake
During the DC Defenders’ home game against the St. Louis BattleHawks, fans created an incredible beer snake in the stands.
WE ARE DEALING WITH AN ALL-TIME BEER SNAKE FOLKS.— XFL (@xfl2020) March 8, 2020
THIS IS WHAT LEGENDS ARE MADE OF.
THIS IS THE XFL. pic.twitter.com/UYrDS7ut1I
We’ll see if anyone else can top this snake this season. Also shoutout to this Defenders fan who wore a Bud Light Seltzer box on his head all game:
Not the hero we deserved, but the hero we needed pic.twitter.com/jQfqhICe3q— XFL (@xfl2020) March 8, 2020
Thank you, D.C.
Most dad moment: This referee telling players to be quiet
During the Wildcats’ game against the Vipers, the mics picked up this hilarious message the referee had to the players:
This ref put on his ultimate dad voice to make this announcement, tbh.
Most mom moment: LA Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson telling his offensive coaches to stop fighting
Johnson had himself a big day on Sunday. During his team’s 41-34 win over Tampa, he threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns. After throwing his fourth touchdown of the game, he told his offensive coaches to stop arguing. He sounded just like a mom trying to calm down her kids in doing so:
"You guys are doing way too much arguing and complaining... Stop it."— XFL on FOX (@XFLonFOX) March 9, 2020
Josh Johnson was NOT happy with his OC after scoring his 4th TD of the game
: ESPN pic.twitter.com/qiN1weaMUR
While offensive coordinator Norm Chow probably doesn’t like this being broadcasted, you have to wonder how many times QBs say stuff like this to their coaches on the sideline. Shoutout to the XFL for giving us the access to hear these types of exchanges.
Weirdest turnover prop: The Seattle Dragons’ uh, turnover mask
Some college football teams have props like turnover chains, turnover trashcans, and even turnover shoulder pads. The Dragons opted for um, a different type of prop to say the least:
The mask first made an appearance during the Dragons’ Week 3 game against Dallas:
How are we feeling about the turnover mask? pic.twitter.com/hPZ1CuezAF— XFL (@xfl2020) February 22, 2020
I’m not sure how I feel about this prop, but perhaps I’ll warm up to it as the season goes on.
Best play: Boogie Roberts’ big man scoop-and-score touchdown:
The Wildcats were able to take a two-score lead over Tampa Bay in the fourth quarter thanks to this fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Roberts:
The Wildcats’ beat the Vipers, 41-34, so this touchdown was crucial for LA’s win. Had to be a fun moment for the Wildcats defensive tackle!
Best highlight: This tipped ball that turned into a one-handed catch
The Tampa Bay Vipers got their first win of the season by shutting out the DC Defenders 25-0 on Sunday. Tampa tight end Colin Thompson made this incredibly acrobatic catch after the ball was tipped off his teammate:
Not a bad highlight to have paired with your first win of the season, Vipers!
Unit of the week: Houston’s defense
The Roughnecks knocked off the Dallas Renegades 27-20, helped by their defense, which forced five Dallas turnovers. Renegades QB Landry Jones was intercepted three times. His last interception of the day was picked off by Demarquis Gates, who had a gorgeous fingertip grab deep in Roughnecks territory:
It’s pretty surprising this one ended as a one-score game with all of these turnovers, tbh. With Houston’s win, the Roughnecks are now the XFL’s only 4-0 team.
Player of the week: St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu
Ta’amu continues to light up defenses all season. He went 20-of-27 passing for 264 yards and a touchdown, and added another 63 yards rushing. This 43-yard bomb he threw was placed perfectly:
With the BattleHawks’ 23-16 win over the Seattle Dragons, St. Louis moved to 3-1 on the season, and is sitting atop the XFL East division.
Biggest hit: Please pray for this poor security guard who was pummeled by LA Wildcats receiver Levonte Whitfield
I really don’t know how he got up so quickly!
Unlimited respect to the security guy for absolutely EATING this hit and popping back up pic.twitter.com/TDRbDI1VvM— XFL (@xfl2020) February 29, 2020
Shoutout to him though for getting right back to doing his job though without any hesitation.
Best accessory: These ski goggles that BattleHawks head coach Jonathan Hayes, who wore in the winning locker room:
I love this so much.
More players and coaches should start donning ski goggles in winning locker rooms, imo.
Best play: This reverse pitch on a kick return touchdown
The XFL’s first-ever kickoff returned for a touchdown was a beauty. The St. Louis BattleHawks’ Keith Mumphery fielded it, then pitched it to Joe Powell on a reverse. Powell then took it to the house 90 yards:
This is a good example of the XFL’s kickoff rules being beneficial, too. The XFL lines up both teams on the same side as the receiving team. Players can then only move forward after the returner fields the ball, which makes the play a lot safer and more exciting.
The league’s full kickoff rules can be found here.
Best Bud Light seltzer chug: This guy literally tore the top of the can off with his teeth
No, I’m not kidding, this actually happened. Don’t try at home what BattleHawks defensive tackle Jake Payne did, people:
I’m not even mad. This is impressive.
Best celebration: LA Wildcats running back Martez Carter’s backflips
Carter finished with three touchdowns during the Wildcats’ 39-9 win over the DC Defenders. During one of his scores, he literally flipped into the end zone after promising on-air he’d show off his backflip:
He celebrated yet another touchdown with another backflip in the end zone:
MARTEZ CARTER IS ADDICTED TO SCORING TOUCHDOWNS AND DOING BACKFLIPS pic.twitter.com/R0jC5ihkMD— XFL (@xfl2020) February 24, 2020
I’d like to see a lot more backflip celebrations, please.
Best player: LA Wildcats QB Josh Johnson
Johnson helped the Wildcats get their first W of the season after throwing for 278 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 11.1 yards per attempt, too!
Johnson has played for a lot of different NFL teams, but he was with Washington most recently in 2018. He played in the last four games of the season due to injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. He finished the year 1-2 as a starter.
Best trade: This ingenious Girl Scout who successfully traded a box of Thin Mint cookies for a football
I mean, this is just smart all around. BattleHawks defensive tackle Casey Sayles found the fan holding the sign to make the trade:
Thin Mints are basically the only Girl Scout cookies that matter (don’t @ me), so this is both a fair and great trade, IMO.
Best postgame celebration: Bud Light seltzers
Bud Light is a sponsor of the XFL, so naturally, players get to celebrate with Bud Light seltzers after they win. Of course, the league provides very important footage of these winning locker rooms. This one from the Houston Roughnecks after their Week 2 win over the St. Louis Battlehawks might be my favorite:
And why of course there are seltzer shotgun celebrations!
My favorite part about this tweet is the hashtag #MutedForLanguage:
These are just too fun:
Will we ever get tired of these post-game celebrations?— XFL (@xfl2020) February 16, 2020
No. No we won't. pic.twitter.com/PsdEqHAWOL
Keep these coming, winning XFL teams.
Best moment with fans: DC Defenders offensive tackle Cole Boozer literally boozed with fans after games
Boozer played college at Temple, and spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from May 2018 until December 2019. He’s the Defenders’ starting right tackle now, and after DC’s 27-0 win over the New York Guardians in Week 2, he shared some celebratory beers with fans after the game:
Best on-field celebration: A Tampa Bay Viper player literally made a snake symbol!
Yup, Tampa defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock did this after making a defensive play:
Gotta respect the creativity here.
Coolest rule on display: The double forward pass
The DC Defenders pulled off this successful double pass against the Guardians, as running back Donnel Pumphrey passes back to QB Cardale Jones, who found his receiver DeAndre Thompkins way downfield:
Please implement this rule into the NFL, Roger Goodell.
Best in-game interview: Seattle Dragons C Dillon Day, who literally dropped an f-bomb on live television
No, I’m not kidding! In the first game of the season between Seattle and the DC Defenders, Day said the f-word on air after he was flagged for a personal foul penalty:
The XFL sideline interview is great "I'm just trying to get my fucking job done" pic.twitter.com/oIAsOH7nMP— gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 8, 2020
The best part is ABC immediately cutting off ESPN sideline reporter Dianna Russini’s microphone off, but it was too late. Everyone heard it, and it was glorious.
Sideline reporters’ access to coaches and players mid-game is one of the cooler parts about the XFL’s broadcasts — after a player makes a big play, they can be interviewed right after. This gives viewers real-time reactions you don’t see too often in the NFL.
Player of the week: Houston Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker
Houston’s QB threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns in the Roughnecks’ 37-17 win over the LA Wildcats, who then fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson two days after the game (!). Walker is only 5’11, but he stood tall in the pocket when he needed to, and didn’t shy away from making throws on the run, either:
Walker, who previously went by Phillip, played college football at Temple from 2013-16, and during his senior season he became the school’s all-time leading passer. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and was on and off their practice squad intermittently until August 2019.
St. Louis Battlehawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu also is worthy of an honorable mention, going 20-of-27 passing for 209 yards and a touchdown, and added another 77 yards on the ground to beat the Dallas Renegades, 15-9.
Ta’amu had a brief stint with the Houston Texans in 2019, but was released within a month.
Coolest rule: Instant replay
The transparency the XFL has with instant replay is so awesome. On the TV broadcasts, you can hear the replay booth taking a look at each call, and the replay officials are mic’d up:
I think this is a great way for fans to understand the decision-making process on certain calls, and having a better understanding of certain rules, too. I’d love to see something like this from the NFL’s replay center in New York.
The XFL regular season is 10 weeks long, with the playoffs and championship scheduled for late April. We’ll be along for the ride throughout the season.
And if you’re not sure which XFL team to root for this year, we’ve got you covered right here!