XFL Keeps Score with Champion Data

Stamford, Conn., November 15, 2019 – The XFL today named Champion Data its official statistics partner. Champion Data will develop, build, and maintain proprietary technology for the XFL to deliver a comprehensive data solution.

The partnership will provide the league with in-depth statistical collection and reporting, advanced research and analysis, and editorial services. Champion Data employees will work closely with the XFL’s headquarters in Connecticut and also train in-venue staff to capture data at every game.

“Champion Data is a proven innovator in sports stats and analytics and we are excited to be building an end-to-end, low-latency stats platform and API in partnership with the team,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “Our solution is designed to bring the most comprehensive game-day statistics to our fans and our partners, in real-time, across every platform that matters.”

“Champion Data is thrilled to partner with the XFL to help evolve the game of football and re-think how statistics are captured, analyzed and presented,” said Chris Hume, Champion Data Director. “At Champion Data we understand the power of statistics – the story behind the game – and we look forward to supporting all XFL stakeholders from the league through to the teams, broadcast partners, sponsors and, most importantly, the fans.”

Beyond the day-to-day relationship, the XFL and Champion Data will explore new business opportunities together and across sports data and technology.

Over the past 20 years, Champion Data has grown to become Australia’s leading provider of official live sports data and related services, including data visualization, advanced data analytics, coaching products, and athlete tracking. Champion Data is the official statistics provider to the Australian Football League (AFL), Australia’s leading professional football code featuring 18 professional teams. For more information, visit www.championdata.com.

To learn more and receive updates on XFL stats API, visit www.xfl.com/api.

Bob Stoops Squashes Florida State, College Rumors

All that we have been hearing in the past few weeks was the rumor that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops was going to bolt from the team and head to Tallahassee to coach the Florida State Seminoles football team after they fired Willie Taggart with only a season and a half under his belt.

After Taggart’s firing, the rumors grew like a wildfire when Stoops was found in early November at a Dan Marino Foundation event held in Florida. There were even journalistw based in Florida that were convinced that he was going to agree on a deal with Florida State to be the head coach. Stoops took this chance to shut down the rumors by telling ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit that he was not a candidate for the job.

This week, XFL coaches and team presidents are at the league’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut as they discuss the upcoming season. Stoops gave fans more of a reinsurance when he commented on why he came out of retirement to coach the Renegades by saying, “I believe in this league. I believe in our leadership. I believe in these head coaches, that we’re gonna put a good product out there. That’s going to be exciting, and fun to watch, and fun to be a part of.”

He also made an appearance on ESPN Central Texas Wednesday where he answered a question about his future in coaching college. ““Well you never know what the Lord is going to bring you,” Stoops said. “Everybody wants you to define your life at every age. At 50, they wanted me to know what I was going to do the rest of my life. And at 55, and now at 59, everyone thinks you gotta, you know, who knows what I’ll be doing next year or the year after. You don’t know what you’re going to be doing next year. And the good Lord is the only one who knows. We’ll see where things end up for me.”

This isn’t new to Stoops as his name was brought up for the Auburn job last season when Gus Malzahn was on the hot seat before keeping his job. Fans should expect this to not be the end of the rumors as well as his name has also been brought up for the USC job should that be open.

He will always be at the top of every college head coaching job as he’s one of the most decorated coaches in college football in the past two decades and in history. Renegade fans can rest assure that Stoops seems to be staying for at least this upcoming season.

Fans can watch Bob Stoops and the Renegades kick off their season at their new home in Globe Life Park when they take on the St. Louis Battlehawks Sunday, February 9th at 4:00 pm central time.

Official XFL Football should be revealed soon

We all know how much XFL fans loved the original black and red XFL football. Nothing can beat the look of that ball, but, can a modernly engineered football be the right fit for #XFL2020?

Last week, the Dallas Renegades tweeted a teaser from the “Team Issue” headquarters in the “Big Game” football factory in Dallas, Texas, where they were shooting video for the grand reveal.

From the Team Issue website: https://www.teamissue.com/

Team Issue is engineering the future of football technology. We’ve worked under the simple mission of enhancing athletic performance through innovation and superior design. Meticulously crafted, rigorously tested and fully customizable, Team Issue footballs are the best ever created.”

“The game is evolving, so why shouldn’t your football? At Team Issue, we develop the technologies that propel your game forward. Built with cutting-edge innovation, unsurpassed quality and an unprecedented commitment to excellence, we’ve designed the best football ever made.”

The official football is one of the items XFL fans literally want to get their hands on. Currently there is no news when and where the ball will be available for purchase, however we expect this news to be released soon.

Late in October, an XFLBoard.com message board participant posted an image of a ball that appears to be at least a prototype of the new ball. http://xflboard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1758

Post by LeoNY » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:29 pm
I saw this and screen shot it. It was in a YouTube video on the XFL careers channel. I don’t know if this is the final design but unlike the X pinpoint balls we saw in the Showcase photos. This actually has the XFL logo on it. It’s not as cool as the original XFL ball, which was more for style than substance. Knowing this version of the XFL. The ball was probably created with player performance in mind.

This is exciting, right?

Tight End Dimitrios Tsesmetzis soon to join the DC Defenders

Dimitrios Tsesmetzis catces a pass at the New York XFL Summer Showcase.
Dimitrios Tsesmetzis catches a pass at the New York XFL Summer Showcase.

As a youngster growing up in upstate New York, Dimitrios Tsesmetzis started playing football. He mostly played on offense, in the positions of left tackle and guard. However, as he grew older, he became lankier and longer.

“I was a very short, heavy-set kid. I made it all the way to freshman year (of high school) playing left tackle,” Dimitrios explained. “Then from freshman year to sophomore year, I went from 5’10” to 6’4″. My coach told me to go out and catch a ball. I caught my first ball and then he was like, all right, play tight end. And that’s where it all started.”

Once Tsesmetzis started playing tight end, his height, coupled with his wide wingspan, became his on-field weapons. Currently, Tsesmetzis stands 6’7″ with cleats on.

After high school, Dimitrios played for the Division 3 Western Connecticut State University Colonials. When he emerged from college, he was hungry for a pro-football career and was faced with the challenge of finding a spot on a roster. He was passed over in the NFL draft, but was eventually selected by the San Antonio Commanders in the Alliance of American Football. Unfortunately, Dimitrios only made it through the first Commander’s mini-camp before being cut.

Dimitrios refers to his time with the Commanders with a positive attitude. “Definitely a great experience,” he said. “It showed me what I needed to work on. I got right back into the gym, worked on all of it. Got right mentally, especially.”

From this learning experience, Dimitrios played with the Spring League in Austin, Texas in April 2019. In some way, this led to two separate XFL Summer Showcase invitations, in New York and Houston. Tsesmetzis chose to go to the showcase in New York, mainly because it was closer to home.

Dimitrios performed well at the showcase, and interest in his skills flourished. Later in the fall, he was invited to the XFL draft, where he was selected by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the draft.

On the first day of the XFL draft, Dimitrios and his father followed the picks closely. However, they did not hear Dimitrios’ name called on the first day, so they planned to follow the open draft picks on day two.

“I think that the open draft wasn’t live, so I was just waiting around,” Dimitrios explained. “It was raining really hard one day, and I was on my way to the training facility. Someone DM’d me a picture, and it was that the Defenders had picked me.”

When asked if he was ready for the Defenders first mini-camp in December, Dimitrios was quick to respond. “Definitely,” he said. “I’ve been preparing since I got the call.”

Demetrious is also enthusiastic to be able to learn from the Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton, assistant head coach Brent Battle and tight ends coach Chris Scelfo.

“I know that when we get the mini-camp we’re going to put in the work and we’re going to be the best team in the XFL,” Dimitrios added.

The entire interview with Dimitrios Tsesmetzis may be found in XFL Xtra Episode 10-2019 – Breaking in

 

XFL Xtra Episode 10-2019 – Breaking in – Dimitrios Tsesmetzis and XFLChick

Dimitrios Tsesmetzis, a tall tight end that impressed coaches at the New York XFL Summer Showcase, was drafted by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the XFL draft. We talk to Dimitrios and learn why he feels the XFL is part of his journey to a lengthy and productive pro-football career. Then we talk to “XFLChick,” one of a few female XFL fans on Twitter. We hear why she follows the XFL, about her views as to how the XFL could draw more female fans, how it’s more than men that enjoy fantasy football, and we talk about the social media game of #XFL teams.

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XFL Seattle Dragons – Defensive Front Seven (Phase 3) Recap

Phase 3 Seattle Dragons Recap

RD 1: Stansly Maponga DE

The 28-year-old edge rusher from TCU was drafted in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2013 NFL Draft. Maponga went on to play for 3 other NFL teams before getting drafted by the Dragons. A scouting report by Wes Tueve (Bleacher Report)  said this about Maponga “Despite being somewhat undersized, Maponga plays with power. He can be seen driving offensive linemen backward, and he is rarely overpowered himself. Maponga’s pass-rush repertoire includes a variety of moves to get to the quarterback. Though only 6’2″, Maponga has long arms (34.125″) and strong, active hands that show up in both the run and pass games.” Being their first selection the Dragons probably intend to make Maponga one of their primary pass rushers.

RD 2: Nick Temple LB

The Bearcat LB is another former Commander player as the Dragons keep loading up with familiar faces for Mike Riley. Temple is a shorter (5’10) LB but he was extremely productive at Cincinnati. He bounced around between the NFL and the CFL before playing with the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF.  While he may be smaller, Dragon’s fans will love Temple as he will fly from sideline to sideline and be the captain of this Dragon’s defense.

RD 3: Will Sutton DT

Sutton was 3 star DT coming out of high school and committed to Arizona State. Sutton flourished at ASU, he was an All-American and earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Chicago Bears and played there for 3 years. Sutton followed that up with brief stints in Minnesota and San Francisco. Last spring, Sutton played 8 games for the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots where he posted 15 tackles, one sack, and two pass knockdowns. Sutton was the first defensive tackle drafted by the Dragons and will be a key cog in this front seven.

RD 4: Tenny Palepoi DT

The second-team All-Pac 12 selection recorded 74 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks at the University of Utah before going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft. Palepoi signed with the Chargers but lost his full 2015 season to injuries. In 2018, Palepoi joined the Bills camp in the off-season. Like Sutton, Palepoi played in the AAF and was a key part of the Salt Lake Stallions run defense – which was the best in the league.

RD 5: Jacquies Smith DE

The former 2nd team All-Big 12 Selection bounced around between the NFL and CFL before settling into Tampa Bay in 2014. Smith recorded 17 combined tackles, 13 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble for the 2014 season in only 8 starts. Smith struggled with injuries the next few years and bounced around to a few more NFL squads. Now Smith is looking for an opportunity with the Dragons and will hope to be an impactful EDGE rusher this Spring.

RD 6: Steven Johnson LB

Johnson is one of the oldest players on the team and in the league but is just as hungry. Johnson had no college offers coming out of high school so he enrolled at Wyoming Seminary. Johnson started to catch some college scouts attention with his 62 tackles, two interceptions, and four rushing TDs in 5 games. Unfortunately, Johnson tore his ACL and LCL in what was a career-threatening injury. Johnson rehabbed and rebounded by walking onto the University of Kansas football team. In his career with Kansas, Johnson recorded 225 total tackles, 3 sacks, and an interception. Johnson went undrafted in 2012 and made the 53 man roster on the Denver Broncos, starting 7 games over 3 seasons. After a 6 year,Johnson signed with the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots and had a pick-six in their season opener. Johnson should provide some great leadership on this team given his experience but make no mistake, he is here to compete as well.

RD 7: Taniela Tupou DT

Another local product gets a shot with the Dragons as they drafted Tupou in the 7th round of the front seven draft. Tupou attended Archbishop Murphy high school, played for UW football and the Seattle Seahawks. Tupou started a game at FB for the Seahawks but was drafted as a DT for the Dragons. Tupou also played for the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots and recorded 5 tackles and a sack in a game for them. Tupou will look for a big run-stuffing role this Spring.

RD 8: Danny Ezechukwu DE

Ezechukwu was an honorable mention All-Big 10 linebacker and defensive end for Purdue and signed to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent. Ezechukwu saw action in the preseason for the Eagles but could not stick there long term. Ezechukwu did not receive a combine invitation but still posted impressive numbers at his pro day. He ran a 4.68 40 yard dash, posted 26 reps on the bench press, and had 31.5 inches on his vertical and 117 inches on his broad jump. Ezechukwu has a real chance to be a solid pass-rusher for this team.

RD 9: Pasoni Tasini DT

The 6’3 307 lb. DT from Utah was selected with the 9th pick in the front seven draft by the Seattle Dragons. Tasini recorded 35 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 6 pass breakups in college. Tasini spent time between the Cardinals practice squad and active roster for 2 years and now looks to make an impact on opposing teams run games come February.

RD 10: Praise Martin-Oguike DE

Martin-Oguike was born in Abia State, Nigeria and moved to New Jersey at the age of 10. Martin-Oguike went on to play college football at Temple and recorded 124 tackles, 20 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 6 blocked field goals, and an interception. Martin-Oguike spent the 2018 summer with the Miami Dolphins and the 2017 summer with the Arizona Cardinals. Martin-Oguike will hopefully be apart of a solid Dragon’s pass-rush rotation.

Drafted Twice. Defensive Lineman Kristjan Sokoli goes to the XFL DC Defenders

Kristjan Sokoli Seahawks

Born in Albania, Kristjan Sokoli is the son of Albanian immigrants. When Kristjan came to America at nine-years old, he was an avid soccer fan. However, he later fell in love with football after he witnessed his cousin playing the game.

“I was really crazy about soccer,” Kristjan said. “At about 12-13 years old, I started watching my cousin play high school football. He played with a tenacity and aggression I really admired.”

With his cousin as his role model, Kristjan began to play football.

After a shining high school football career at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Kristjan was offered a full scholarship at the University of Buffalo in return for playing with the Bulls. Kristjan originally heard about the University of Buffalo offer through his high school football coach, Coach Carter.

“I remember very vividly, he (Carter) calls me, he says, ‘Moose, Buffalo is going to call you in about five minutes. They’re going to offer you a scholarship.'” Sokoli recalled. He also recalled being very eager to accept the offer, especially since attending college was foremost in his mind. “Buffalo was telling me on the phone, we want you to come visit this weekend, make up your mind when you come here… and I’m just, ‘no sir, I’m committing. I’m taking this scholarship.'”

Sokoli claims he didn’t even know where Buffalo was, but a few days later he, his parents, and his brother, went to visit the campus. Kristjan fell in love with a beautiful snowy Buffalo in January, combined with the fact he was being offered a golden opportunity to play football and get a college education.

Although he had played a variety of positions in his high school days, once at Buffalo, Sokoli became a full-time defensive lineman. When he came to Buffalo, he stood at 6’5″ and weighed 220 pounds, however, by the time he was in his junior year, he had grown to 300 pounds. This is when he won a starting position on the defensive line.

“It was wild, but that was a college cafeteria, and getting into my age, I was turning twenty then,” Kristjan explained his weight gain. “Zack Duvall did a great job with us there. He got us bigger, faster, and stronger. Definitely bigger and stronger. For a guy like me, honestly, that program worked.”

For two years, Sokoli was an integral part of a Buffalo pass rush which was led by future first-round draft pick Khalil Mack.

Sokoli’s college career led to him being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. However, the boost of being drafted into the NFL led to a challenge, as the Seahawks wanted Sokoli to play on the other side of the ball and switch to being a center on the offensive line. Kristjan accepted the challenge, but things did not work out.

“I wanted to make it work bad as hell, man,” Kristjan lamented. “Especially going into that second training camp, I just didn’t have a good camp. It just wasn’t consistent enough and I understood why they wanted to go in a different direction.”

Kristjan’s heart told him he was still meant to be a defensive lineman. “I’m meant to be a D-lineman…  I have an attack nature, and an aggressive nature. That’s my mentality. I really felt my best chance was playing defensive line.”

From the Seahawks, Sokoli went to the Colts, Saints and then finally to the Giants… and an opportunity to make the team as a defensive lineman.

“I remained with the Giants throughout their GM changes and coaching changes in the off-season in 2018. I was having a really solid camp actually, and I tore my ACL on the first game,” Kristjan said.

“The first (NFL) training camp at D-line, fourth training game. I finally had a shot to play D line.”

Kristjan is quick to say that he doesn’t consider this to be a “sob story.” He still counts his blessings and points out he has had a lot of breaks in his life and, despite the setbacks, still considers himself to be lucky.

We all know that every setback can be followed by an opportunity, which is what Sokoli found, starting with attending an XFL Summer Showcase, and then being drafted by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the 2019 XFL Draft.

With training camps coming up Kristjan has turned his attention to preparing for football.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited, you know? Four weeks of training here, five weeks maybe before we go into mini camp training,” Sokoli said. “I just feel like I’m in a good place and I’m, I’m around good people and I’m just really excited for the opportunity and the ability to be able to focus.”

“I left my job at Merill Lynch in good terms,” Kristjan said. “I plan to go back when football’s done. But to be able to say that for five weeks, I can just really dial in on football and football only, as a blessing. And to have good people in my corner.”

For now, Kristjan is back to focusing on football, however, he hopes to return to an investor job when football ends.

“I got to get my series seven, and I tested two days ago, and I passed that. So, I was really excited to get that done,” Kristjan said, referring to passing his test to become a registered financial representative. “I definitely plan to be back in that after football.”

Smartly, Kristjan has leveraged the Business Administration degree he received at the University of Buffalo into a budding career. In fact, when Sokoli got the news of being drafted to the XFL, he was driving home from a job at Merrill Lynch. Now, he has put his business career on hiatus, just so he can return to professional football.

He feels he could help young footballers invest their money, just so they have a nest egg after the football money dries up.

“Two or three-hundred grand invested wisely could mean $15-$20,000 a year for the rest of your life… and then as that money grows, it becomes $30,000 a year the rest of your life.”

Kristjan is not just a great football player. He’s also smart with money.

In respect to his football career, a good-natured Kristjan likes to point out a bit of trivia.

“I think I’m one of the very few athletes, I guess, with the privilege of being drafted twice,” a jovial Sokoli pointed out. “It’s very cool.”

To hear the entire interview with Kristjan Sokoli, check out Episode 9 of our XFL Xtra podcast.

XFL Xtra Episode 9-2019 – Comebacks – Kristjan Sokoli and Jai Nokes

DC Defenders draft pick Kristjan Sokoli, a former defensive lineman for the University of Buffalo Bulls, and sixth round draft pick for the Seattle Seahawks, had a three-year NFL season that was cut short by an untimely injury. We talk to Kristjan about his time in college, his NFL career, and the fact that he is coming to the XFL because he has something to prove. Then we talk with XFLBoard.com Dallas Renegades team reporter Jai Nokes. He will tell us why he has decided to follow the XFL, the chances of the Dallas Renegades under Coach Bob Stoops, a budding rivalry with the Houston Roughnecks, and why the city of Dallas will embrace the Renegades.

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DC Defenders XFL 2020 Schedule Analysis

DC Defenders Schedule

When is a game more than just a game? When an entire league’s reputation and perception are potentially at stake. Superbowl III was more than just a game. The truth is that while talks were on-going and probably inevitable, of a merger between the NFL and AFL back in the late sixties, the two league experiment wasn’t going very well. The NFL was the superior football league and the first two non-NFL championship game “Superbowls” were noncompetitive and just glorified exhibitions. They didn’t draw very well and lacked credibility in the football world. The AFL didn’t appear as if it really belonged.  As heavy underdogs, the Jets carried the burden of an entire league on their shoulders when they upset the Baltimore Colts. A year later, the Chiefs would go to win the Superbowl and solidify the now AFC forever.

On Saturday, February 8th, 2020.   The XFL is actually going to get a second chance to make a first impression. The original XFL’s first chance to make an impression failed in spectacular fashion. The league debuted in front of a sold-out crowd in Las Vegas on primetime network television.  For a first-year league playing its first-ever game, the expectations and ratings were through the roof. Unfortunately, the game and the entire league crashed through the basement floor. The league wasn’t ready for primetime and it never really recovered from the premiere game in the public’s eyes. The play and product did get better as the season progressed but it was too little, too late. This time around, the league is debuting on ABC and Fox, in a back to back network doubleheader in the afternoon but the same stakes are in place. The question leading into the XFL 2020 schedule reveal was, “How would the current XFL go about scheduling their first and arguably most important game of the season?”  In terms of the mainstream public, none of the games have more importance than the first impression that the XFL makes. How the premiere game plays out will have an effect on football fans who are on the fence about watching the XFL, and whether they will decide to continue watching the league.

The choice for the premiere game could have been in Dallas. After all, Texas is football country. Globe Life Park is being retrofitted and reimagined for pro football. Bob Stoops is making his return to the sidelines, with the Innovator of the Air Raid Offense, Hal Mumme calling plays for Stoops former Quarterback Landry Jones. While Dallas Cowboys legend Daryl “Moose” Johnston watches the Renegades team he constructed along with Stoops.

The kickoff game for the XFL could have been St. Louis in The Dome. The return of pro football to the River City.  It could also have been in Los Angeles, with the Wildcats kicking off the season from the city where LA’s last pro football champions played. The premiere game could have been on the biggest stage possible with New York at Metlife Stadium. What’s old is new again could have been the theme with June Jones and his legendary run and shoot offense making a spring pro football comeback to the city of Houston. Decades after lighting up scoreboards with the Houston Gamblers in the USFL. The XFL season could have started in Tampa, six days after the Superbowl is played in the very same venue. One of the best and most passionate sports cities in the world in Seattle could have also played host to the XFL’s return.

The DC Defenders are getting the honor and distinction of being the team that kicks off the XFL season at home. Arguably the most important game of the entire XFL season and league is the first one.  At the start of any season, there is always pressure to win and get off on the right foot. This opening game goes beyond just the normal pressures of winning and losing. The DC Defenders and Seattle Dragons share in the same pressure of being the game that sets the tone and creates a new first impression for the league.

WEEK 1- HOME VS THE SEATTLE DRAGONS- SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8th, 2PM  ET/11AM PT, AUDI FIELD, ABC

A lot of firsts in this game. This will be Pep Hamilton’s first-ever game as a pro football head coach. It could be Cardale Jones first-ever start as a pro football quarterback. Both the Head Coach and Quarterback are finally getting their chance to shine in roles they have waited quite some time for.  Legendary Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Jim Zorn brings his Seattle Dragons, to the scene of his previous crimes in DC. At least that’s the way, DC football fans feel about Jim Zorn and his time coaching there. This is a very early game for Seattle, so it’s possible that the Dragons come out to DC a day or two earlier just to get adjusted. The setting is a unique one. While XFL teams like Seattle, play in tradition football stadiums, the Defenders will be playing their home games at the home of Major League Soccer’s DC United. A beautiful smaller-sized stadium that is designed to make the fans feel like they are on the field with the players.  Early returns on ticket sales have been positive and this game has the potential to be at or near capacity come February. If you are a fan of football weather in the winter, this game has a chance to fill that need. Two of the teams playing in the coldest weather environments will be playing at home in week one in NY and DC, and it would make for an interesting style of play if this game ends up with snowy conditions.

WEEK 2- HOME VS THE NEW YORK GUARDIANS- SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH, 2PM/ET, AUDI FIELD, ABC

DC has 4 games currently scheduled on ABC, with a potential 5th in the final week of the season. This is the Defenders’ first divisional game on their schedule. The two markets have pro football history going back between one another for many years now. They are natural rivals. DC has 4 of their first 6 games at home. So these home divisional games are going to be very important for the Defenders.

WEEK 3- AT THE LOS ANGELES WILDCATS- SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23rd, 6 PM ET/9 PM PT, DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK, FS1

Much like the Defenders, the Wildcats play in a soccer stadium that the Chargers and MLS’s LA Galaxy share. This is DC’s longest road trip of the season after starting off the first two weeks at home. To their benefit, it is a later game and they do have an extra day to prep for it. The weather can be a complete contrast from what DC has seen up until this point. Cardale Jones returns to LA, the place he has been in the NFL since 2017.

WEEK 4- AT THE TAMPA BAY VIPERS- SUNDAY MARCH 1ST, 7PM ET, RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM, ESPN 2

The second straight road and night game for the Defenders. This can technically be considered the league’s first prime time game. This is also the first game where the Defenders will be playing in a traditional pro football stadium.

WEEK 5- HOME VS THE ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS- SUNDAY MARCH 8TH, 3PM ET/2 PM CT, AUDI FIELD, FS1

The Defenders return home after a 2 game road trip. This will be their second straight divisional matchup. The game features a  battle of two first time head coaches in Hamilton and Jonathan Hayes. Hamilton, Hayes and Winston Moss are the three coaches in the league who all share the same distinction. FS1 is a frequent home for Defender games during the season. This is also the third of five straight Sunday games for the Defenders.

WEEK 6- HOME VS THE THE DALLAS RENEGADES- SUNDAY MARCH 15TH, 4 PM ET, AUDI FIELD, FS1

This could be a preview of the XFL Championship game. Two of the more accomplished Quarterbacks in the entire league face off in Cardale Jones and Landry Jones. This is a crucial stretch for the Defenders before they close the regular season playing 3 of their last 4 games on the road. The Renegades are projected and rightfully so to be one of the league’s best teams. This is another market in Dallas, that DC has a long-standing natural rivalry with.

WEEK 7- AT THE HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS- SUNDAY MARCH 22ND, 6PM ET, TDECU STADIUM, FS1

In a wide-open fast-paced league that the XFL figures to be, this matchup is one of the reasons that DC went so corner heavy in their DB draft, taking 7 corners in total. You need them all against June Jones and the Run and Shoot offense.

WEEK 8- HOME VS THE TAMPA BAY VIPERS- SATURDAY MARCH 28TH, 2P ET,  AUDI FIELD, ABC

The final home game of the season at Audi Field for the DC Defenders. If the Defenders win the Eastern Division, they will not be able to host a playoff game at Audi Field, as the venue will not be available. It’s unfortunate but the drawback to not being a primary tenant. DC hopes to be in that position by the end of the season. The league would have to set up potential alternate sites. RFK is not in the cards and FedEx may not be either. So it’s possible that in the DMV, Navy or Maryland’s football stadiums could be alternate sites. Since the league’s championship game figures to be at a neutral site. This would only be a 1-week issue. The Defenders are going to have to win this game to keep any home game playoff scenarios a reality. They are finally back playing on ABC and on Saturday afternoon.

WEEK 9- AT THE NEW YORK GUARDIANS- SATURDAY APRIL 4TH, 2 PM ET, METLIFE STADIUM, ABC

Huge divisional matchup. The Defenders close out their season with two straight divisional games on the road. If DC makes the playoffs, they will have earned it.

WEEK 10- AT THE ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS- SUNDAY APRIL 12TH, GAME TIME TBD, THE DOME AT AMERICA’S CENTER, ABC/FS1

The time and channel that this game will air are yet to be determined. Disney and Fox are supposed to make that decision in March. The western division playoff teams could  be decided on Saturday. It’s all about the East on Sunday. Depending on where the Defenders and BattleHawks stand by seasons end. This could end be the toughest road game for any team in the XFL. If the playoffs are on the line in this game. St. Louis is going to be electric. New York and Tampa play on this final day of the regular season as well. So all 4 division teams play each other in the final weekend. Only two of them are going to the playoffs. There’s a chance that DC could be headed right back here in the following week or that St. Louis could be headed to play DC. Rather fitting that DC could be in the position of starting and finishing the XFL regular season.

Seattle Dragons Phase 2 – XFL Draft Recap

RD 1 : Isaiah Battle OT

With the first pick of the offensive linemen phase, the Seattle Dragons selected Isaiah Battle from Clemson. In 2015, Battle was drafted in the 5th round of the supplemental draft by the St. Louis Rams. He went on to play for 3 more teams before being waived by the Panthers back in May. Battle should start the season as the Dragon’s LT and will have a big duty to keep Silver’s blindside clean.

RD 2: Venzell Boulware OG

Seattle went for the 6’3 306 lb guard Venzell Boulware with their 2nd pick in this phase. Boulware originally played for Tennessee but then transferred to Miami for the 2018 season. Boulware has the capability to play both guard and tackle but is listed as a guard and should start the season there.

RD 3: Dillon Day C

Seattle chose the Mississippi State product as their first center in round 3. Day went undrafted in the 2015 NFL draft but he did play for 5 NFL teams and won a super bowl with the Broncos. Milehighreport.com had this to say about Day: “Intelligent with strong competitive streak. Rarely busts on tape and is assignment-oriented. Good vision and anticipation of twists and games up front. Can come off of block quickly to pick up twist or blitzer. Thick through middle with good bubble. Plays with desired toughness at the point of attack and is a fighter in tight quarters. Not always pretty, but gets guys blocked.” Day is the favorite to start at center for the Dragons in February.

RD 4: Cyril Richardson OG

Richardson has the most NFL experience out of all these linemen so far. He was an all-american for Baylor in college and got drafted in the 5th round by the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Richardson started 4 games for them and signed with the Bears in 2016. Richardson is also the fifth San Antonio Commander on the roster as he played under Mike Riley there and should be used to the scheme. Richardson is a powerful blocker and should move piles for the Dragons in the run-game.

Rd 5: Quinterrius Eatmon OT

A heralded recruit, Eatmon played his college ball at Southern Florida and was a key cog in an offensive line that helped Marlon Mack (starting RB for the Indianapolis Colts) run for 1000 yards in 2014. Eatmon signed as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders where he saw limited action. Eatmon also participated in the Spring League in 2018. Eatmon will battle to be a starting tackle for the Dragons this upcoming Winter.

Rd 6: Michael Dunn OT

The Maryland product was a versatile linemen for the AAF’s Birmingham Iron this past spring and got signed to the Miami Dolphins shortly after the AAF folded. Dunn played both guard and tackle for the Iron and was a top 10 run blocker in the AAF. He will battle for starting jobs across the line and should end up contributing to this Dragons team.

Rd 7: Kirk Barron C

Barron was a UDFA out of Purdue and has been on both the Dolphins and the Bengals. Barron is explosive, he ran a 5.19 and can dunk a basketball but has not been able to be given a true shot yet. The athletic center will get his shot to prove himself with the Dragons and will hope to lock down an interior line spot.

Rd 8: Jordan Rose OT

The Spokane native played at the University of Idaho and was Sun Belt honorable mention his senior year. At 6’6 315 Rose will battle for a position on the Oline with some of the other later round picks

Rd 9: Robert Myers OG

Myers was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft by the Ravens. He played for 3 more teams over the next 2 years and played with the AAF’s Memphis Express last Spring. A scouting report on Bleacher Report said this about Robert Myers “A solid technician, Myers wins with footwork and toughness in the trenches and in space. He has the movement skills to pull and trap and has shown he can get out of his spot and make impact blocks. He’s tough and plays with the instincts and football IQ coaches love.” Myers was the 3rd Guard taken in the draft for Seattle and will compete for playing time.

Rd 10: Craig McCorkle OG

The 6’5 290 linemen played 30 career games at Cal U of Penn. McCorkle was extremely productive in college as he anchored a really good Oline and earned 1st team all-conference honors his last two years. McCorkle will have to battle for a roster spot but has versatility which should help him.