Sports

DC Defenders Gear Up for Home Opener

Six days after the NFL season ended with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, more football will be played Saturday in the District.

The DC Defenders, one of the eight teams in the revamped XFL, will host the Seattle Dragons at 2 p.m. at Audi Field in Southwest, home to the DC United soccer team.

Some players on the Defenders roster includes Cardale Jones, the former Ohio State quarterback who played in the 2015 college football championship game against the Marcus Mariota and the University of Oregon.

Another player, Derrick Hayward, played tight end at the University of Maryland in College Park from 2013-17.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon, along with Alpha Entertainment, invested in the pro football venture that will be televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox and Fox Sports 1.

The previous XFL league faltered in 2001 when McMahon attempted to compete with the NFL by focusing more on gimmicks than gameplay.

According to ESPN.com, McMahon invested $100 million of WWE stock into this season’s league, which will last for 10 weeks with playoffs on April 18-19 and the championship game April 26.

The Defenders will be in a the league’s four-team East division, along with the New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks and Tampa Bay Vipers.

Seattle is joined in the West division by the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks and Los Angeles Wildcats.

Some plays pro football fans don’t see in the NFL will be on display in the XFL. For instance, there will be multiple forward passes, no extra-point kicks after touchdowns and the clock will stop after each play in the final two minutes of each half.

In regard to point-after-touchdown attempts, teams will have three options: running a play from scrimmage at the two-yard line, worth one point; from the five-yard line for two points; or from the 10-yard line for three points.

“In all four scrimmage games, we averaged 173 plays. There is going to be one or two delay-of-game [penalties], which isn’t the worst thing in the world,” XFL CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck said Jan. 25 on the league website. “By and large, players were cognizant of the rules because they’ve been working on them since early December.”

To view the Defenders schedule, go to xfl.com.

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