With the XFL 20 years removed, it all seemed like an afterthought with the league going one and done when NBC bailed and no other major market waned to touch the league. Fans of the league remember how different the staging was compared to what the NFL wanted to portray: custom jersey names, removing the coin toss from the kickoff and instead making it a free for all, and giving fans access to practically everything, all down to the cheerleader locker rooms.
20 years later, nearly everyone forgot that the Los Angeles Xtreme were actually a pretty good football team. They were also winners of the only XFL championship, finishing also with a 7-3 record and had won most of their games by double digits. Of course, when you have an eventual NFL super bowl winning quarterback like Tommy Maddox and a CFL standout like Jermaine Copeland, teams like that will be hard to beat.
Los Angeles was then awarded with a second chance at the league that has revamped itself as trying to not compete with anyone else. With far different rules compared to the NFL, fans on Sunday were treated to a much different, and arguably more fan friendly experience. Fans got shout-outs from the players all game long. They were greeted to a much more inexpensive football experience full of pregame parties, autographs from the players, and in your face action.
With all the positives outside of the game, inside was a little different. The Wildcats last week were manhandled by Houston which led to the firing of defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson. Their defense was much better against Dallas on Sunday, but both sides could not score. In fact, the Wildcats drove the ball inside the Renegades 10 yard line, only to cough up the football. Back and forth the two teams were unable to find the endzone until the fourth quarter when Josh Johnson found Nelson Spruce in the back of the endzone to give the Wildcats their first lead of the 2020 season.
Dallas eventually found the endzone after the ensuing Wildcats touchdown with Cameron Curtis Payne capping off a six play drive going 68 yards in just three minutes. By then both offenses picked everything up, but trading touchdowns ended up going into the hands of Dallas with a 25-18 victory.
“The adjustments in the second half kept us in,” Johnson said. “But the entire game we left a lot on the field, and I mean a lot. We have to use this week in practice to get mentally better.”
“Right now we are just making mistakes,” Spruce said. “The only good news is that we aren’t getting overmatched completely. But
All in all though, it seemed like that fans cared more about being in the action more than anything else. The announced crowd of 14,979 made the game the way it was. All the oos and ahhs after each play, starting waves that rocked the stadium, and your usual fight in the stands breaking out here and there gave everyone the full on experience that certainly will want people to come out again, so it seems.
“This was definitely a different experience, and a great one at that,” Wildcats head coach Winston Moss said. “The great thing about Los Angeles is if we win, the city will back you up. I am disappointed that we didn’t get the win today, but I am thrilled that the fans showed up and I definitely felt a lot of that today.”
At 0-2, the Wildcats do appear to be far apart from teams like DC and Houston. Having late scoring surges trying to keep up will make this short 10 week season drag in a hurry if they can’t find themselves. Taking on a DC team that has already scored 58 points through the first two weeks could already be sensing trouble for the Wildcats in week 3.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Moss said. “Right now it’s a ball security issue. We can’t win games if we can’t take care o the football. During our practices that is one of our main focuses. If we can’t take care of the football, there is no way we can win in any type of football game.”