XFL announces teams for 2023 to restart; Washington is among them

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Suspension

When the XFL returns in February, football will also take place in the country’s capital.

On Sunday night, ahead of the league’s third iteration, the XFL announced the cities and locations where its eight teams would play and the head coaches assigned to those clubs. The list includes Washington, which will be managed by Reggie Barlow, a former NFL receiver and return who led Virginia from 2016 to 2021. The unnamed DC team will play their home games at Audi Field, the league announced.

“To the fans in DC – we’ll be back,” Barlow said in a statement released by the XFL. “It is an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to coach a team in the metropolitan area. The XFL team will play with great passion, and we look forward to being a part of such a great city. It will be really exciting, and we already know you guys are going to come out loud for us guys.”

The league will have teams in Arlington, TX (at Choctaw Stadium, coached by Bob Stubbs), Houston (TDECU Stadium, Phillips Valley), Las Vegas (location to be announced, Rod Woodson), Orlando (Camping World Stadium, Terrell Buckley), San Antonio (Almodome, Heinz Ward), Seattle (Lumen Field, Jim Haslett) and St. Louis (Dome at America Center, Anthony Becht).

Barlow left Virginia in March to join the XFL. Prior to leading VSU, he was the Technical Director at his alma mater, Alabama State, from 2007 to 2014.

The league announced several coaching and front-office positions for each team in June, but did not specify where each group would coach. Barlow’s staff includes defensive coordinator Greg Williams, offensive coordinator/back coach Fred Case, personnel manager Von Hutchins and team operations manager Stacey Johnson.

Williams, the former head coach for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, was the defensive coordinator for the Washington team in the NFL from 2004 to 2007, and most recently was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets in 2019 and 2020. Case trained with Barlow at Alabama State. Hutchins, a sixth-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, played defensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans.

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In February 2020, DC Defenders hosted the first XFL 2.0 game, providing an alternative to the dwindling fan base of the NFL franchise in Washington. Defenders Fans averaged over 16,000 in three games at the Audi Stadium and went 3-2 in the short season, with all three wins in front of their raucous crowd.

“I’ve played a lot of football in the NFL or high school or college or whatever, but these fans are different,” Salama Rahim Moore said after the team’s fifth and final game. “I don’t know if the XFL is paying these guys to be that loud, but the energy is crazy.”

This version of the XFL, which is owned by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon, was closed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The following month, the association filed for bankruptcy and requested a sale. In August of that year, former WWE McMahon star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bought the league for $15 million with his business partner and ex-wife, Danny Garcia, and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners.

Next year will see the first season of XFL events in San Antonio, and the league will return to the Las Vegas and Orlando areas, where the XFL had teams in 2001. In 2020, the XFL had teams in the New York, Los Angeles and Tampa areas, but attendance was poor. Those markets made up the five lowest participating games out of the 20 games played that year.

Unlike the USFL, which played all of its 2022 regular season games in Birmingham, ALA. , and post-season in Canton, Ohio, the XFL will play all of its games in the host cities. The league will reveal team names, logos and uniforms at a later time. The games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, and FX; XFL announced a multi-year broadcast agreement with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN in May.



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