Spring professional football is getting another shot, and this time it’s coming to Seattle.
The XFL is back for a second try, with its reboot opening the past weekend. It is the second time professional wrestling magnate Vince McMahon has launched the XFL, the previous incarnation lasting just one season on 2001.
There have been many attempts over the years to capitalize on the nation’s fervor for football with a second professional league, most recently last year when the AAF shut down operations mid-season. But this is the first time the Puget Sound region has been involved in one of these pro football startups, with the Seattle Dragons entering the XFL fray.
The Dragons are one of eight teams in the league and four in the West Division, and they play their home games at CenturyLink Field. Seattle lost its inaugural game when the Dragons fell 31-19 on the road against the DC Defenders this past Saturday, and Seattle’s first ever home game is this Saturday at 2 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Vipers in a game that will be televised by FOX.
The Dragons are trying to draw the region’s attention by creating ties to Seattle football history, most notably with original Seahawks quarterback and Ring of Honor member Jim Zorn as the head coach. Other local ties include former Seahawks such as receivers Kasen Williams (also from the University of Washington) and Keenan Reynolds, as well as tight end and Meadowdale High School graduate Connor Hamlett.
The team leader is quarterback Brandon Silvers, a 2018 graduate of Troy University, who was 21-for-40 for 217 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in Seattle’s opener. Two of those TDs went to receiver Austin Proehl, who was a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft out of North Carolina by the Buffalo Bills.
The XFL has a number of rule differences from the NFL, which are designed to enhance the viewing experience. Among the most notable are extra-point conversions are all plays from scrimmage instead of kicks, with teams having the option of going for one, two or three points with the ball spotted at increasing distances from the goal line; the clock is a running clock except for possession changes (after the two-minute warning clock-stopping rules revert to NFL style), and the play clock is just 25 seconds instead of 40; and several adjustments to kickoff, punt and touchback rules which encourage return attempts.
So what do you think? Is the XFL for you? Tell us your interest level in the Seattle Dragons here: