What is the XFL? Teams, players to watch, rules and more


Just when you thought football season was over…

The XFL is set to return for a third attempt at creating a viable professional football league.

With new ownership, rules, teams, players and coaches, the league is completely revamped since it filed for bankruptcy back in 2020.

Here’s everything to know about the 2023 XFL season:

What is the XFL?

The XFL is a professional football league that was founded by Vince McMahon in 2018. It was a reboot of a league with the same name that McMahon founded in 1999. The original league played just one season in 2001 before ceasing operations.

In 2018, McMahon revitalized the XFL with a change of rules. The inaugural season kicked off in February of 2020, but play only lasted five weeks as the league slowly lost money in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How is ‘The Rock’ involved with the XFL?

After the new XFL filed for bankruptcy in April of 2020, the future of the league appeared to be in peril. That changed a few months later in August, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale's RedBird Capital purchased the XFL for $15 million.

Now, The Rock serves as league commissioner. He announced on Twitter this week that he will be attending all four games across the country during the XFL’s opening weekend.

When does the XFL start?

The XFL kicks off this weekend, with two games on Saturday, Feb. 18, and two games on Sunday, Feb. 19.

There will be 10 weeks of regular season action in 2023, running from Feb. 18 through April 22. After the 40-game regular season, there will be three playoff games: two semifinal contests (April 29 and 30) and one championship game (May 13).

What are the XFL teams and coaches?

There are eight XFL teams scattered across the country. Here’s a look at the team names, home stadiums and head coaches:

North Division

DC Defenders, Audi Field, Reggie Barlow

Seattle Sea Dragons, Lumen Field, Jim Haslett

St. Louis Battlehawks, The Dome at America’s Center, Anthony Becht

Vegas Viper, Cashman Field, Rod Woodson

South Division

Arlington Renegades, Choctaw Stadium, Bob Stoops

Houston Roughnecks, TDECU Stadium, Wade Phillips

Orlando Guardians, Camping World Stadium, Terrell Buckley

San Antonio Brahmas, Alamodome, Hines Ward

Where to watch XFL 2023

All XFL action will be on Disney-owned networks, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and FX. Every game this season will be available to stream on fuboTV (which comes with a free trial) and ESPN+.

Here’s the schedule for Week 1:

Saturday, Feb. 18

Vegas Vipers vs. Arlington Renegades, 2 p.m. CT, ABC

Orlando Guardians vs. Houston Roughnecks, 7:30 p.m. CT, ESPN/FX

Sunday, Feb. 19

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas, 2 p.m. CT, ABC

Seattle Sea Dragons vs. DC Defenders, 7 p.m. CT, ESPN

XFL players to watch

There are a number of former NFL players suiting up in the XFL:

  • Ben DiNucci, QB, Seattle Sea Dragons – Dallas Cowboys (2020-21)
  • Josh Gordon, WR, Seattle Sea Dragons – Cleveland Browns (2012-18), New England Patriots (2018-19), Seattle Seahawks (2019-20), Kansas City Chiefs (2021), Tennessee Titans (2022)
  • A.J. McCarron, QB, St. Louis Battlehawks – Cincinnati Bengals (2014-17), Oakland Raiders (2018), Houston Texans (2019-20), Atlanta Falcons (2021)
  • Paxton Lynch, QB, Orlando Guardians – Denver Broncos (2016-17), Pittsburgh Steelers (2019)
  • Matt Elam, S, Orlando Guardians – Baltimore Ravens (2013-16)
  • Cody Latimer, WR, Orlando Guardians – Denver Broncos (2014-17), New York Giants (2018-19)
  • Vic Beasey, LB, Las Vegas Vipers – Atlanta Falcons (2015-19), Tennessee Titans (2020), Las Vegas Raiders (2020)
  • Martavis Bryant, WR, Las Vegas Vipers – Pittsburgh Steelers (2014-17), Oakland Raiders (2018)
  • Marquette King, P, Arlington Renegades – Oakland Raiders (2012-17), Denver Broncos (2018)
  • Kalen Ballage, RB, San Antonio Brahmas – Miami Dolphins (2018-19), New York Jets (2020), Los Angeles Chargers (2020), Pittsburgh Steelers (2021)
  • Ryquell Armstead, RB, DC Defenders – Jacksonville Jaguars (2019-21)

XFL rule differences compared to the NFL

The XFL will attempt to differentiate from the NFL with a series of rule tweaks:

  • Tiered extra-point attempts
    • There are no kicked extra points. Instead, teams decide to go for one, two or three points after a touchdown. One-point tries are from the 2-yard line, two-point tries are from the 5-yard line and three-point tries are from the 10-yard line.
  • Game timing
    • The play clock is 35 seconds, rather than 40. The clock will continue running on incomplete passes and out-of-bounds plays before the two-minute warning. The clock will stop on all first downs after the two-minute warning.
  • Kickoff rules
    • For kickoffs, the two teams will line up five yards apart from one another – kicking team at the opponent’s 35-yard line, returning team at their own 30-yard line. No one can move except the kicker and returner until the ball is caught or on the ground for three seconds.
  • Onside kick rules
    • Teams can still attempt traditional onside kicks, but they also have the option to attempt a fourth-and-15 conversion in the fourth quarter if they are more confident in that. The conversion attempt is only available in the fourth quarter, but onside kicks can be attempted at any time.
  • Double forward pass
    • Teams can throw two forward passes on each play, as long as the first pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage. 
  • OT shootout
    • If a game goes to overtime, each team will get three attempts at a two-point conversion from their opponent’s 5-yard line. The teams will alternate attempts with the winner being decided after each side gets three tries. If it is even after three attempts, it will go to sudden death.
  • Replay review
    • Coaches are allowed to challenge calls “involving a foul or potential foul,” but coaches only get one challenge during the game.

Can you bet on the XFL?

Yes, you can bet on the XFL using our partner, PointsBet. All XFL odds can be found here, including point spreads, totals, moneylines and futures and more.

Here are the spreads for Week 1:

  • Vegas Vipers at Arlington Renegades (-3.5)
  • Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks (-3.5)
  • St. Louis Battlehawks (-2.5) at San Antonio Brahmas
  • Seattle Sea Dragons (-1.5) at DC Defenders

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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