The Orlando Guardians lost in their XFL opener to Houston. The Houston defense was the story of this game, dominating the Orlando offense. The most important story was if the XFL would be bothering TV viewers with more football or feed people’s need for football. Wade Phillips was the main draw for the Houston Roughnecks and the TV crowd as a recognizable name. The TV crew focused on the new rule system and got a great comment from Paxton Lynch, sure to be news.
XFL TV broadcast and innovations were great
Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson were “on-point” with their promotion of the league in the pre-game, selling it as a “second chance” for former players. Johnson gave the viewers “the People’s eyebrow,” and Garcia gave a good owner’s speech. The Guardians and the Roughnecks were in flashy videos with laserlights showering them in their green and blue and red team colors. Sam Acho and Lowell Gonzalez played up the XFL rules and sold how that would factor into the game.
The new kickoff style was very cool. It doesn’t allow the coverage team to get a running start to tackle the return team’s player, reducing hard hits and crack back blocks. The XFL in this release from the NFL here signed a deal to collaborate on health and safety advances in the sport. The variation they have from the NFL on the time a quarterback can talk to the OC was great. Sam Acho made a good point on how that affects the game. He recommended to the defensive coordinator to have the safeties hold their position longer to keep the coordinator from reading the play.
Houston defense was ready, Guardians offense needs work
Taylor McGregor, XFL sideline reporter, brought up how Paxton Lynch was still learning the names of his teammates. This point was visible when McGregor talked to Lynch in an “NBA-style in-game interview” and Lynch threw his offensive line under the bus. He said that there were players that were “not doing their job” and that was causing him to get sacked. That comment will gain him points from support by the offensive coordinator or cause him to lose the locker room.
Lynch had success on the first drive, throwing a contested touchdown pass to Cody Latimer, but the Roughneck defense neutralized that the rest of the game. Quentin Dormady replaced Lynch in the second half and looked great. He threw a 51 yard touchdown pass on a drive where he zipped pass downfield instead of “dinking and dunking” like Lynch. They both couldn’t do anything else as they were sacked a combined seven times and threw three interceptions.
XFL should highlight the byproducts of football
The allure of Spring professional football has been to continue to feed the fan more sports, more TV. Writer J-Allen has a take on “Will the XFL survive?” that you could read about here. Really, if the XFL and the USFL succeed it is to show other parts of football that the NFL can’t. The Ivanhoe Brewing company in Orlando collaborated with the Guardians to create a special beer for the team. Read the release here. The DC Defenders also have a special beer created for them by City State Brewing in D.C. The XFL should do live broadcasts from the watch parties in these cities. St. Louis is having watch parties at Ballpark Village, Sybergs and Westport Social for the Battlehawks games. D.C. will have a watch party at Rowhouse restaurant in the Cambria hotel. With eight teams, viewers should get a local taste of every city and boost tourism.
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