6 things to love about the XFL as league backed by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson returns this weekend

Brittaney Wilmore Image
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
6 things to love about the XFL as league returns this weekend
As the XFL returns for a third time, ABC13 talked to ESPN's Tiffany Blackmon about what to expect as the games begin for the Houston Roughnecks.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Super Bowl's over? No problem! Your love for football can carry on as the XFL is set to make a return this weekend after COVID cut the season short in 2020.

They say third time's the charm and hopefully that's the case for the league, which is backed by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Dany Garcia.

This XFL comeback again includes the Houston Roughnecks, who were 5 and 0 before the pandemic shortened the season.

ABC13 talked to ESPN reporter Tiffany Blackmon about the six things to love about the XFL.

Houston, by the way, will open its season at home at TDECU Stadium versus the Orlando Guardians at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

1. What do we need to know about the XFL games returning on Saturday?

The first XFL game will kick off this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT on ABC with the Vegas Vipers facing the Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium.

2. We rely on the experts to guide us through the game! What should we know about the crews bringing the coverage?

Each of ESPN's four highly-experienced commentator teams include a play-by-play commentator and analyst in the booth plus a reporter and the return of the sideline analyst on the field. Our job on the field, as it is with any sideline role is to be the eyes and ears of the sideline. We're going to be able to tell some of the stories that are happening in the game, but also cool stories about the guys off the field.

3. The XFL was known in 2020 for bringing unprecedented fan access. How does that continue now?

Through innovative technology, fans will experience new perspectives as they watch the game. The sideline team will provide a unique vantage point for analysis and added live access for fans throughout the game. We're able to get you that instant reaction that you're looking for. Being on the sideline if a cool play happens, if there's a pick or a sack, we're able to try to go up to the coaches, even the players and say, 'Hey, can you break this down for us on the spot?'

4. How does this give more players opportunities outside of the NFL and maybe even in preparation for it?

You're going to have hyperfocus on this league, and guys who maybe didn't get that opportunity to get into the NFL right away, maybe they suffered an injury in college and they're trying to fight their way back, and now they're better, and they want to get people to have some eyes on them and really showcase their skillset. Or maybe it was a guy who was already in the league and kind of dropped off and now he's making a comeback, so the XFL has all these great stories about players that are now making this push to have a different set of eyeballs on them. And you're going to have scouts and people from the NFL, and the goal is to not only help these guys stay in the XFL, but to help them achieve their dreams of hopefully going to the NFL, too.

5. I want to feel the action - put me in coach! When it comes to the rules, pace of play and production, how does the XFL differ from the NFL?

The XFL will feature exciting gameplay innovations that deliver fans a faster pace of play and more action. And for our coverage, you can expect interesting production elements in every game. Everybody loves the Skycam. That's going to be hovering above the field for all of our games. Our coaches and some key players are going to be mic'ed up, so you're going to be hearing the game as it's going.

6. Let's do this! How do I watch?

Football fans can fully immerse themselves in XFL action on ABC, ESPN, or FX, with every game streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and simulcasted in 142 countries around the world.

Want to cheer on the Roughnecks live? Home games are played at TDECU Stadium. Check this XFL page to find tickets.

Watch the full interview with Tiffany above.

For more, follow Brittaney Wilmore on Twitter and Instagram.


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