The new, new XFL passed on a New York/New Jersey return when it announced its eight team cities in late July. Which made complete sense. We have made it very clear we do not really care about upstart spring football. And the idea a league must have roots in the region to be “legitimate” is antiquated.
That said, we have some new questions now. The XFL rolled out team names Monday. And the Orlando franchise has been dubbed the Guardians, which is what New York’s XFL 2.0 team was called. The logo is also more or less the same. So … did the Guardians just become the first team to relocate since the Dodgers and Giants? They did, right? And how on brand is it that they moved to Florida? Does this mean we are owed an expansion franchise at some point?
Probably not. But at least we still have the USFL’s New Jersey Generals of Birmingham and Canton.
The XFL is putting its inherited intellectual property to good use. The Arlington Renegades (formerly Dallas), D.C. Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, Seattle SeaDragons (originally just Dragons) and St. Louis BattleHawks are all holdovers. The Guardians are now in Orlando. And the Tampa Vipers’ name has been repurposed for the league’s new Las Vegas team.
The only new team name: The San Antonio Brahmas. Which is a great callback to league owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s professional wrestling career.
The XFL will kick off in 2023. While it was beaten to market by the USFL, everything on paper suggests it has a better chance at long-term success for myriad reasons. That said, spring football has never really worked for a reason.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]