DC Defenders Make Their Return With the XFL

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The season kicks off February 18.

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Photograph courtesy XFL.

Remember the Defenders? DC’s erstwhile XFL team came and went before most locals paid much attention, but now you’ll get another chance.

A New Owner for the XFL

Created by WWE founder Vince McMahon in 2001, the league flamed out after one season. McMahon brought it back in early 2020—only to have it fail again amid the pandemic. The Defenders were one of eight teams created for that second iteration. Now the XFL is returning once more, this time thanks to current league owner Dwayne Johnson.

A New Chance for the Defenders

This latest incarnation kicks off February 18, again with eight teams. Defenders home games will be at Audi Field, with Reggie Barlow serving as head coach and former NFL coaching star Gregg Williams running defense. At press time, there was no starting QB yet; perhaps Carson Wentz will be available.

A New Option for Commanders Fans?

The 2020 version of the XFL lasted only five weeks, but it was actually a lot of fun, with some beleaguered fans of DC’s NFL team channeling their football enthusiasm to a squad with far less baggage. Speaking of baggage, the team is now offering a variety of merch featuring its clever logo, including hoodies, slides, and a $40 backpack—half the price of a similar item with the Commanders logo.

This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Peter Njoroge

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