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XFL Announces 2023 Reboot Teams

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Eight teams make up the XFL | Image by XFL

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Ahead of the 2023 season kickoff, the XFL announced on Monday the names of the eight teams comprising the league.

Three of the eight teams are based in Texas, including the Arlington Renegades, who will be coached by former OU coach Bob Stoops.

The XFL will begin play on February 18, 2023, after being shuttered since 2020 due to financial troubles and cancellation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brand-new management of the league is led by actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and IFBB professional bodybuilder Dany Garcia. The new iteration of the league begins with the resurrection of seven original teams, some of which made modest changes or moved to different cities.

“Countless hours of creative sessions and collaboration went into bringing these team brands to life,” Garcia said in a statement.

“Each team’s identity represents the fabric of their local community while also embodying the XFL’s vision and ethos: They are authentic, dynamic, modern, and unapologetically bold.”

Formerly the Dallas Renegades, the team’s new identity reflects the fact that games will be played at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington. Announcing the names, the XFL released a short video introduction of each team, with Johnson and Garcia providing the voice-over.

Stoops is not the only familiar name heading up XFL teams. The Houston Roughnecks will be coached by former NFL coach Wade Phillips, who spent time on the Dallas Cowboys sideline.

The only brand-new team in the league, the San Antonio Brahmas, will feature former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward as head coach. Former Packers and Dolphins corner Terrell Buckley will lead the Orlando Guardians, one of several teams that played in different cities in 2020.

Ward isn’t the only former Steelers player to take on a coaching gig. Cornerback Rod Woodson will lead the Las Vegas Vipers, formerly based in Tampa Bay, Florida. The team playing out of Seattle rebranded its 2020 version, going from the Dragons to the Sea Dragons, coached by former NFL head coach Jim Haslett.

The last team returning to action is the D.C. Defenders, coached by Reggie Barlow, who got his start at Alabama. Two of these XFL teams look to pick up where they left off, starting with the St. Louis Battlehawks, who led the XFL in 2020 before the season was canceled.

The XFL organizers look to completely reinvent the league going forward and hope the two-year hiatus will not have dimmed fans’ enthusiasm. Its first draft day will take place next month as the teams begin to get sorted out for the upcoming season.

The highway of transition runs both ways, for some XFL players moved to the NFL. Among several players who made the jump from the XFL to the NFL, the Battlehawks’ third-string QB Taylor Heinicke is now holding down under center with the Washington Commanders.

The XFL and the NFL have already created an agreement to help generate talented players and provide a pathway for players to move from one league to the other.

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