XFL announces teams for 2023 restart; Washington is among them


When the XFL returns in February, football will also return to the nation’s capital.

On Sunday evening, ahead of the third iteration of the league, the XFL announced the cities and locations where its eight teams will play and the head coaches assigned to those clubs. The roster includes Washington, who will be coached by Reggie Barlow, a former NFL wide receiver and returner who led Virginia State from 2016 to 2021. The unnamed DC team will play its games at Audi Field, the league announced. .

“To DC fans – we come back,” Barlow said in a statement released by the XFL. “It is an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to coach a team in the DC area. Our XFL team is going to play with a lot of passion and we can’t wait to be a part of this great city. It’s going to be really exciting, and we already know you’re going to show up and make some noise for us.

The league will also have teams in Arlington, Texas (at Choctaw Stadium, coached by Bob Stoops), Houston (TDECU Stadium, Wade Phillips), Las Vegas (location to come, Rod Woodson), Orlando (Camping World Stadium, Terrell Buckley) , San Antonio (Alamodome, Hines Ward), Seattle (Lumen Field, Jim Haslett) and St. Louis (Dome at America’s Center, Anthony Becht).

Barlow left Virginia State in March to join the XFL. Prior to leading VSU, he coached his alma mater, Alabama State, from 2007 to 2014.

The league announced multiple coaching and front office positions for each team in June, but it did not specify where each group would coach. Barlow’s staff includes defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, offensive coordinator/running backs coach Fred Kaiss, director of player personnel Von Hutchins and director of team operations Stacie Johnson.

Williams, a former head coach of the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, was the defensive coordinator for Washington’s NFL team from 2004 to 2007 and most recently served as the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets in 2019 and 2020. Kaiss coached with Barlow at Alabama State. Hutchins, selected in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, played defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.

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In February 2020, the DC Defenders hosted the first game of XFL 2.0, providing an alternative to Washington’s NFL franchise’s dwindling fanbase. The defenders on average more than 16,000 fans in three games at Audi Field and went 3-2 in the shortened season, with all three wins in front of their raucous home crowd.

“I played a lot of football in the NFL, in high school, college or whatever, but these fans are different,” safety Rahim Moore said after the team’s fifth and final game. “I don’t know if the XFL is paying these guys to be this loud, but the energy is just insane.”

This version of the XFL, owned by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon, was shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The following month, the league filed for bankruptcy and sought a sale. In August, former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bought the league for $15 million along with his business partner and ex-wife, Dany Garcia, and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners.

Next year will mark the first season of XFL action in San Antonio, and the league will return to the Las Vegas and Orlando areas, where the original XFL had teams in 2001. In 2020, the XFL had teams in New York, Los Angeles. and Tampa areas, but their attendance was poor. These markets represented the five least attended games of the 20 that were played that year.

Unlike the USFL, which played all of its 2022 regular season games in Birmingham, Alabama, and its playoff games in Canton, Ohio, the XFL will play all of its games in its host cities. The league will unveil team names, logos and uniforms at a later date. The games will air on ABC, ESPN and FX; the XFL announced a multi-year broadcast deal with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN in May.

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