The XFL has returned to Washington, DC. Don’t miss out on the excitement!
The football season didn’t end after the big game in early February. The DC Defenders’ season has kicked off too much fanfare, with football fanatics flocking to the state-of-the-art Audi Field to watch the talented XFL team play. With two more home games left, you can still experience one of the most exciting sporting tickets this season. Read on for more reasons to buy a (very affordable) ticket.
The Defenders have a talented roster led by an experienced head coach.
Coach Reggie Barlow joins the XFL from Virginia State University, where he spent the past six seasons as head coach. In 2017, he led the Trojans to an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history, claiming the Northern Division and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championship titles. He was named the CIAA Coach of the Year in 2017.
Previously, he coached at his alma mater Alabama State University, first as the quarterbacks coach and then as head coach from 2007-2014. While at Alabama State, Barlow mentored several quarterbacks, including Super Bowl XLVII Champion Tarvaris Jackson. He departed Montgomery with a 49–42 record across eight seasons. He has coached 45 All-Conference players and two Conference Players of the Year. His teams accumulated an 80% graduation rate.
While attending Alabama State, Barlow was a wide receiver and return specialist for the Hornets. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected him in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. In addition to the Jaguars, he played for the Oakland Raiders and the Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1998, he led the NFL in punt return yards with 555 yards on 43 returns.
Read more about Coach Barlow in this Washington Post feature.
The XFL rules are innovative and make the games more fun.
While the NFL game is entertaining, the XFL has implemented rules that make football even more fun to watch. There are no extra points - teams either go for one, two or three points with their offense on the field after scoring a touchdown. The play clock is only 30 seconds, so the action is sped up compared to the NFL, which uses a 40-second play clock. Teams can run plays featuring two forward passes as long as the first occurs behind the line of scrimmage. Halftime is shorter, and during the 4th Quarter, there’s an alternative to the onside kick: a trailing team has the option to keep the ball and attempt a 4th and 15th conversion from their own 25-yard line. Read up on all of these innovative ideas on the XFL’s rule page.
The Beer Snake, a local fan tradition, provides a distinct home-field advantage.
Born during the abbreviated 2020 season, the Beer Snake (composed of plastic cups) is rebuilt each game by proud Defenders fans. It lives in the standing-room-only section of Audi Field, which makes sense because it takes some muscle to keep a 1,220-cup+ snake hoisted proudly in the air. Defenders take great pride in its embodiment and have begun recycling the cups at the end of the game, to ensure the snake tradition can safely grow to new heights.
There’s a Fan Fest before every home game.
A great way to build excitement early, the Defenders Fan Fest opens 90 minutes before kickoff and features a live DJ, food trucks, giveaways, football tossing, photo opportunities and plenty of activities for kids.
The area surrounding Audi Field is full of pre-game tailgate and post-game dining options.
While there may not be traditional tailgating at Audi Field, you can pre-game at a variety of local hotspots within walking distance that cater to your drink or food craving. Some fan favorites include Atlas Brew Works & Andy’s Pizza, Dacha Beer Garden, Solace Outpost, The Cambria’s RowHouse and Walters Sports Bar.