Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Hal Jalikakik
Its not very often that we go check out a football game as a fan, but with the return of the XFL to D.C on Saturday, we decided to not wait for media credentials, but join quite a few of our local media colleagues who decided to take to Audi Field for the Inaugural game for the XFL and the D.C Defenders.
The atmosphere was almost like a NFL game, better than we have seen with that other team in town over the past few seasons. Lots of hype in the streets early on and plenty of desire to actually scan their tickets to get inside while we waited in line. What’s the difference we asked a few of these football fans, “something fresh” one said. Guess he is tired like many of us of the same results in D.C when it comes to the Burgundy and Gold.
It did take some time to get used to the new rules of the game. No standard extra points and trick plays, but it seemed very similar to the games we normally watch on Sunday, just different energy all around.
Even Defenders Head Coach Pep Hamilton mentioned about some of the unknowns and getting used to things like the 25 second play clock, which is much different than the 40 second one used by the NFL. He did say that 17,500 announced fans brought the life to the game today and he was happy for what this means moving forward.
Former Ohio State Quarterback Cardale Jones seemed to make things happen late in the game too as helped the Defenders to a 31-19 victory over Seattle.
As we trickled out of Audi Field, we were able to cross the street to many of the same spots we spent all World Series long for drinks and food. Places like Walters and Mission reminds us why this makes football fun in D.C. That’s right, in the city not in a place called Landover, or Raljon as we knew it for years. None of those crappy tight $50 parking lots, 495 on Sunday and yes, can’t actually believe we can say this, good food and dining options within walking distance.
Lets see if they keep up the momentum for the second home game of the season on March 15th.