All About the XFL and the Las Vegas Vipers

XFL Football has arrived in Las Vegas!

Las Vegas Vipers,
Source. YouTube

The 2023 NFL season is now in the books, but you can still watch professional football. This is where the XFL comes in, which held its opening weekend in late February. Sin City has its own team– the Las Vegas Vipers!

What makes this league unique is its rule book and diverse field of talent. These are guys that didn’t cut it in the NFL, the USFL, or anywhere else and are hoping to prove their worth.  

A brief history of the Las Vegas Vipers

XFL Las Vegas,
Source. YouTube

The Vipers were originally located in Tampa Bay but were relocated to Las Vegas as an expansion team. The league is now owned by former professional wrestler and movie star, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, who will hopefully take it to new heights. Then there are the Vipers who will likely be looking to bring championship hardware to the city.

Unfortunately, the team lost their opening weekend game against the Arlington Renegade 22-20 but, there is still the rest of the season to decide their playoff destiny. You can check out a list of their upcoming games below.

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2023 Las Vegas Vipers schedule

Las Vegas Vipers,
  • March 4: Vipers versus Seattle Sea Dragons at Cashman Field at 7 pm on FX
  • March 12: Vipers versus DC Defenders at Audi Field at 7 pm ESPN 2
  • March 18: Vipers versus Orlando Guardians at Cashman Stadium at 10 pm on FX
  • March 25: Vipers versus St. Louis Battlhawks  Cashman Field at 9 pm on FX
  • April 1: Vipers versus San Antonio Brahmas Cashman Field 6 pm on ESPN.
  • April 8: Vipers versus The St Louis Battlehawks at The Dome at 1 pm on ESPN
  • April 15: Vipers versus Houston Roughnecks at TDECU Stadium at 12:30 ABC
  • April 23: Vipers Versus Seattle Seadragons at Lumen Field 9p.m on ESPN2 

Click here for tickets to upcoming Las Vegas Vipers games. 

Meet the head coach 

Las Vegas,
Source. YouTube

Rod Woodson is the head coach of the Vipers, bringing with him a plethora of experience. He served as a linebacker coach for various teams and has learned a lot from those roles. Maybe that will translate into success for the Vipers. 

“ First, as I told [the players] in our first meeting, I want them to believe in the person they see in the mirror,” Woodson told KTNV. “That’s very critical. If that player doesn’t believe in themselves, they’ll never accomplish anything in life. Secondly, I want them to be a better version of themselves tomorrow than they are today. The only way to do that is, to be honest with yourself.”

Differences between the NFL and XFL

Source. YouTube

The XFL has some interesting rules that should make for exciting football. That’s the point at least, and there are several ways they are trying to achieve this. The first is the 35-second game clock, which does not stop after incomplete passes, or out-of-bounds passes  The only exception to this rule is after the two-minute warning in each half.

Another fun innovation is that the team will have a choice of whether to kick the ball off or keep it. When a team decides to keep the ball they instantly face a 4th and 15 situation and must convert to maintain possession. This feature is only available in the fourth quarter but is a cool little wrinkle to the traditional rules.

The league also has quite an enticing overtime system that has teams trade off possession at each other’s five-yard line. Each team is given three attempts at reaching the end zone and will receive two points for doing so. Once each team’s three attempts are over, the side with the most points will win!

Why you should watch 

Las Vegas Vipers,

The XFL is a unique alternative to the NFL and has more of a rough-edge appeal to it. Not only is that evident by the difference in playing styles, but also due to all the rules that are changed. This is to make the game faster and more hard-hitting, giving it a more intense feel.

Add in the clock rules changing after the two-minute warning in each half and you have the making of some great gameplay. Of course, it’s not the big names of the NFL, and a lot of these players are cast-offs, but it’s a fun experience.

About the players

Las Vegas Vipers,
Source. YouTube

While it’s impossible to go into detail about every player on the roster, there are some athletes worth getting to know. One of these is quarterback, Brett Hundley, who actually started out as a member of the Green Bay Packers. He served as a third-string quarterback for a few years before getting shuffled from team to team.

His best performance came in 2017 when he played 11 games for the Packers. This is where he had 192 completions in 316 attempts for 1836 yards, nine touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He later played one game for the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, but only completed four passes. He was most recently a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Running back Rod Smith is another guy from the NFL. He was originally signed to a non-drafted free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. Seattle later cut him for roster room the next year, bringing him to the Dallas Cowboys.

His best season came in 2017 with the Cowboys, where he ran for 232 yards in 55 attempts. Smith ended up reaching the endzone four times on the ground and even served as a reliable receiver. This makes him a duel threat for the Vipers in 2023 and it will be interesting to see how they use him.

You can check out the full roster here.

Next: Everything that should be on your Las Vegas sports bucket list

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