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XFL 2020 Regular Season Recap

It ended sooner than fans would have hoped, but at least this spring league ended their first season early for a good reason. The XFL announced Friday that they would not play out the rest of their season due to the Coronavirus. It’s a blow to the league as they had five weeks and two playoff weeks left in the season. Fans can rest assured though that the league will come back for their 2021 season. Players were paid out the rest of their contracts and benefits and are free to sign with any other leagues. The 2020 XFL season will be memorable in many ways. They were able to create many storylines to keep the average football coming back week after week. Because of the work done this season, the foundation is set for more seasons to come for the league.

Top XFL Regular Season Headlines

Rule Changes Catches Everyone’s Attention

The XFL experimented with several rules to help make the game with less stall and more ball. One rule that gripped the attention of the country was the kickoff rules. The league found a way to avoid any fast course collisions with moving the lines only five yards apart. Returns increased dramatically from what the NFL was producing. Many have called on the NFL to follow the XFL’s lead on that rule change.

Other rule changes that helped with the game was the shorter play clock and shorter halftimes. These rule changes have helped shorten the game to average around two hours and 45 minutes per game.

The Emergence of PJ Walker, Cam Phillips

PJ Walker was no doubt the MVP of the league with his performance. It did come as somewhat of a surprise though since he had to battle with Connor Cook for the quarterback job in Houston. His dynamic plays made him a threat every week. Walker had a tendency of making Patrick Mahomes like plays week after week. After his performances in five games, Walker earned his way onto an NFL team this offseason.

Cam Phillips turned out to be an even bigger surprise for Houston. Sammie Coates was supposed to be the guy in Houston for the passing game. Phillips made a name for himself for his big plays. Besides the Dallas Renegades game, Phillips turned out to be their big-play receiver. He recorded 455 yards and nine touchdowns in five games. Those are incredible numbers. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he gets picked up by an NFL team.

Houston Goes 5-0

The Roughnecks were the best team in the league and it wasn’t really that close. They had the star quarterback leading an unstoppable offense. June Jones ended up being the best coach in the league making the most of his players. The defense was inconsistent throughout the season but made plays when they needed to. Houston proved that with a great quarterback and playmakers at receivers, any team can succeed and win games. The XFL had to be happy to have a team like Houston getting the attention of many sports outlets.

St. Louis, Seattle’s Stellar Attendance

It came as no surprise to anyone that St. Louis was ready to have a professional football team back in their city. Adding the fact that they had a playmaking quarterback like Jordan Ta’amu, the city was thrilled to have their BattleHawks at home. In their two home games, the BattleHawks posted attendance numbers of 29,554 and 27,527. Fans showed their passion for the team and should be a big hit once again when the league returns in 2021.

Seattle turned out to also be one of the league’s great success stories. While quarterback play was inconsistent, BJ Daniels was stepping in for the struggling Brandon Silvers and made exciting plays to get the league excited. The Dragons also had only two home games and posted 29,172 and 22,060. Both are great numbers similar to what St. Louis did. These will be the numbers the league will want to see to hit the ground running next season.

Bob Stoops Returns to the Sidelines

The last time Bob Stoops was on the sidelines was back in 2017 with Oklahoma beating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Stoops made his return to coaching football with the Dallas Renegades. It didn’t go as well as expected as the team went 2-3 before the season canceling. The Renegades managed to lose all their home games going 0-3. Stoops’ future with the league will be interesting to follow, but it looks like he’s planning on a second season with the XFL.

Award Winners

MVP – PJ Walker

PJ Walker led the XFL in completions, pass yards, and passing touchdowns. Walker made special plays throughout the season. The main reason Houston went undefeated was that Walker was so good for the offense. His ability to scramble out of the pocket and his arm strength made him so good. Walker became the face of the league and should easily find an NFL team.

Offensive Player of the Year – Cam Phillips

Cam Phillips was able to make big play after big play for the Roughnecks in five games. He led the league in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The chemistry between him and Walker was a combo that the league was needing. Phillips is another guy that should be able to find an NFL team to give him a shot.

Defensive Player of the Year – Steven Johnson

The emotional leader of the defense in Seattle had himself a great season. Steven Johnson led the league in tackles and tackles for loss. The Dragons’ defense was among the top four in the league because of the play of Johnson. He should get a look at an NFL team with his tackling skills being something a team should desire.

Special Teams Player of the Year – Austin MacGinnis

Austin MacGinnis was perfect on field goals for the season making 10-10 field goals. He was part of the reason Dallas was able to stay in games when they got off to a slow start. MacGinnis proved that he can be a consistent scorer for the team and helped them win games. If injuries occur in the NFL, he could get a call from the league.

Coach of the Year – June Jones

His high powered offense made life miserable for defenses around the XFL. June Jones put together an offense that averaged a league-high 31.6 points per game. While the defense allowed a high amount of points per game, they were able to create turnovers to keep the team in the lead. Jones helped create a monster of a quarterback in Walker and might have helped a lot of players get their shot at the NFL. The league should bring him back to develop more stars like Walker and Phillips.

Final Standings

XFL East

  1. DC Defenders 3-2
  2. St. Louis BattleHawks 3-2
  3. New York Guardians 3-2
  4. Tampa Bay Vipers 1-4

XFL West

  1. Houston Roughnecks 5-0
  2. Dallas Renegades 2-3
  3. LA Wildcats 2-3
  4. Seattle Dragons 1-4

Top Statistical Leaders

  • Passing: PJ Walker – 119-184, 1338 yards, 15 touchdowns, four interceptions
  • Rushing: DeVeon Smith – 90 att, 365 yards
  • Receiving: Cam Phillips – 31 catches, 455 yards, nine touchdowns
  • Tackles: Steven Johnson – 48 total tackles
  • Sacks: Cavon Walker – 4.5 sacks
  • Interceptions: Deatrick Nichols – three interceptions
  • Field Goals: Austin MacGinnis – 10 made field goals
  • Punt Average: Marquette King – 45.7 average per punt

Follow me on Twitter for more XFL news and notes @antmill40!

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Anthony Miller
XFL, Dallas Renegades, and Houston Texans writer for Overtime Heroics. Also contributes to NFL, XFL, and arena football news for XFL Board, Infinity Sports Network, Arena Football Talk, Prime Time Sports Talk, and Eagles Nation.
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