Daytona 500, NBA All-Star Weekend and other Events Over-Shadow Debut of XFL

February 20, 2023 by Dave Congrove

The XFL made its rebranded debut over the weekend to major television coverage on the ESPN and Fox Networks. The games were quite entertaining, for those moments I spent watching them. But I imagine I wasn't alone in flipping between the Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star weekend coverage.

And there was this well-known sports figure named Tiger playing in a regular PGA Tour golf tournament that he hosted. And not just any tournament.  It's the one he was hosting two years ago when his weekend in L.A. came to a horrible conclusion with his near-fatal crash.

When I did flip over to an XFL game, it served to remind me that there's been quite a bit of news from the NFL. No sooner than that interruption of thought entered my head, I was flipping channels again because there were also some key college men's and women's basketball games to check out, The regular season nears conclusion and conference tournaments are just around the corner.

Oh yeah, I also took in a couple of the contests from the Clearwater Invitation Softball Tournament that featured a number of ranked teams such as Alabama, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Arizona.

Speaking of April, the second season of the USFL kicks off on April 15 and you can't tell me I won't be distracted that weekend as I will have no more time left to procrastinate on filing my income tax returns. That's also less than 2 weeks before the NFL Draft from April 27-29 for which the FanDuel Sportsbook lists Alabama QB Bryce Young at -150 as the odds-on favorite to be selected first by the Chicago Bears.

Anyway, in the midst of all the flipping, I missed the end of the Daytona 500 which went to double-overtime before Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. took the checkered flag. But I did catch the St. Louis Battlehawks scoring 15 points in less than two minutes to rally for a 18-15 win at San Antonio.

The outcome was much to the dismay of the Brahma fans at the Alamodome where over 24,000 fans were in attendance for the league's biggest turnout, doubling that of every other game. Unfortunately,  San Antonio was the only home team that lost.

It took a last-second comeback for the DC Defenders to take down the Seattle Sea Dragons 22-18 in front of a raucous crowd of 12,438, while the Arlington Renegades used two defensive scores in the second half to rally for a 22-20 win over the Las Vegas Vipers with 12,047 fans in the stands.

Meanwhile, the Houston Roughnecks looked like the league's all-around best performing team in dismantling the Orlando Guardians 33-12 in front of 12,784 at TDECU Stadium.

The 10-week XFL season will wrap up with the championship game in San Antonio on Saturday, May 13.

The USFL regular season will also run 10 weeks from April  15 to June 18 with the majority of games still being played in neutral venues which, in our opinion, spells an early doom for the league. Birmingham will host the home team Stallions and the New Orleans Breakers, white Detroit's Ford Field will be the home base of the Philadelphia Stars and the Michigan Panthers.

The Memphis Showboats and the Houston Gamblers will share Liberty Stadium in Memphis, while the New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers will be based in Canton.

If the second season survives, Canton is scheduled to host the playoffs on June 24 and the championship game on July 2.