The first weekend of the XFL is in the books, and after a weekend full of football action, the first impressions are not bad. The first time around for the XFL was filled with a lot of gimmicks, but this time, the focus is on football, and it showed.
In their first game, the New York Guardians, behind the throwing of former NFL QB Matt McGloin(182 yards, one TD, one rushing TD), and a stingy defense, which forced three turnovers, including Jamar Summers’ 27-yard fumble return for a touchdown. New York defeated the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3 in the first XFL game at MetLife Stadium in front of 17,634 fans on Sunday.
Obviously, Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride was happy with the victory, but Gilbride, who last coached at MetLife Stadium when he was the New York Giants offensive coordinator(2007-2013), was also pleased with all the games this weekend in the XFL.
“I think the quality of play has been surprising how good it is,” Gilbride said after the game. “We were hopeful that it was going to be good. I think everybody in the league was, but it has been outstanding. Now again, we would have liked to put a few more points up offensively, but in terms of the full gamut of the game – Jerry Glanville’s been around a long time defensively and did everything under the sun, and yet, we still responded well and still had even numerous other chances that we didn’t quite finish off the way we would have liked.
“But I think the quality of play – I think people, I’ll bet people are surprised at about how good the play is and how good the quality of coaching is, which has helped serve as a very important catalyst of bringing the ability level of these guys to where they are able to perform the way they did.”
It’s always going to be challenging to build a football league when the best players are in the NFL, but the XFL should be proud of their first weekend. The crowd at MetLife Stadium was lively, and the fans were very much into the contest. Now, the league needs to build on Week One’s success and continue to put out a quality product, which I think they will do as the season progresses.
The slogan for the XFL is, “For the Love of Football,” and after Week 1, the love for the game from the players, coaches, and fans appears to be very real!