The NFL dominates US TV like no other from when the regular season kicks off in the fall through the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, but what about football in the spring? The XFL is back to keep the ball rolling on football.
The XFL is not an unfamiliar quantity for US sports fans. The alternative football league first debuted in 2001, led by WWF, but was shut down after one season. Then a rebooted version of the league began in February 2020 and got through five games before COVID forced the league to shutter. Now, with Dwayne Johnson backing the league, it is hoping that the third time's the charm to establish the XFL, starting with this 2023 season.
Find out everything you need to know about the XFL 2023 season, from the schedule to the teams to just how you can watch it.
XFL 2023 schedule
The XFL 2023 season is set to kickoff following the NFL's conclusion, with week 1 of the XFL season taking place over the February 18-19 weekend. There are 10 weeks scheduled for the regular season of this eight team league, with a single round of semifinals making up the playoffs before the XFL Championship game. Games will mostly take place on Saturday and Sundays, though there will be an occasional game on either Monday, Thursday or Friday.
Here are the dates for the the XFL 2023 schedule:
- Week 1: Saturday, February 18, & Sunday, February 19
- Week 2: Thursday, February 23, & Sunday, February 26
- Week 3: Saturday, March 4, & Sunday, March 5
- Week 4: Saturday, March 11, & Sunday, March 12
- Week 5: Thursday, March 16, Saturday, March 18, & Sunday, March 19
- Week 6: Saturday, March 25, Sunday, March 26, & Monday, March 27
- Week 7: Friday, March 31, Saturday, April 1, & Sunday, April 2
- Week 8: Saturday, April 8, & Sunday, April 9
- Week 9: Saturday, April 15, & Sunday, April 16
- Week 10: Saturday, April 22, & Sunday, April 23
- XFL Semifinals: Saturday, April 29, & Sunday, April 30
- XFL Championship Game: Saturday, May 13
XFL 2023 teams
There are eight teams making up the XFL league in 2023. Many of them are holdovers from the 2020 version of the league, including the DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, St. Louis Battlehawks and Seattle Sea Dragons (though they were just Dragons in 2020). Three other teams have moved locations, with the Orlando Guardians moving from New York, the Vegas Vipers relocating from Tampa Bay and the Arlington Renegades making the short move from Dallas.
There is one new team, the San Antonio Brahmas, which replace the Los Angeles Wildcats from the 2020 season.
Here are all eight teams and what division they belong to:
- Arlington Renegades (South Division)
- DC Defenders (North Division)
- Houston Roughnecks (South Division)
- Orlando Guardians (South Division)
- San Antonio Brahmas (South Division)
- Seattle Sea Dragons (North Division)
- St. Louis Battlehawks (North Division)
- Vegas Vipers (North Division)
How to watch XFL 2023
All of the XFL 2023 games are going to be on TV, split between ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and FX. ABC is going to broadcast seven games, including the XFL Championship game, ESPN and ESPN2 are going to have the most games with 22, while FX carries the remaining 15 games.
ABC is one of the main US TV networks and is available to anyone with a traditional pay-TV subscription (or a good old-fashioned TV antenna). It's also carried by the live TV streaming services FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV.
ESPN, ESPN2 and FX are cable channels also available through just about any cable TV subscription (though be sure to check your package). They also can be watched on live TV streaming services like FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV, while FX.
XFL frequently asked questions
What does XFL stand for?
When originally launched in 2001, XFL stood for "Xtreme Football League," as it tried to differentiate itself from the NFL with a handful of tweaks to increase the action. This included two players fighting for the ball in place of a coin toss, allowing players to be identified with fun nicknames (the most famous being "He Hate Me," actually Rod Smart) and not being allowed to kick extra points, among some other rule changes.
While it has kept the moniker XFL, the new version of the league has played down the "Xtreme" element a bit. However, there were still some rule changes in the 2020 season, including reworking the kickoffs and punts; they still removed the extra point, requiring teams to go for one, two or three-point tries; and the double forward pass. It is not clear right now if all these rules are still in place for the 2023 season.
What is the difference between the USFL and the XFL?
The USFL (United States Football League) is a separate football league that is attempting to make spring football a thing. The USFL is actually heading into its second season (the first season was played in 2022), which is scheduled to take place starting April 15, so there will be some overlap with the XFL.
The original USFL season had all of its games being played in Birmingham, Ala., but reports indicate that the USFL looks to expand where it plays its game with another one or two locations. Official details have not been made available.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).
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