San Antonio, Texas – The Arlington Renegades triumphed over the DC Defenders in the XFL Championship Game, 35-26, capping off the successful pilot season for the up-and-coming football league.
The San Antonio Alamodome hosted the championship game on Saturday, the league’s first since its ill-fated debut in 2001.
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DC was the favorite to win after closing out the regular season with a near-perfect record.
The team went undefeated at their home venue, Audi Field, where they beat the Seattle Sea Dragons 37-21 on April 30 in the North Division championship.
Arlington, by contrast, entered the game with a losing record of 5-6.
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They snatched their spot against the Defenders after beating the Houston Roughnecks 26-11 on April 29 in the South Division championship.
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The Arlington Renegades took an early lead with two first-half touchdowns that went unanswered until the final two minutes before halftime.
Arlington entered the second half up 20-6 against DC before the Defenders quickly responded with a touchdown early in the third quarter.
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The teams traded touchdowns at a faster rate, completing the third quarter with Arlington still leading 32-20.
In the fourth quarter, the Defenders came within a score of the Renegades, but a Jordan Ta’amu pass fluttered into the hands of a Renegade for the third time Saturday night to extinguish the last breath of the Renegades’ comeback. Defenders.
Arlington won by a final score of 35-26, prompting a flurry of lemons hurled onto the field by DC fans, a tradition established early in Defenders home games that has frustrated league officials since the start. beginning of the season.
The success of the XFL’s 2023 season is welcome news for spring football fans as the league looks ahead to the upcoming seasons amid unprecedented success for a football franchise other than the National Football League. .
XFL Commissioner Dwayne Johnson was in attendance at the event and celebrated the rising prominence of the league.
Later in the game, Johnson wowed fans from his luxury box seats via the jumbotron, urging attendees to engage in the game’s «Flex Cam» while showing off his own muscles.
The XFL announced an official attendance of 22,754 fans.
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The Arlington Renegades are now the first XFL champions since the 2001 Los Angeles Xtreme.
The league is already preparing for its next season, although expansions to new cities are not expected until at least 2025.