ST. LOUIS — A week after Super Bowl Sunday, St. Louis gets a new taste of football when the BattleHawks meet up with the Dallas Renegades in the new XFL's opening weekend.
It's been a while since our city has been able to root for a professional football team of our own after the departure of the Rams in 2016.
It still remains to be seen just how successful this XFL re-brand will be, but one thing is already apparent. The fans and players are just excited to see football back in the gateway city.
"The people I've seen out and they've seen me with my BattleHawks sweatshirt on and they're like, 'Hey coach we're looking forward to it,'" BattleHawks head coach Johnathan Hayes said. "So we're looking forward to showing them a good product."
"It's incredible to bring football back to St. Louis. Big sports town," offensive guard Brian Folkerts said. "I grew up here. All my family and friends are here so I'm just proud to be a part of the team that brought football back."
I don't think it's a stretch to say fans in St. Louis are more excited about the XFL than any other city awarded a team. St. Louis is the only city in the XFL that doesn't already have an NFL team.
And I'd bet my bottom dollar that the dome will be rocking for the BattleHawks' first home game on February 23.
It's after that first game that's going to be the question. Will they, and the league, be able to keep people interested? BattleHawks starting quarterback Jordan Ta'amu is confident this version of the XFL won't be a flash in the pan.
"I think it's going to last," Ta'amu said. "I think this is honestly going to be the first year of something special that's going to continue on for the next generation."
So far, things look decently promising. The XFL games will get national TV attention, and the new rules have at least intrigued football fans around the country. But it's all going to come down to the product on the field.
We'll find out soon enough whether that product will be something St. Louis fans want to continue buying.