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What to know before XFL, Battlehawks return for 2023 season

The St. Louis Battlehawks 2023 season kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 19. Here's what to know before their first game.
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — The XFL and the St. Louis Battlehawks are returning this month for the first time since COVID-19 ended their season short in 2020. 

Both the league and Battlehawks had support from the start in 2020 and gained the attention of many companies and fans. 

The XFL recognized its ups and downs and returned in full force in February. The league has been compared to the National Football League due to its rule changes, history and featured players. 

As fans prepare for the new season on Saturday, Feb. 18, here's a look at the history of the XFL and rule changes to expect: 


The original XFL ran for a single season back in 2001. The league was a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC and attempted to be a competitor of the NFL. 

The season ran from the late winter into early spring and featured modifications to the rules of football and in-game gimmicks. 

While the league started off strong, it eventually plummeted in viewership and the league folded at the conclusion of its inaugural season. 

The league was revived in 2018 when Alpha Entertainment announced the XFL would return with a 10-week inaugural season beginning in early 2020. 

Eight host cities and stadiums were announced on Dec. 8, 2018, and a starting date of Feb. 8, 2020. St. Louis received an XFL team and had the smallest market. They would play at The Dome at America's Center where the former NFL team, the St. Louis Rams, played. 

Opening week for the XFL saw an average of 3.1 million viewers, but viewership dropped as the season continued. 

On March 12, 2020, the league canceled the remainder of its regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league had only played five out of their 10 games that season. 

After the season was canceled, the league filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 10, 2020. 

In August 2020, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale (through RedBird Capital Partners) purchased the XFL for $15 million. 

Throughout the next two years, the XFL and its new owners began filling management positions, signing agreements and working towards a new season. 

It was announced on Dec. 2, 2021, that the 2023 XFL season would begin on Feb. 18, 2023. 

Rule changes

Extra points 

The league will be using a three-tiered point system for teams following touchdowns. No kicking points are allowed. 

  • 1 point: Run a play from the 2-yard line.
  • 2 points: Run a play from the 5-yard line. 
  • 3 points: Run a play from the 10-yard line.


No coin toss, one possession wins or ties. 

Overtime will consist of alternating attempts from the opponent's 5-yard line. Each team will have three attempts (two points per score) or until a winner is decided. 

Game Timing 

The XFL league will operate with a 35-second play clock which begins following the previous play. The play clock will start following incomplete passes or out-of-bounds plays prior to the two-minute warning. The clock will stop following first downs after the two-minute warning. 

The first and second halves will be split with a 10-minute halftime. 

Similar to the NFL, each team will have three timeouts per half. 

Instant replay 

The XFL will introduce a first-of-its-kind, centralized "command center" for instant replay reviews.

The replay may correct errors on non-reviewable plays, player safety at any point and any issues in the last five minutes of regulation plus overtime. 

Head coaches will be able to challenge one on-field ruling per game.

Double forward pass

As long as the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage, teams may complete a forward pass and then throw a second pass. 

In the NFL, teams may only throw the ball forward once on a play.

Options to keep the ball 

Teams will have two options to keep the ball after scoring: 

  • A team can do a traditional onside kick (any time throughout the game).
  • 4th and 15 conversions from their own 25-yard line (4th quarter only).

2023 St. Louis Battlehawks 

The St. Louis Battlehawks are returning to the XFL and to The Dome at America's Center. 

The team hired Antony Becht, a former St. Louis Ram, as the head coach on April 13, 2022, with the expectation he would coach the team. 

It became official on July 24, 2022, when the XFL announced the return to St. Louis. 

Former St. Louis Rams players Ricky Proehl and La'Roi Glover joined the team in September 2022 as assistant coaches. Other coaches included former Mizzou defensive coordinator Dave Steckel as linebackers coach, Bruce Gradkowski as the team's offensive coordinator and Donnie Abrhams as the defensive coordinator. 

Former Alabama Crimson Tide Quarterback A.J. McCarron joined the team on Nov. 15, 2022. 

The team finalized their roster on Feb. 9 and continue to prepare ahead of their first game. 

The Battlehawks are set to play their first game on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the San Antonio Brahmas. Their first home game is on Sunday, March 12 against the Arlington Renegades. 

Find the team's full XFL schedule here. 

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