The Seattle Seahawks open the regular season at home Sept. 8, and football fans have plenty of NFL matchups to keep them satiated through the new year. But what happens when February rolls around? Next year, fans have a new professional team to look forward to, and sports commentator Art Thiel tells Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick that it should be a legitimate league.
“It’s football! It’s gambling!” Thiel quipped.
The XFL returns with eight teams playing in a 10-week season and two postseasons. The Seattle Dragons will be one of just two teams on the West Coast. The league’s games start at the beginning of February 2020.
Unlike the earlier iteration of the XFL in 2001, Thiel noted, it won’t look or feel like the World Wrestling Federation, or what’s now the WWE, despite being owned by professional wrestling executive Vince McMahon.
“They are going to run a legit operation, as far as I can tell,” Thiel said.
Home games will be played at CenturyLink Field, and the coaching staff will look familiar to longtime Seattle sports fans: head coach Jim Zorn, former Seahawks quarterback; general manager Tony Softli, former University of Washington player; and running backs coach Butch Goncharoff, a high school football coach who was at the center of a scandal at Bellevue High School.
The Dragons don’t have a roster just yet, as the draft isn’t until October. But Thiel expects we’ll see some familiar names when the time comes.
“I expect there will be a number of players from local colleges here,” he said, such as the University of Washington or Washington State.
And, Thiel added, it might be something people such as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll might pay attention to.
“It’s like free scouting,” he said, “to look at all of these young players who barely got cut.”