Between off-field antics and on-field magic, the second week of the 2020 season was anything but a disappointment. While it had a few matchups that left more to be desired (I’m looking at you Vipers), there was certainly a lot to take away; not all of it good. Here’s a look at what I thought were the highlights and lowlights of the past weekend.
Low: McGloin was not Lovin’ it
One of the weekend’s best gifts to fans was in the form of cringe humor, courtesy of New York Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin in a very candid sideline interview with ABC’s Dianna Russini going into halftime. McGloin was visibly frustrated after his team’s scoreless first half against the DC Defenders and initiated full meltdown mode, saying “we need to change the whole entire game plan.”
When asked to elaborate on what they needed to change, McGloin said, “it’s very embarrassing for our offense and there’s a lot we need to correct.”
Coming out of the halftime, the Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride was asked to comment on McGloin and replied “I need to go talk to him and figure out what the problem is, because he needs to play better.”
McGloin would go on the throw a pick six in the third quarter and was later benched in favor of backup Marquise Williams after arguing with Gilbride on the sidelines.
This is the worst game I’ve ever been a part of. -Matt McGloin
While this unfiltered back-and-forth gave Twitter a great deal of entertainment, it’s clear that the Guardians need to find a better offensive system and McGloin needs a better attitude. Gilbride seems like a no nonsense coach; paired with a starting QB who seems determined to place blame everywhere but in his own hands. Without major adjustments, the New York Guardians will embark on a short trip to the bottom.
Mid: XFL Attendance Spikes thanks to Seattle
The second weekend of the XFL’s inaugural season featured two host markets that also held a game the week prior, Washington, D.C. and Houston. Comparing their Week 1 & 2 attendance figures gives us a good frame of reference for attendance trends within the league. While the individual crowds in Audi Field and TDECU Stadium seemed to ebb somewhat, the XFL recorded higher overall attendance thanks to the statistical anomaly that was the 29,172-person crowd in Seattle. The Dragons’ Evergreen horde singlehandedly boosted the leagues total attendance by 9.5% since the previous weekend.
|Host Team||Stadium||Attendance||% Change|
|DC Defenders||Audi Field||15,031||12.5|
|Seattle Dragons||CenturyLink Field||29,172||Home Opener|
|Los Angeles Wildcats||Dignity Health Sports Park||14,997||Home Opener|
|Houston Roughnecks||TDECU Stadium||17,103||3.9|
While raw attendance numbers don’t provide much actionable data for XFL teams, it’s clear that the nation’s second largest media market (Los Angeles) isn’t as fond of spring football as the folks in the Emerald City. It is notable that the Los Angeles Chargers also found difficulty finding a foothold in the same market after playing their first season in the same stadium as the Wildcats (formerly the “StubHub Center”). Regardless, the two teams with the most to gain (Guardians and the Wildcats) seem to be missing the mark both on the field and in the stands. For the sake of the league, I hope things change fast.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing how big a crowd the BattleHawks can amass in the Dome next week for their Week 3 home opener.
High: PJ Walker Texas Ranger
Houston’s instant success is largely thanks in part to their signal-caller, PJ Walker, who came into the XFL season largely under the radar. Overshadowed by college standouts like Landry Jones and Cardale Jones, Walker shocked XFL fans and skeptics alike by executing the most dominant performance of any offensive player in the league. Behind his 442 yards passing and his 7 touchdowns, he is as statistically dominant as he is fun to watch. While there were no shortage of highlights in Houston’s season opening victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats, this touchdown pass from the Roughnecks’ thrilling Week 2 win over the Saint Louis BattleHawks set the media ablaze.
A beautiful sidearm throw to which BattleHawks defensive lineman Davonte Lambert had no answer gave Houston an early 9-6 lead. Many were quick to compare Walker’s sidearm and ability to scramble to a certain NFL quarterback from Kansas City. Whatever PJ’s future holds, I just hope these highlight-reel passes keep coming.