Notes from the BULLpen: Wild Times Ahead with XFL Debut Loomingcsudhbulletin November 6, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
In case you haven’t heard, or you have some semblance of a life, a new professional American football league, the XFL, debuts in 2020 and Los Angeles is one of eight cities with a team in the league’s inaugural season.
If you are counting, that will make three professional football teams in Los Angeles, not to mention USC and UCLA. Obviously the XFL knows Los Angeles better than those of us who live here, because considering the Chargers can’t sell out a 30,000-seat stadium, who’d think the area could support yet another professional team?
And speaking of the Chargers, the XFL Los Angeles franchise will move into Dignity Health Sports Park right as the Chargers move to their new digs in Inglewood. So save the appointment to the grief counselor: the LA Wildcats are coming to fill the football void in your heart.
With the season set to kick off the weekend after the Super Bowl, every XFL team has established its name, colors, stadium and coaching staff. A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Wildcats participated in the inaugural XFL draft, consisting of four 10-round phases and one 30-round phase.
Many of the players that make up the XFL rosters played in college, some played in the NFL or Canadian Football League and, if you can believe it, some even competed in the Alliance of American Football.
Here are some names on the Wildcats roster that may sound familiar. Especially to those of you who know what the hell the Alliance of American Football is…
QB Luis Perez
Perez was one of eight “tier 1” quarterbacks assigned to each team before the draft in hopes that an equal distribution of talent among the signal callers would help the league’s competitive balance. He is familiar with the city of Los Angeles, as he was on the Rams roster during his short-lived NFL career and received some snaps during the 2018 preseason. While the undrafted free agent was released by the Rams, he continued to play football in the Alliance of American Football with the Birmingham Iron. Perez will likely be under center as the starting quarterback for the Wildcats.
RB Elijah Hood
Hood was the first player the Wildcats selected in the first round of the XFL draft. He was originally selected in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, then he ventured to the Carolina Panthers in 2018 and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. With a flurry of NFL experience under his belt, the former UNC Tar Heel will look to lead the rushing attack for the Wildcats and relieve some of the pressure off Perez.
DE Shawn Oakman
Many might remember Oakman for the intimidating picture of him on the sidelines during a Baylor University game where his body frame was not able to fit in the pads properly and gave him the appearance of a giant. Oakman became the talk of the internet and was a popular meme because of that picture. With his 6-foot-9-inch mass and incredible length, he could be a force in the Wildcats defensive front.
A total of 71 players will be on the Wildcats roster, and it will be up to head coach Winston Moss to whip them into a formidable armada in hopes of bringing Los Angeles its first football professional championship since the Los Angeles Raiders won the Super Bowl in 1984.
The Wildcats open their season Feb. 8 on the road against the Houston Roughnecks and, yes, I wanted to type Rednecks, but I am better than that.
The home opener at Dignity Health Sports Park will be played against the Dallas Renegades. The other Wildcats opponents at home include the D.C. Defenders, Tampa Bay Vipers, Roughnecks, and Seattle Dragons.
Ticket prices for the 2020 XFL season are comparable to an LA Galaxy game at DHSP.
Single game tickets begin at $24, while season tickets for all five home games begin as low as $100 or $20 per game. DHSP will only be using the lower level of the seats inside the stadium. The second level of seats will not be open during XFL games.
With the coaching staff established, roster set, and game tickets already on sale, the only thing left to do is get x-cited for XFL and the Wildcats in Los Angeles.
Or at least to get aggravated by the parking situation on game days.