Mar 24, 2023 - Sports

D.C.'s new football team is the Defenders

Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Back in ancient times, Washington was known as a football town with a team that played in Super Bowls. These days, you gotta go to Audi Field — not FedEx Field in Maryland — to find what’s being called the "best fanbase" in a league.

  • We’re talking about the Defenders, not the Commanders. They wear red and white uniforms and play in what’s called the XFL — and their fans have been rocking the 20,000-seater stadium in Buzzard Point.
  • And we should mention: They’re undefeated!

When it comes to the Defenders, everyone’s talking about the Beer Snake — made out of hundreds of cups of beer that are stacked on top of one another after fans gulp down their beverages.

  • Here’s what it looks like:
Fans cheer and hold up the Beer Snake
A Beer Snake in the wild. Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
  • Tickets at Audi Field start at $18 for Monday’s matchup with the Houston Roughnecks. It will be live on ESPN2.

The big picture: The 10-team XFL was founded by Vince McMahon, the creator of WWE wrestling, before it shut down because of financial woes during the pandemic. In 2020, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson bought the league for about $15 million with private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners and Dany Garcia.

  • Play picked up again in February.
  • The season runs until May, and four teams advance to the playoffs to crown a champion.

State of play: The Defenders are the best team in the league with five wins so far. The team beat the St. Louis Battlehawks 28-20 last weekend.

Who to watch: Since his debut, quarterback D’Eriq King has befuddled defenses with his running skills, rushing for five touchdowns. The 25-year-old played college ball at the University of Houston and the University of Miami.


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