It's officially put up or shut up time for all of you out there who consider yourselves true, degenerate pro football fans. With Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs having put the cherry on top of the NFL's 2020 sundae, it's time, this weekend, to turn your eyes to the XFL and its glorious WWE overlords.
The startup league's inaugural season, in the eyes of oddsmakers, represents Dallas' best chance to come home with a pro football championship in a very, very long time.
The Observer's good friends at SportsBettingDime.com were kind enough to send us a bundle of odds ahead of the Dallas Renegades' first game on Sunday, and things are looking up for Bob Stoops and the boys across the board.
According to the bookmaker — and please, for the love of everything, do not bet on XFL football unless you want to get put on some kind of list — the Renegades are a 3-1 favorite to be the last team standing after the league's April 26 championship game. Their closest rivals for the top spot are the New York Guardians at 4-1. Both the Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers are 5-1 to win the league title.
Dallas players are favored to win the league's passing title (Landry Jones) and rushing title (Cameron Artis-Payne), and both Jones, who played for Stoops at the University of Oklahoma, and Artis-Payne, an Auburn University-ex, are listed in the oddsmakers' top 10 most likely league MVPs.
The Renegades are as loaded as a team in a first-year spring football league can be, at least according to those who'll be taking action on their games.
In addition to seeing winning football, it'll be worth tuning into at least one XFL game just to see all the rule changes the league has put in play. Everything from timing rules to kickoff and punt rules, to replay reviews has been tweaked either a little or a lot from the league's wealthier cousin, the NFL. Two forward passes can be thrown on a single offensive play as long as the first pass occurs behind the line of scrimmage, and teams will have the option of going for either one, two or three points after a touchdown.
Stoops promised to bring the excitement at the team's logo unveiling in August.
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"This is going to be an exciting, fun team to watch. Offensively, defensively, even with some of the new XFL rules, like double passes, with the first pass behind the line of scrimmage, you can still throw it again. A lot of things, other than that, folks, it will still be great football, football you're used to watching and cheering for," he said.
The whole thing's going to be weird, but maybe it'll be good weird.
The Dallas Renegades host the St. Louis BattleHawks at 4 p.m. Sunday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Tickets are available here. ESPN will televise.