Video Credit: XFL/ESPN


FSM Essential Recap: Vipers vs Renegades – Week 1

Vegas Vipers (0-1) | Arlington Renegades (1-0)

Franchise Sports Media


The Vegas Vipers traveled down to Arlington, Texas, to take on the Renegades to kick off the XFL’s 2023 season. The Renegades had two pick-6’s which led to a 22-20 win over the Vipers.


Vipers vs Renegades Dwayne
Photo Credit: Rebecca Slezak/Dallas Morning News

Las Vegas, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME (MORE) FOOTBALL?! The rebooted XFL season kicked off Saturday, ushering in a 43-game slate that will conclude with the league championship in mid-May.

There will be 40 regular season games, two playoff games, and one championship game. All games will be available on a combination of ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and FX. The playoffs will take place on April 29th and 30th, and the XFL Championship Game will take place on May 13th.

Three years after the 2020 version of the XFL was forced to shut down due to COVID-19, the league is back, and what a start as the Vegas Vipers and Arlington Renegades kicked off the 2023 season in dramatic fashion. XFL co-owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gave a passionate opening address to the fans, players, and coaches just before kick-off, concluding the speech with, “Let’s ball out, baby!”

It was time for the Vipers vs Renegades to kick off.

First Half


In the first half, the Vipers looked like they had control of the game. 

Vipers vs Renegades Geronimo Allison
Photo Credit: Rebecca Slezak/Dallas Morning News

The Vipers got off to a hot start to kick off the XFL season. Quarterback Luis Perez led the Vipers down the field, mainly looking for former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who he connected with three times for 22 yards on the opening drive. Wide receiver Jeff Badet scored the first touchdown of the new season when Perez hit him to give the Vipers a 6-0 lead after the games opening drive.

The Renegades put together a 12-play drive that resulted in a field goal to cut the Vipers‘ lead to 6-3. After each team punted twice, Vegas scored another touchdown, once again using the Perez-to-Badet connection. After former Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Martavious Bryant picked up a first down, Perez escaped the pass rush and hit Badet, who got behind the defender and caught his second TD of the game, this time from 39 yards out. The Vipers converted the two-point conversion and led 14-3.

Just before halftime Vegas had a chance to increase their lead, but kicker Bailey Giffin missed a 47-yard field goal.

Could the Vipers hold off the Renegades in the second half?

Second Half

Who would win the second half in the Vipers vs Renegades game?

Vipers vs Renegades Vegas Vipers
Photo Credit: Rebecca Slezak/Dallas Morning News

The Renegades were able to get stops early and often in the second half. They forced a couple of critical three-and-outs, but more than anything else, they found success in forcing turnovers.

Vegas turned the ball over on four of its first five possessions of the second half. Arlington was able to score all 19 of its second-half points off these turnovers, which included 13 that stemmed directly from two Perez interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

Perez had been stellar in the first half, completing 14-of-17 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. But the excellent defensive performance by the Renegades limited him to just 8-of-19 passing for 72 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions after the break.

Perez did lead the Vipers down and connected with Cinque Sweeting to cut the score to 22-20 with eight seconds left. The Vipers were in a position to tie the game, but T.J. Barnes sacked Perez on the two-point conversion attempt that helped seal Arlington’s victory.

The Vipers‘ onside kick attempt, which is one 4th and 15 play, was unsuccessful, and the Renegades took a knee to win the game.

The Vipers fell to the Renegades 22-20 to kick off the regular season.


I like the new XFL rules we saw in the Vipers vs Renegades game.

Vipers vs Renegades Vegas Vipers
Photo Credit: Rebecca Slezak/Dallas Morning News

I love the rules that the XFL has incorporated into their league. They are progressive, uncomplicated, and use common sense, unlike some other leagues that will remain nameless.

The XFL will still retain many of the core rules and regulations that fans are used to with NFL play, though there are some notable exceptions. The most interesting is that the league is offering coaches the chance to challenge, one time per game, any possible play, including judgment penalties like pass interference and holding.

Another change that fans may celebrate is that fumbles that occur inside the field of play and exit the end zone will not result in a turnover and a touchback, giving the defending team possession of the ball from its own 20-yard line. Unlike the NFL, the team that fumbled the ball will retain possession from the spot of the fumble.

In an attempt to encourage more returns on kickoffs while maintaining player safety, only the kicker and returner on kickoff plays will be allowed to move until the ball is caught or after the ball has been on the ground for at least three seconds. This will be similar to the kickoff in the 2020 XFL season. At the start of the kickoff, both teams will be lined up 5 yards apart.

Additionally, teams will have the option, instead of onside kicks that are typically lower percentage plays, for one down to convert a fourth-and-15 play to retain possession and keep the offense on the field.

Lastly, the Vipers have some excellent talent, and the defense carried the team. In fact, the defense only gave up 6 points, while the rest of the Renegades‘ scores came off of Vipers‘ turnovers. The Vipers‘ offense has to get going and can not afford to be ineffective for most of the second half (13 yards total offense until the final drive).

If the Vipers vs Renegades game was any indication of whats to come, the XFL will be an entertaining watch in it’s 3rd reboot.


The Vegas Vipers will be back in action next Saturday when thgey take on the DC Defenders at Cashman Field. Kick off is at 4 p.m. and can be seen on FX. For tickets tap in here.



-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter & Instagram at @JoeArrigoFSM

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