XFL debut weekend: The revamped league is off to a promising start

Roughly a year ago, on the Alliance of American Football’s debut weekend, there was a sense of relief that a digestible football product had been placed on the field (against all odds). But from the team’s promotional arm, there was a bit of nervousness due to the lack of social media tailwind; the kind of viral swoon that seems to turn curiosity into appointment viewing.

That’s when, at the 10:42 mark of the first quarter in a game between the San Diego Fleet and the San Antonio Commanders, Shaan Washington blitzed off the left side of the line completely unchecked and destroyed Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici. Bercovici’s helmet flew off, the ball popped in the air. Ironically, the social media team that worked for a league praising high-minded ideals of player health and safety, breathed a sigh of relief as the video of a dangerous hit racked up millions of views and tens of thousands of retweets. You probably saw it. For the moment, their haphazard beginnings and ultimately hollow financial structure were placed on the back burner. They were on the map.

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