XFL unveils team names and logos for 2023 reboot

Here come … the Brahmas?

The XFL unveiled the names and logos of its eight teams Monday morning, and while seven are direct or indirect holdovers from the previous iteration of the league, the San Antonio Brahmas stand out as both new and relatively unique.

The name, which has been rarely used as a team moniker, is a reference to Brahman beef cattle, which are known, among other things, for their tolerance to heat. It’s also an apparent nod to the pro wrestling career of XFL co-owner Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who had a tattoo of a Brahma bull on his right arm during his years in the ring.

Three of the XFL’s teams – the D.C. Defenders, Houston Roughnecks and St. Louis Battlehawks – are being brought back exactly from 2020, when the previous edition of the league shuttered due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two others received only minor tweaks, with the Renegades now being based in Arlington, Texas, instead of Dallas, and the Seattle Dragons being renamed the Sea Dragons.

The Orlando Guardians and Vegas Vipers round out the group. Both teams existed in 2020, but the Guardians were based in New York and the Vipers were in Tampa Bay.

‘Countless hours of creative sessions and collaboration went into bringing these team brands to life,’ the league’s chairwoman and owner, Dany Garcia, said in a statement.

‘Each team’s identity represents the fabric of their local community while also embodying the XFL’s vision and ethos: they are authentic, dynamic, modern, and unapologetically bold.’

The league’s draft will take place next month, with kickoff scheduled for Feb. 18, 2023 – the weekend after the Super Bowl.

The Brahmas will play their home games in the Alamodome and be coached by Hines Ward, the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver. They will be the first professional football team in San Antonio since the Commanders of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. (Ward previously worked as an executive with that league.)

The AAF and 2020 version of the XFL have been among several ambitious attempts to make spring football stick in the U.S. in recent years. Another league, the USFL, wrapped up its inaugural season earlier this year and figures to be a direct competitor of the XFL.

The XFL got off to a strong start before the pandemic hit in 2020, which prompted then-owner Vince McMahon to cancel the remainder of the season and the league’s parent company, Alpha Entertainment, to file for bankruptcy. The league was purchased for $15 million by a group led by Garcia, Johnson and investor Gerry Cardinale.

The XFL hopes its brand recognition from 2020 will help it reestablish a foothold this spring, buoyed by the presence of Johnson and coaching staffs led by well-known personalities in the sport, including longtime University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and NFL veteran Wade Phillips.

‘(We) have a lot of NFL people, from the top all the way down that have been in the NFL, know what it takes,’ Phillips said in an interview when asked about the league’s long-term prospects. ‘And then of course The Rock. He’s instant publicity. So having he and Dany together leading the league … I just think the dynamics are really there.’

Here’s the full list of XFL teams, head coaches and home stadiums:

Arlington Renegades: Head coach Bob Stoops | Choctaw Stadium

Houston Roughnecks: Head coach Wade Phillips | TDECU Stadium

Orlando Guardians: Head coach Terrell Buckley | Camping World Stadium

Vegas Vipers: Head coach Rod Woodson | To be announced

San Antonio Brahmas: Head coach Hines Ward | The Alamodome

Seattle Sea Dragons: Head coach Jim Haslett | Lumen Field

St. Louis Battlehawks: Head coach Anthony Becht | The Dome

D.C. Defenders: Head coach Reggie Barlow | Audi Field

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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