Orlando will have a football team next year (...kinda sorta). When the XFL reboots for a second time, the Orlando Guardians will be a part of the eight-team league.
The news of what we'll call the specter of Vince McMahon and He Hate Me in Orlando came on Halloween. The league revived itself like so many shambling dead and shared that spring football will return in 2023 in Orlando under the name Guardians.
The Guardians will be coached by Terrell Buckley. Buckley was a standout cornerback at Florida State who went on to play for the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. Since leaving the league, Buckley has served as assistant coach for several D1 college programs, including Florida State and Louisville. His last position before joining the Guardians was as a cornerbacks coach for Ole Miss.
Buckley has rounded out his staff fellow Florida State cornerback Tony Carter as a defensive coordinator, one-time Florida Gators quarterback Shane Matthews as a QB coach and ex-Miami Hurricane Lamar Thomas as receivers coach.
A draft for the upstart league will take place in November. The seven other teams that will be vying for players are the Arlington Renegades, D.C. Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, San Antonio Brahmas, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis Battlehawks
and Vegas Vipers.
The XFL has tried twice to bring an alternative football league to the masses. The first launch after being founded by WWE owner Vince McMahon in 2000 was massively promoted but failed to catch on. A second launch was the victim of bad timing when COVID-19 quickly forced the season to end, also bringing an end to the Tampa Bay Vipers. The league was subsequently purchased by a group that includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Play will kick off in Orlando on February 18.