Our XFL power rankings will be your one-stop shop each week to find out what is the pecking order among the eight teams in the late winter-early spring professional football league.
After three years away, a bankruptcy filing, and then the league being sold to Hollywood superstar and WWE legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2021, the XFL returned in February to kick off their return to action. The season will span 10 weeks before the 2023 XFL playoffs begin at the end of April.
With the regular season over, let’s take a look at the XFL power rankings heading into the playoffs of the 2023 Xtreme Football League season.
8. Orlando Guardians
The Orlando Guardians were in the final spot in the first XFL power rankings because of the early reviews on their roster and coaching staff — led by Terrell Buckley. It was a spot they remained in throughout the season as it wasn’t until Week 7 that they scored their first win of the season and the biggest upset in the 2023 season.
They ended the season with stronger play, but in this latest edition of the XFL, somebody had to be the bottom-feeder of the league and this year it was Orlando.
7. Las Vegas Vipers
The Las Vegas Vipers had a unique group of defensive minds led by first-time head coach and Hall-of-Famer Rod Woodson and USFL coaching veteran and two-time Pro Bowler Chris Dishman as defensive coordinator. In the end, it did not materialize into wins for the team.
Like the Guardians, someone had to be one of the teams that the best in the league beat up, and the Vipers were one of those teams. in 2023. They were at the bottom of the league as a team in most key stats and the only reason they don’t finish the season at the back of our XFL power rankings is the fact that they scored a pair of wins that kept them out of the bottom of the XFL standings.
6. San Antonio Brahmas
The XFL squad with the league boss’ nickname is the team from San Antonio. The Brahmas also had a former Pittsburgh Steelers legend in Hines Ward leading them. Yet despite a former NFL wide receiver leading them, the defense was the strength of the Brahmas.
This season was a frustrating one for San Antonio as their defense kept them in many games but the offense let them down. They had the fortune of being in the weaker of the two divisions but finished a game out of the second spot in the South and just missed out on reaching the 2023 XFL playoffs.
5. St. Louis Battlehawks
Similar to Orlando, the St. Louis Battlehawks also had an inexperienced coaching staff, however, former New York Jets tight end Anthony Becht proved to be the real deal and one of the better head coaches in the XFL this season.
The Battlehawks were one of the best teams in the league all season and were led by an MVP candidate in AJ McCarron. Unfortunately, they were in the best division in the XFL and came up just short of reaching the postseason despite a 7-3 record in 2023.
4. Houston Roughnecks
The Houston Roughnecks had the most notable veteran head coach leading the team in 2023 in Wade Phillips. The former Dallas Cowboys head coach has long been known for coaching up teams with strong defenses, and that was no different with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks.
The Roughnecks’ defense was a strength all season — as they led the league in sacks — and that is why they were able to overcome some mid-season struggles and finish the year with a three-game win streak and led the South Division heading into the postseason.
Unfortunately, in the division championship game, they were shockingly stunned by the struggling Renegades 26-11 and bounced from the 2023 XFL playoffs. It was a disappointing finish to the season after being the top team in the league for much of the first half of the year.
3. Seattle Sea Dragons
The Seattle Sea Dragons landed a high spot in the first set of XFL power rankings due to the unique connections and experience of their top front office figure and the coaching staff. And while they struggled early in the season, they proved that early ranking was warranted.
Led by QB Ben DiNucci, the Sea Dragons were one of the top teams all season due to their high-powered passing game, which led the XFL in 2023. They were one of the hottest teams late in the season and proved their playoff readiness with some big wins late in the season. Including against the Battlehawks.
In the North Division title game, they found out there are levels to this and they were not able to match the Defenders as they were ousted from the playoffs easily 37-21. It was still a strong season for Seattle as they evolved into one of the best teams in the league as the season progressed.
2. D.C. Defenders
The DC Defenders had major upside entering the season due to the successful relationship of head coach Reggie Barlow and offense coordinator Fred Kaiss, who have done well together in every stop they have joined each other at. They had an impressive history of strong rushing attacks and brought that with them into the 2023 XFL season.
DC had one of the better defenses in the league, but their offense was even more formidable with a rushing attack that featured two of the top-five running backs in the league this season. They were the favorites to win the North Division title game and they showed why when they trounced the Sea Dragons easily 37-21.
They were the team to beat in the playoffs and title game but were stunned in the championship matchup against Arlington. Losing for just the second time all season as their strong defense disappeared in their 35-26 loss to the Renegades. It was a very disappointing end for what was a mostly stellar season for DC.
1. Arlington Renegades
Oklahoma University coaching Bob Stoops was a big part of why the Arlington Renegades started at the top spot of the first XFL power rankings. However, it wasn’t long before they eventually fell out of that position and had trouble staying in the top five.
If they weren’t in the South Division, they would have been heading home for 2023, but they got a chance to compete in a playoff game this year and were able to shock the Roughnecks in the Division title game. Blasting by Wade Phillips’ squad 26-11 and will move on to the championship game as a massive underdog against the top team in our XFL power rankings, the DC Defenders.
They were not expected to overcome an outstanding DC team in the 2023 XFL title game but for a second straight week, they came up big in a stunning 35-26 win. After weeks of underperforming, the Renegades came up aces in the final games of the season to reign supreme as the champions of this XFL season.