The DC Defenders are a professional American football team based in Washington, D.C. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the new XFL owned by Dwayne Johnson’s Alpha Acquico and plays its home games at Audi Field, which is a soccer-specific stadium owned and originally built by Major League Soccer's D.C. United. At 20,000 seats, Audi Field is the smallest stadium in the XFL.
|Based in||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|Home stadium||Audi Field|
|Team president||Erik Moses|
|Owner(s)||Alpha Acquico, LLC|
Washington, D.C., joined Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Dallas as the XFL's inaugural cities. All teams have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said "the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of the game that should complete in under three hours", and draws from former college and NFL players.
On February 21, 2019, the team hired Pep Hamilton, who most recently was an assistant with the Michigan Wolverines football team, as their first head coach. Hamilton is an alumnus of Howard University and was familiar to XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck through Hamilton's work with Luck's son, a former NFL Quarterback, Andrew. Hamilton was later hired by the Los Angeles Chargers and the Houston Texans as quarterbacks coach, leaving the position vacant, likely until the league relaunches operations later in 2021 in preparation for 2022.
On February 15, 2020, the Defenders beat the New York Guardians by a score of 27–0, which was the first shutout in modern XFL history.
The Baltimore–Washington area has a history of several teams in alternative professional football. The USFL had the Washington Federals (a mostly unsuccessful franchise) in its first two years. Then the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars moved from Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland, in 1985, winning the USFL's final championship. The Canadian Football League's Baltimore CFL Colts/Stallions were the only successful American team in the league during their two-year existence in the mid-1990s (and were the only American-based team to win the Grey Cup, the CFL's championship). Indoor teams to have played in Washington include the Washington Commandos and the Washington Valor (which folded two months before the Defenders' first game) of the Arena Football League, and the D.C. Armor of American Indoor Football Association, in addition to several teams based in Maryland.
Defenders fans have taken up a tradition of assembling beer snakes out of empty beer containers. The snake constructed at the March 8 game ended up spanning several rows, including a contribution from Commissioner Oliver Luck.
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- Lincoln, Darrelle (March 8, 2020). "DC Defenders fans might've created the biggestbeer snake in history during game at Audi Field". Total Pro Sports. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
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