New York Guardians
The New York Guardians are a professional American football team based in the New York metropolitan area. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the new XFL founded by Vince McMahon's Alpha Entertainment and plays its home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
|Based in||New Jersey|
|Home stadium||MetLife Stadium|
East Rutherford, New Jersey
|Head coach||Kevin Gilbride|
|General manager||Kevin Gilbride|
|Team president||Janet Duch|
|Owner(s)||Alpha Acquico, LLC|
|Colors||Black, grey, red|
The team is coached by Kevin Gilbride, a longtime offensive coordinator in the National Football League (most recently with a ten-season stint with the New York Giants). Gilbride came out of a six-year retirement to join the XFL; his hiring was announced April 16, 2019.
The team's name and colors were revealed on August 21, 2019, as part of a league-wide announcement.
Background and market overviewEdit
New York is one of two metropolitan areas, the other being Los Angeles, to have hosted teams in both the original XFL in 2001 and the 2020 XFL; the New York/New Jersey Hitmen were the Guardians' predecessors in the previous league.
The New York metropolitan area has 16 professional teams in some form or another, including three NHL teams, two NBA teams and two MLS teams whose seasons substantially overlap with the XFL's. The Guardians (despite carrying a New York brand) are locally marketing themselves as a New Jersey franchise to differentiate themselves from the other teams in the region. MetLife Stadium is the largest venue in the XFL; the league has been public in its desire to find a smaller venue, mentioning Red Bull Arena as a potential venue for 2021.
The Guardians won the first game in franchise history, topping the Tampa Bay Vipers 23–3 at MetLife Stadium. Quarterback Matt McGloin scored the first touchdown in team history on their first possession, a one-yard score that put them up 6–0. McGloin would later find Colby Pearson for a passing touchdown. Defensively, the Guardians forced three turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown by Jamar Summers. Tampa Bay reached the red zone five times, but emerged only with a field goal thanks to a standout defensive effort.
The Guardians' first road game saw them become the victims of the first shutout in the new XFL's history, as they fell to the DC Defenders by a 27–0 final at Audi Field. The game became notable for a McGloin sideline interview with ABC/ESPN's Dianna Russini, in which he was very critical of the team's offensive gameplan. McGloin was eventually pulled from the game for backup Marquise Williams in the second half.
New York's next game was a visit to The Dome at America's Center to take on the St. Louis BattleHawks. Another one-sided loss awaited the Guardians, as they fell by a 29–9 final in St. Louis' home opener. McGloin was injured on the Guardians' first possession. He returned to the game, but missed the entire second half. New York did manage to end a streak of 26 consecutive possessions without a touchdown when third-string quarterback Luis Perez found Austin Duke for an eight-yard score in the fourth quarter.
With McGloin out with an injury, Perez was the Guardians' starting quarterback for their Week 4 return to MetLife Stadium. Assisted by a strong rushing attack, Perez was able to guide the Guardians to a 17–14 victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats. The Guardians tallied 122 yards on the ground, led by a tally of 82 from Darius Victor. New York took the lead for good on a 47-yard field goal from Matthew McCrane, which was set up by a Summers interception. Jarrell Owens led the way defensively for the Guardians with two sacks and a blocked field goal.
Perez earned another start when the Guardians hit the road again, taking on the Dallas Renegades at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Guardians would go on to put up their most dominant effort of the season, crushing the Renegades by a 30–12 final. New York's key to victory was a series of 21 unanswered points in the third quarter. Williams came in to score a rushing touchdown from one yard out before Perez hooked up with Pearson for an 80-yard touchdown pass, the longest play in Guardians history. Linebacker Ryan Mueller capped the barrage off by returning an interception for a touchdown, the Guardians' second defensive score of the season. New York once again had a stellar rushing day, earning 144 yards on the ground. Victor once again led the way, this time with 58 of those yards.
The Guardians were set to take on the undefeated Houston Roughnecks at MetLife Stadium prior to the XFL's decision to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York finished their inaugural season with a 3–2 record and engaged in a three-way tie for first place in the XFL's East Division.
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- Gabrielle Saulsbery (November 18, 2019). Guardian state. NJ BIZ. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
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