September 5, people. That's so far away. How are Miami fans supposed to cope?
There's a new answer to that question in the form of something old: the XFL. The football league founded and owned by World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon is back, and it's here to make us all forget that real football is gone until those seasonal Halloween costume stores start popping up again.
This weekend, the XFL is set to reemerge with a slate of four games after a nearly two-decade hiatus. We aren't quite sure what to expect, but we do know there will be footballs and football players involved, so that's good enough.
There are eight XFL teams for Miami Dolphins fans to adopt. It's time to pick a team before the games begin this weekend. Here's a quick guide to get you started.
D.C. Defenders. There is almost zilch going on here for Miami fans. Matt Elam — a former Baltimore Ravens player and University of Florida Gators safety — and former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones play for the Defenders. Outside of that, there isn't much of a reason to root for the team from D.C. The way things are going in Washington these days, probably no one on either side of the political spectrum wants to invest a lot of time cheering for these guys.
New York Guardians. There are about four Dolphins fans who would voluntarily choose to root for the XFL team from New York. Honestly, if you're one of those four people, you're a special kind of psychopath or a huge Justin Vogel fan. Vogel, of course, is a former Hurricanes punter. Oh, and Andrew Soroh, a safety who played for Florida Atlantic University, is also on this team.
You're not rooting for the Guardians. Stop it. If you're a New Yorker in Miami, fine. If you're a Dolphins fan in Miami rooting for the Guardians, we're revoking your Dade County card.
Houston Roughnecks. Are you a big fan of former Dolphins practice-squad player and offensive lineman Terry Poole? Did you once have a layover in Houston? Well then, boy, oh, boy, do we have just the XFL team for you! Poole plays for Houston. Houston is coached by former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Jones. These are indisputable facts for those of you looking for any reason in the world to cheer for the XFL team in Houston.
Los Angeles Wildcats. The first thing that sticks out here is that former Florida State University (FSU) speedster and return specialist Kermit Whitfield plays for the L.A. Wildcats. Kermit is a legend in Tallahassee for his timely kickoff return in the 2013 BCS National Championship game against Auburn. If you're a Seminoles fan, you'll be tuning in to see what Kermit is up to. If you're an Auburn fan, this might be your least favorite XFL team.
Los Angeles needs an XFL team like Miami needs higher sea levels. It makes no real sense that the league chose a town that already has multiple NFL teams, two of the best teams in the NBA, and other things to do this time of year, like going to the beach or almost anything else.
St. Louis Battlehawks. On the cover, the St. Louis Battlehawks would not seem to be the logical choice for a Dolphins fan, but there are a few reasons to watch this team. Former Florida Gators running back Matt Jones and safety Will Hill, as well as former FSU linebacker Ro'Derrick Hoskins, play for the Battlehawks. After losing the Rams to Los Angeles, St. Louis deserves some support — not from us, but from other people.
Seattle Dragons. The big-ticket item here is the fact that the electrifying former University of South Florida (USF) quarterback B.J. Daniels is a Dragon. That could be fun. Also, former Hurricanes tackle Anthony Moten, Florida International University defensive end Anthony Johnson, and USF tackle Quinterrius Eatmon call Seattle home. There isn't much else here. Maybe the Dragons can get Marshawn Lynch on loan from the Seattle Seahawks before he officially hangs up his cleats.
Dallas Renegades. Steve Spurrier is a tight-end/quality-control coach for the Renegades, so if you're a Florida Gators fan on Saturdays, the Dallas team might be your cup of tea. There are three players on this team who played for colleges in Florida: Reshard Cliett (USF), Sean Price (USF), and Tony Guerad (University of Central Florida).
Tampa Bay Vipers. This is it. This is your team. You're a Vipers fan now. [Makes hissing noise and stabs at the air with arched snake arm.] As you might have guessed, many familiar names and faces from South Florida have made their way north to play for the XFL team in Tampa. The Vipers are led by ex-University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and coached by onetime Dolphins assistant head coach Marc Trestman, so the bigger names on the marquee are quite recognizable.
Watching ex-USF star Quinton Flowers play quarterback/running back for the Vipers should be a lot of fun. Notable Florida players include Stacy Coley (Miami), Tarvarus McFadden (FSU), Rannell Hall (UCF), Bryce Canady (FIU), Jacques Patrick (FSU), Shelton Lewis (FAU), Mack Brown (Florida), Terrance Plummer (UCF), Jordan McCray (UCF), Martez Ivey (Florida), DeAndre Goolsby (Florida), and CeCe Jefferson (Florida).