Seattle Gets Xtreme with the Sea Dragons’ Return

The Sea Dragons share a home with their NFL counterpart, the Seattle Seahawks

The Sea Dragons share a home with their NFL counterpart, the Seattle Seahawks

Trevor Butler, Sports Editor

After starting off the 2020 season strong, the XFL was forced to file for bankruptcy amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Things seemed bleak for the league in its second iteration, until Dwyane Johnson (yes, The Rock) and a host of others purchased the league. It was revived in 2023, with Seattle retaining their franchise, albeit with a new name of Sea Dragons (they were called the Dragons in XFL 2.0.) 

The Sea Dragons, led by former Cleveland Browns superstar wide receiver Josh “Flash” Gordon and former Dallas Cowboys QB Ben Dinucci, opened the year on the road at Audi Field in the nation’s capital, losing a late game heartbreaker to the DC Defenders, 22-18. Seattle was moving the ball down field when Dinucci fumbled deep in Defenders territory. Nevertheless, they were slated for a Thursday night home opener against the St. Louis Battlehawks. Led by former Alabama and Houston Texans QB AJ McCarron, the Battlehawks rallied to defeat the San Antonio Brahmas 18-15 in their season opener.  

With a few notable fans in attendance, including Seattle Seahawks legend Walter Jones and XFL chairwoman Dany Garcia, the excitement was palpable for the home opener. Braving the below freezing temperatures, 10,386 fans made the trek to Lumen Field to support the Sea Dragons. Walking into the stadium, fans were greeted with music provided by Seattle’s own DJ Roscoe. Roscoe quickly became a fan favorite, with a large group of fans standing just below his DJ booth and chanting his name. Roscoe, along with his hype man sidekick, provided the in-game entertainment.  

The XFL’s new rules were on display during the matchup, with a running clock after out of bounds and dropped passes and a revamped extra point system being two of the focal points of the rules that set the XFL apart from its counterparts.  

Seattle struck first, with kicker Dominik Eberle converting a 29-yard field goal to give the Dragons the lead. They increased their lead early in the second quarter, with Dinucci taking the top off the defense and hitting Blake Jackson for a 54-yard touchdown. After hitting Gordon for a three-point conversion, Dinucci and the Dragons held a 12-0 lead.  

It didn’t take long for McCarron and the Battlehawks to answer back, as they ate up six minutes of clock and put themselves on the board with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The game would enter halftime with the Sea Dragons holding a 12-8 lead. 

The third quarter saw both teams plagued with the turnover bug, as a St. Louis field goal represented the only points of the quarter. As the fourth quarter rolled along, Seattle had multiple opportunities to close out the win, but turnovers kept the door open for St. Louis, who capitalized on the opportunity and took a 17-12 lead on a 44-yard receiving touchdown from former Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler. Butler couldn’t haul in the two-point conversion, meaning the Battlehawks advantage would stay at only five.  

Seattle couldn’t capitalize on their next drive, and all seemed lost until Battlehawks kicker Donald Hageman missed a field goal that would have almost iced it. Ben Dinucci stepped up, and drove the Sea Dragons down the field, punching in a go-ahead touchdown with only 1:21 to go.  

St. Louis would have one more drive to try and win it, and AJ McCarron came up clutch. He drove the Battlehawks down the field, and Hageman got his redemption in the form of a game winning field goal, as St. Louis escaped with a 20-18 win. For the second week in a row, Seattle suffered a late game comeback.  

The Sea Dragons return home on March 11 to take on the San Antonio Brahmas.