The NFL season may be over, but football fans looking for something to fill the void this weekend can catch the debut of the XFL, the reboot of a failed 2001 experiment to create a permanent spring football league.

The XFL’s debut comes a year after the collapse of the short-lived Alliance of America Football, which ran into early payroll problems and was shuttered before its inaugural season was even completed. The abrupt and chaotic end left players stranded and stuck with unexpected bills.

One reason the XFL offers a bit more hope are the deep pockets of WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, who has promised to give the league the financial cushion it needs to succeed. McMahon has pledged to allow the league to operate for at least three seasons, and expects to lose somewhere in the ballpark of $375 million.

Of course, the XFL failed in its first season back in 2001, where it debuted to monster television ratings that eventually cratered without a real product to support the interest of football fans. So whether it can succeed this time around by focusing more on the game and less on scripted, scantily clad cheerleaders is anyone’s guess.

One thing the XFL will get is exposure, with more than half of the season’s 43 games scheduled to appear on broadcast television. Thanks to deals struck with Fox and Disney, every game will be televised, with Saturday games mostly airing on ABC and Fox, and Sunday games mostly appearing on ESPN and FS1. The broadcasts are expected to offer unparalleled access to players and coaches by airing live play-calling audio. There will also be a focus on gambling, including displaying the point spread and over/under on the game’s score bug.

Calling the games this season will be some familiar voices, including longtime ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy handling play-by-play duties on ABC alongside analysts Greg McElroy and Tom Luginbill. Fox is turning to longtime Fox NFL Sunday host Curt Menefee to handle play-by-play duties alongside Joel Klatt and Brock Huard. Fox’s No. 2 NFL play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will also call a handful of XFL games this season.

“I would be surprised is there aren’t at least two seasons of this XFL,” Levy told the New York Post. "We are treating this like a first-class operation. I’ve got my regular college football producer on this. We’ve got the real-deal personnel on this in front of and behind the scenes.”

Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream this weekend’s XFL games:

Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders

When: Saturday, Feb. 8

Time: 2 p.m. kickoff

Where: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.

TV: ABC (Steve Levy, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill, Dianna Russin)

Streaming: ABC app, ESPN app (require cable authentication), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription)

Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks

When: Saturday, Feb. 8

Time: 5 p.m. kickoff

Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston

TV: Fox (Curt Menefee, Joel Klatt, Brock Huard)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (requires cable authentication), fuboTV (free 7-day trial), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription)

Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians

When: Sunday, Feb. 9

Time: 2 p.m. kickoff

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: Fox (Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Jenny Taft)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (requires cable authentication), fuboTV (free 7-day trial), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription)

St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades

When: Sunday, Feb. 9

Time: 5 p.m. kickoff

Where: Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

TV: ESPN (Tom Hart, Joey Galloway, Pat McAfee)

Streaming: ESPN app (requires cable authentication), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription)

What does the XFL schedule look like?

The league consists of eight teams spread out across the country, mostly in cities that already have NFL franchises. Teams will play 10 weekend games between Feb. 8 and April 12, with no bye week and each team hosting five home games.

Four teams will advance to the playoff semifinals scheduled for April 19 and 20. The XFL Championship will be played April 26, just one day after the 2020 NFL Draft ends. The location for the championship has yet to be announced.

How the XFL’s rules will differ from the NFL

While the game will look and feel similar to an NFL game, there will be some notable differences. One will be the speed of play, which should feel quicker thanks to a 25-second play clock (compared to the NFL’s 40-second play clock). Teams will also get just two timeouts per half, instead of three.

Here are other notable differences:

  • Kickoffs: The kickoff will occur from the kicking team’s 25-yard-line, but members of the kicking team will line up at the opposing team’s 35-yard line and can’t move until the ball is touched by the returner or three seconds after the ball touches the ground. The idea is to increase the number of kickoff returns while making the play less dangerous by eliminating the 30-yard sprint to collision.
  • Punts: The XFL rules prohibit gunners from covering punts, and coffin corner punts will be treated as touchbacks, bringing the ball back to the 35-yard-line. These changes are intended to encourage more fourth-down-conversion attempts.
  • Points after touchdowns: The extra-point kick is scrapped in favor of three choices that can net a team up to three points after scoring a touchdown. A successful two-yard attempt is worth one point, a five-yard attempt earns a team two points, and a ten-yard attempt garners three points.
  • Double-forward pass: Teams will be permitted to attempt two forward passes on the same play, as long as the ball never crosses the line of scrimmage before the second pass.
  • Overtime: Instead of sudden death, the XFL opted for an NHL-style shootout to decide tied games, a first for professional football. During the five-round shootout, teams will alternate attempts to score a touchdown from the 5-yard-line. Defenses can’t score, and turnovers simply count as a failed attempt. The team with the highest score after five rounds wins the game.

Former Eagles players to watch this weekend

Former Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey will suit up for the DC Defenders in this year's reboot of the XFL.
Michael Bryant / Staff photographer
Former Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey will suit up for the DC Defenders in this year's reboot of the XFL.

There are number of ex-Eagles players spread across the XFL’s eight team rosters, though most were members of the practice squad who never made it onto the field. My colleague Damichael Cole compiled a full list of former Eagles, Temple, and Penn State players selected in the XFL draft back in October.

Probably the most recognizable to fans is running back Donnel Pumphrey, the San Diego State standout who was taken by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft. Unfortunately, Pumphrey didn’t show much during the preseason last year, and was cut by the Eagles prior the start of the season.

Here are some other notable former Eagles players suiting up in the XFL this weekend: