The front half of the XFL's inaugural season is officially in the books -- five games down, five to go with the playoffs arriving in April. The season hasn't disappointed. Houston is must-see TV at 5-0 with the (spoiler alert!) leader for league MVP, quarterback P.J. Walker. Elsewhere,. That race will be fascinating to watch over the next month.
As we look ahead to the final five games, let's take a moment and hand out superlatives for the XFL's Offensive and Defensive MVPs, as well as the Coach of the Year, for the first half. We also have our Midseason All-XFL team. Keep in mind that with such a limited sample size and data pool, there will be players selected who have either had an "off" game or two, or have been sidelined with injuries. End-of-season awards will be much easier to compile. Still, these are players who have at least shown flashes of greatness and are worthy of being recognized.
Houston Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker: Quarterback play is going to drive this league and Walker is the face of that. He's had a greater impact on his team, and the league, than anyone else. He leads the XFL with 1,338 yards passing and 16 total touchdowns. He's a show every time he drops back or takes off running. Will he get a NFL contract at the end of this season? It seems likely so long as he's healthy, but there's no guarantee he'd start. It makes more financial sense to go to the NFL, but he's already a star in the XFL.
St. Louis BattleHawks S Will Hill: Houston linebacker Demarquis Gates nearly made this a clean sweep for the Roughnecks, but Hill has been a Swiss Army weapon for the BattleHawks' defense. The safety has 33 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks, so he's capable of coming up in the box or on a blitz and making an impact. On the back end, he has a pair of interceptions and pass deflections. Just about every player has had at least one "off" week, but Hill has been consistently great through five games.
Coach of the Year
June Jones, Houston Roughnecks: It helps when you have Walker, but Jones embodies a lot of the things that can make for a fun XFL. He's hyper aggressive and pass-happy with almost no regard for situational down-and-distance football. He has the best player in the league and he doesn't shy away from using him. He makes watching the XFL fun. Oh, and his team is the only unbeaten remaining. So, yes, after five games Jones is our leader for Coach of the Year.
All-XFL Midseason Team
QB: P.J. Walker, Houston Roughnecks
RB: Jacques Patrick, Tampa Bay Vipers
RB: Matt Jones, St. Louis BattleHawks
WR: Cam Phillips, Houston Roughnecks
WR: Tre McBride, L.A. Wildcats
TE: Donald Parham, Dallas Renegades
OL: Damien Mama, New York Guardians
OL: Jordan McCray, Tampa Bay Vipers
OL: Terry Poole, Houston Roughnecks
OL: Kirk Barron, Seattle Dragons
OL: Martez Ivey, Tampa Bay Vipers
K: Taylor Russolino, St. Louis BattleHawks
DL: Will Sutton, Seattle Dragons
DL: Cavon Walker, New York Guardians
DL: Anthony Johnson, DC Defenders
DL: Bunmi Rotini, New York Guardians
LB: Steven Johnson, Seattle Dragons
LB: DeMarquis Gates, Houston Roughnecks
LB: Jameer Thurman, DC Defenders
CB: Tarvarus McFadden, Tampa Bay Vipers
CB: Elijah Campbell, DC Defenders
S: Rahim Moore, DC Defenders
S: Will Hill, St. Louis BattleHawks
P: Marquette King, St. Louis BattleHawks
KR: Austin Walter, Dallas Renegades