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The Ring’s The Thing: Before #XFL2023 Title Is Decided Saturday On ABC, ESPN’s Tom Luginbill Reflects On League’s Purpose

As an assistant coach in 2001 with the champion LA Xtreme and eventually ESPN sideline reporter and analyst, Luginbill has been part of the XFL in all of its iterations

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill was an XFL game analyst this season. He brings a long history with the XFL brand – he was an analyst in the XFL 2020 league and was a quarterbacks coach in the original XFL, winning a championship with Los Angeles in 2001 (watch the video above).

In advance of the XFL Championship in San Antonio – with the Arlington Renegades facing the D.C. Defenders (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC) – Luginbill shared more about his memories with the XFL and the best moment this season (you might be surprised).

What made this version of the XFL special?
The access, audio, and rules. Peeling back the curtain and providing transparency on officials’ reviews was a vital and valuable component of the game. The three-tiered extra point options and the kickoff return rule always made things interesting.

Being able to listen in on coach-to-player conversations really gives the fans a much better perspective and allows them to learn new things each week.

What was your favorite moment from this season?
Tracking and analyzing the beer snake in D.C. [at Audi Field]. We had so much fun with that; the fans were incredible.

We’d give updates, we’d “telestrate it,” send Stormy Buonantony [field reporter] or Harry Douglas [field analyst] over there for a report and pretty much treated it as part of the game.

How does seeing the XFL’s success with a 2024 season in the works feel?
I take a lot of pride in this league. I’m a lifer! There is an appetite for year-round football, and quite frankly, there is a need for it. It’s a league of opportunity for everyone involved. Football is supposed to be fun, and this is fun!

What do you remember most from your time with the XFL as a coach?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one thing, but the innovation was a lot of fun. The steady cam and SkyCam debuted with the XFL in 2001. The rules were a bit unique.

However, aside from winning a championship, I think the in-game experience really resonated with everyone involved with the league. It was like a rock concert with a football game going on.

Spencer T. Jackson produced the video above.

ESPN XFL analyst Tom Luginbill has served in a variety of roles affiliated with the league. (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
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