Austin Proehl of the Seattle Dragons scores the first touchdown in...

Austin Proehl of the Seattle Dragons scores the first touchdown in the history of the resurrected XFL during the first half of the game against the DC Defenders at Audi Field on February 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images/Scott Taetsch

WASHINGTON  — The debut of the new XFL had a punt blocked for a touchdown, a juiced-up crowd roaring for big plays and a player swearing during an in-game television interview. The actual football was hit and miss.

Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was the biggest star on the field and took the microphone to address fans before the start of a brand-new football league. “This is for the love of football,'' Jones said. “Enjoy.”

Jones’ DC Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons 31-19 Saturday afternoon in the opener of the new XFL that provided plenty of entertainment in person and on TV.

In the other opener, PJ Walker  threw four TD passes in the Houston Roughnecks’ 37-17 win over the Los Angeles Wildcats.

The New York team, the Guardians, opens Sunday hosting Tampa Bay at 2 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.

It’s far too early to tell if the  XFL can take a foothold where its previous incarnation and the recently unsuccessful Alliance of American Football failed, but executives are willing to wait and see.

“For us, if the fans who attend and watch at home feel as though it was a good football game and they had a fun time either watching or being in this awesome venue with us, that’s success,” XFL chief operating officer Jeffrey Pollack said. “We’re taking a long term view in this. Success ultimately will not be measured in the first game or the first weekend or the first season.''

The first weekend is a chance for fans to catch a glimpse of some of the few players they might recognize. There’s former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones with Dallas, former NFL QB Josh Johnson with San Diego and ex-Navy standout Keenan Reynolds playing for Seattle.

In the league opener, a crowd of 17,163 almost filled Audi Field, home of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United. There was a buzz around the stadium in the hours before the game, with cars lining up to enter parking lots and fans checking out a league-sponsored tailgate. Fans were already sporting Dragons and Defenders gear and queued up in long concession lines at halftime.

The television  broadcast included in-game interviews with a kicker seconds after he missed a field goal attempt and a defender involved in a scrum that led to a penalty. Seattle’s Dillon Day dropped an F-bomb that made it to the airwaves and went viral. On the field, the play was a mix of traditional college and pro style with some different twists.

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