WATCH: St. Louis BattleHawks’ Joe Powell returns XFL’s first kickoff for a touchdown

It took almost three full weeks, but the XFL has its first kickoff return for a touchdown. The score came during the second quarter of Sunday’s game between the St. Louis BattleHawks and New York Guardians — and with some trickery, no less. On the kickoff, BattleHawks wideout Keith Mumphery passed off the ball on a reverse to defensive back Joe Powell, who took it more than 80 yards to the house to give his team a 12-3 lead. 

Here’s the play as it unfolded, with St. Louis’ home crowd in the Dome going absolutely nuts. 

Kickoffs were one of the key differentiating factors for the XFL. As you’ve probably read by now, no one other than the kicker is allowed to start running towards the defender until he touches the ball. That helps player safety and creates opportunities for more big returns.

Until Week 3, we hadn’t seen any major returns on kickoffs, let alone touchdowns. However, it was starting to become apparent that return specialists were figuring out how to break off major chunks of yards in that part of the game. Kudos to St. Louis for not only reaching that milestone first but also introducing some misdirection into the equation to give them more of an advantage within the rules. 

Now we wait and see how many more teams are able to get touchdowns in the return game. 

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