BattleHawks Home Opener Had Buildup of Championship Fight

By Patrick Kelly

The build-up in St. Louis felt like a championship bout, and for St. Louisans it was in a way. When you look into the blue corner during a championship fight, you see someone with something to prove. Maybe they have been counted out one too many times, or maybe they just want a chance at redemption . It was the first professional football game in St. Louis in 1,529 days, but the energy in and around the building was something that hasn’t been seen since the Greatest Show on Turf.

With kickoff at 2 pm, BattleHawks fans had to be there earlier to start preparing. It started at 10:45 with the Battle March where bands from Hazelwood Central, Mater Dei, and O’Fallon, Ill. led BattleHawks fans to the official tailgate. This was followed by the player walk at 11:15, which had an unbelievable showing for three hours prior to kickoff.

The tailgates surrounded the stadium, all painted in blue and white for the city’s newest team. Driving past the Old Courthouse, fans were making their way toward the dome on a rather pleasant day for St. Louis in late February. As you approached the stadium, you began to see the smaller commuter lots filled with fans and Bar-BQ smoke billowing out from between the cars. It was an electric atmosphere as soon as you started walking around. Everyone had a big smile on their face, ready for the long anticipated season opener. 590 The Fan was out and about covering the scene. The first thing that stood out was the length a lot of people went to show how proud they were to be BattleHawks fans. Aside from the people in a jersey or BattleHawks wrestling masks, you could tell there were some people who put a lot of time and thinking into their outfit.

It wouldn’t be a St. Louis event without some local celebrities making an appearance. Michael Sam was on hand to support his former teammates L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas as well as take in the atmosphere.

Stepping into the dome had just as big a feel as outside. As fans were making their way into the stadium they were making their voices heard early as players were warming up. The opening video the BattleHawks put together was absolutely fantastic and somehow brought the energy up even higher. Making the ties to the 2011 Cardinals World Series as well as the Blues 2019 Stanley Cup win, the crowd only erupted louder as the BattleHawks were being shown one by one on the video board.

The fans had energy going all throughout the day and when the BattleHawks first touched the ball they carried over that energy. Scoring on their first drive the crowd got what they came for early. The BattleHawks weren’t done yet of course, and they responded with a reverse during a kickoff that resulted in a 90-yard return for a touchdown.

The BattleHawks just kept pushing on the gas, feeding off the crowd and they were able to trot off with a resounding 29-9 win.

Over a year ago when it was announced St. Louis was going to be awarded an XFL franchise, you could tell people were excited, but it was still more than a year away. As the season grew closer it almost became more real that yes, there will once again be professional football in St. Louis. The XFL, the BattleHawks, and the fans in St. Louis made sure that Sunday was a big reminder to the rest of the country that this is a great sports city.