Folks, the XFL Championship is upon us. It’s just one day away. There are so many storylines heading into this momentous game – but, one rises above the rest. Two quarterbacks; Jordan Ta’amu & Luis Perez, will duel for the sixth time in their spring football careers.
#XFL2023 Championship QB Fun Fact: This is the sixth time Jordan Ta'amu & Luis Perez will play each other.
– XFL 2020 | STL vs. NY – USFL 2022 | NJ vs. TB – XFL 2023 | Vegas vs. DC – XFL 2023 | DC vs. Vegas – XFL 2023 | DC vs. Arlington
Considering how often these spring leagues come and go, it’s remarkable that these two journeyman QB’s always find a way to face each other consistently. It goes to show how talented they both are, serving as starting signal callers for multiple football organizations.
To fully understand the magnitude of tomorrow’s matchup, let’s take a look at what’s transpired so far that has led us to this point.
XFL 2020: St. Louis vs. New York
The first time these two legends played was in the XFL 2.0. This matchup has a bit of an asterisk on it, as Luis Perez did not start.
In fact, both quarterbacks were in completely different situations at the time. Jordan Ta’amu was the golden child of St. Louis, leading the Battlehawks to their first win at home in dominant fashion over New York.
Meanwhile, Perez was relatively unknown in the XFL at this point. He saw his first minutes in the second half, and played respectively well despite the large deficit. Perez impressed so much that he would eventually start New York’s next two games – winning both.
Feels GREAT to see the offense find the end zone! 🙌
Of course, the XFL shut down due to COVID-19, which resulted in these teams not playing each other again that season.
USFL 2022: Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey
Fast forward to 2022. Ta’amu and Perez found a way to play each other once again, this time in the USFL. Perez had spent time in The Spring League in 2021, leading the Jousters to the Championship game. On the other hand, Ta’amu was in and out of NFL camps, but couldn’t find a long-term home.
In week seven of the USFL, it was Luis Perez who would win the matchup. New Jersey clearly had the stronger team at the time, and took advantage of Ta’amu who struggled mightily in Todd Haley’s system. Jordan turned the ball over a few times in that game, as the New Jersey Generals rolled to a 20-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Bandits.
New Jersey’s defense had Ta’amu look about as out of sync as we’ve ever seen him. His final stat-line was abysmal:
17/37 237 yards 1 TD 3 INT
Perez, on the other hand, threw for 174 yards and a TD.
XFL 2023: Vegas vs. DC
One year later, the two found themselves in a similar situation. Both joined the XFL ahead of the league’s return, in hopes of using the platform to further their professional careers. Rod Woodson was assigned Luis Perez as a QB for his Vegas Vipers, and Perez earned the starting role in training camp. Jordan Ta’amu would join the XFL after his USFL contract expired, and signed with Reggie Barlow’s DC Defenders.
However, there was a stark contrast in each player’s teams this time around. DC was stacked with talent, while Vegas clearly didn’t have much of an identity. In the Vegas rain and wind, the Defenders would come away with an ugly 18-6 win.
In the midst of the rain, wind, and – dead grass – this @XFLVipers defense is playing excellent football.
Max Roberts forces another fumble on Jordan Ta'amu, and Vic Beasley recovers. The Vipers have a defense that is always ready to strike. #XFLpic.twitter.com/TspUrtzT0Q
Neither quarterback played very well in this one, largely due to the poor weather conditions. It was a wet and sloppy game across the board, resulting in both offenses resorting to the ground for most of the outing. Perez would be replaced by Brett Hundley along the way, but would get a chance at revenge just two weeks later.
XFL 2023: DC vs. Vegas
At Audi Field, the result was not much different. Brett Hundley was the starter for Vegas, but suffered an injury, which led to heavy minutes for Luis.
DC took a massive first half lead, one that Perez couldn’t overcome despite tossing a couple of touchdowns in the second half.
The Defenders would win 32-18, powered by Ta’amus’ effective passing. He threw for 177 efficient yards, while the team combined for 173 yards on the ground – and the Defenders would come away with a 32-18 win at home to remain undefeated.
XFL 2023: DC vs. Arlington
This is where the story gets even more interesting. Mid-season, Rod Woodson agreed to trade Luis Perez to the Arlington Renegades, who were in desperate need of a QB.
This meant that for the third time in just one season, Perez and Ta’amu would face off once again. In the District, it was Jordan’s Defenders who absolutely dominated through three quarters. The team looked unstoppable, taking a 26-9 lead with them into the final frame.
However, the energy would shift entirely. Perez put the team on his back, miraculously leading them to tie the game in the final moments. While DC would prevail in over time, it was an unbelievable comeback that had fans in awe.
THE @XFLRENEGADES HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN OR TIE THE GAME AFTER CONVERTING A 4TH AND 15‼️
Luis Perez would finish this outing with his best stat-line of the year:
31/41 335 yards 1 TD
Jordan Ta’amu played respectively well in his own regard, ultimately throwing the game-winning two point conversion in OT:
14/20 188 yards 2 TD
Somehow, some way, these two will meet one final time. The Arlington Renegades shocked Houston in the postseason, making it to the Championship game despite boasting a 4-6 regular season record.
DC, on the other hand, has dominated opponents all year long. Their big three of Jordan Ta’amu, Abram Smith, and Lucky Jackson have been tough to slow down. Ta’amu performed so well this XFL season, that he was rewarded with the Offensive Player Of The Year award.
QB Jordan Ta'amu has been named @XFL2023 offensive player of the year, and for good reason:
9-1 Record (@XFLDefenders) 143/229 (62.5%) 1,894 passing yards 298 rushing yards 17 total TD
While Ta’amu certainly has the stronger team, you can’t count out Luis Perez. He’s been a staple in the spring football scene for years, and is known to play at a high level when the pressure is on.
Right now, Jordan leads the series 4-1, with Perez’ only victory coming in the USFL in 2022. Will the tables finally turn for Luis in the XFL tomorrow? We’ll have to wait and see.
Regardless of tomorrow’s XFL Championship outcome, it’s bound to be an entertaining matchup between both teams. The Renegades have been playing much more cohesive football since Luis Perez has taken control. His leadership has been vital to settling things down, and pushing the team in the right direction.
On the other hand, Jordan Ta’amu came into his own over the last several weeks of the XFL season. He was sensational down the stretch, making the right decisions time and time again. He finished the season with only three interceptions, a major improvement from the twelve he threw in the USFL a year ago.