The BattleHawks’ home opener definitively demonstrated that Stan Kroenke’s claims were false.

After a lengthy wait of approximately 1,530 days, football enthusiasts in St. Louis finally witnessed their beloved sport return to the Dome, despite the lack of support from the NFL or a particular owner often referred to without naming names.

February 23, 2020 marked the birth of “Ka-Kaw Nation” with the arrival of St. Louis’ new XFL team, the formidable BattleHawks. As early as 8 a.m., eager fans adorned in BattleHawks gear began setting up grills and coolers in the parking lots and even atop nearby parking garages, ready for a day of spirited tailgating.

The festivities commenced with a parade featuring devoted fans and marching bands, culminating at Baer Plaza for the official pregame celebration. Here, amid fireworks, camera flashes, and the enthusiastic cheers of St. Louis residents, the BattleHawks made their grand entrance into the Dome, many donning jerseys of the Stanley Cup Champion Blues.

Meanwhile, the outdoor revelry continued to escalate. XFL tailgates are known for their unrestricted atmosphere where public day drinking is not just allowed but encouraged, fostering a sense of camaraderie among strangers turned comrades. The typical look of an XFL supporter: a drink in each hand and a wide smile.

DJ Big Poppa G kept the energy high with giveaways, Nelly tunes, costume contests, dance-offs, and performances by School of Rock musicians belting out Iron Maiden covers. By the time the stadium gates swung open, the throngs of fans waiting in line were in a frenzy fueled by their passion for football and disdain for Stan Kroenke.

Throughout the day, chants of “Kroenke sucks” reverberated across every corner, from parking lots to restroom lines, serving as both a rallying cry for the team and a vocal assertion of St. Louis’ enduring football spirit. BattleHawks nation is committed to ensuring the world hears what locals already know: St. Louis has always been a football city, even if it’s no longer an NFL one.

Indeed, this is XFL territory, and after that memorable day, few lamented the absence of the Rams.

From the stirring national anthem to the final seconds, the atmosphere inside the Dome was electrifying, with players visibly feeding off the energy of the XFL’s largest live audience yet—over 29,000 fans, as reported. The BattleHawks wasted no time, scoring their first points on home turf in just four plays and less than three minutes, setting the tone for their dominant performance.

In the second quarter, they honored the city’s football legacy with vintage trickery that resulted in the XFL’s inaugural kickoff return for a touchdown. Kicker Taylor Russolino added to the spectacle with a 58-yard field goal, setting another XFL record.

Ultimately, St. Louis’ new hometown heroes secured a commanding 29-9 victory over the New York Guardians, propelling them to a 2-1 season record and first place in their conference.

Football had returned, reaffirming St. Louis as one of the world’s greatest sports cities, a testament to the unwavering dedication of its fans year after year. Despite Stan Kroenke’s assertions and the NFL’s departure, the city’s love for the game remained resolute.