Japan’s XLeague set to kick off shortened season

The Japanese X League, the top American football league in Asia, kicks off a shortened season this Saturday, October 24 with seven teams.

The defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers along with the Obic Seagulls, Panasonic Impulse, IBM Big Blue, Elecom Kobe Finies, Nojima Sagamihara Rise and Tokyo Gas Creators, will play a three week regular season. Initially, the All Mitsubishi Lions were slated to compete but withdrew, hence the three cancelled games.

The league has been organized into two groups, Block A and Block B. The seven teams will play every other week in three rounds followed by a semifinal round and the Japan XBowl on December 15 in the Tokyo Dome.

The Frontiers, playing in Block A will face the Rise, Kobe Finies and IBM Big Blue while their 2019 championship opponent, the Panasonic Impulse, take on the Gas Creators and Obic Seagulls.

The Frontiers defeated Panasonic in the 2019 X Bowl 28-26 in a come-from-behind thriller winning their fourth Japanese title in a row and the fifth in six years. The only team to break that streak was the Impulse who won the title in 2015 by beating, who else, the Frontiers, also in a come-from-behind win, 24-21.

Graphic: Inside Sport Japan

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