Ex-Bills QB Named XFL MVP After Unlikely Comeback Season

AJ McCarron

Getty AJ McCarron in 2018.

A.J. McCarron fell short in his bid to win a starting job with the Buffalo Bills during Josh Allen’s rookie season in 2018. Five years and one league change later, McCarron made the most of another chance to be a starting quarterback.

In February, McCarron joined the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL for the league’s comeback season and ended the season as the league’s top quarterback. On May 4, he was named league MVP by XFL News Hub, one of the few news outlets dedicated to sole coverage of the league.

McCarron has now been named a top candidate to return to the NFL, saying his dreams of starting in football’s top league are still alive.

A.J. McCarron Set XFL Single-Game Records

Though the Battlehawks fell short of the playoffs in the XFL’s return after folding in 2020, McCarron took home the MVP award after leading the league in several statistical categories. He completed 68.8% of his passes, throwing for 2,150 yards with a league-best 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games.

McCarron also turned in one of the league’s most memorable games, throwing six touchdowns and 420 yards in the team’s April 22 season finale. McCarron set league records both for touchdowns and passing yards in a single game, according to AL.com.

A.J. McCarron Wants Return to NFL

McCarron, 32, decided to give the XFL a try after his career in the NFL hit a major snag. The former Alabama quarterback joined the Bills in the 2018 offseason and was in competition for the starting job, but he lost out to Nathan Peterman and was ultimately traded to the then-Oakland Raiders before the season started.

He remained in the NFL for three more seasons before suffering a season-ending ACL tear prior to the 2021 season. McCarron told AL.com that he wasn’t ready to end his professional football career and chose to join the XFL for the chance to once again be a starter.

McCarron also said he wanted his young sons to see him start, and often brought them on the field following games.

“I’m not done playing,” McCarron told Al.com. “I think I’ve shown that I can play at a high level and play on a consistent level, too. It’s been awesome to have my kids be a part of this. I don’t know what the future holds. After the season’s over, we’ll sit down as a family and with my agent and see teams he’s talked to in the [NFL] or what they’re saying. And if the situation’s right for me, we’ll decide that then, and if not, we’ll talk and figure out what’s best for us as a family and then go forward from there.”

Others believe McCarron could follow through on the move back to the NFL. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports wrote that McCarron could be one of the XFL’s top candidates to land a contract with an NFL team. He noted that the New York Giants — with former Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen at the helm as New York’s GM — could be a top candidate to sign McCarron to compete with former Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor for the backup job.

Read More