The third iteration of the XFL will launch next year, and on Wednesday the league announced its eight head coaches.
Wade Phillips, Bob Stoops, Terrell Buckley, Hines Ward, Rod Woodson, Reggie Barlow, Anthony Becht and Jim Haslett will lead the eight as-yet-unnamed XFL teams.
Stoops, of course, is an XFL veteran, having coached the Dallas Renegades in the league's ill-fated re-launch. The league's first and only season was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, and it folded quickly thereafter.
The XFL is now re-re-launching under new management, co-owned by The Rock, businesswoman Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners, will arrive with a new identity. Where the first two versions were owned by Vince McMahon and the WWE, bringing all that came with it, the XFL 3.0 will be the most wholesome professional football venture the sport has ever seen.
"This league is going to be about innovation, it's going to be about our athletes, it's going to be about our fans," Garcia said Wednesday. "It's about taking everything that surrounds the ball and amplifying it. and bringing meaning and bringing inclusivity. It's going to be a dynamic, fast game. It's about opening more doors. It's about experiencing, not just watching. It's fresh, it's new, it's a league of today."
Phillips is the elder statesman of the group, at 74 years old with more than 50 years in the profession. He went 63-41 as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, won a Super Bowl as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and coached for another as the LA Rams defensive coordinator.
Haslett spent 2000-05 as the New Orleans Saints head coach, and led the Florida Tuskers of the UFL in 2009. He last coached in 2021 as the Tennessee Titans inside linebackers coach.
Barlow played eight seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl as a receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. He spent the past 14 seasons as a head coach at the HBCU level, including the last six at Virginia State.
Buckley played in the NFL from 1992-05 and moved into coaching in 2007. He was Ole Miss's cornerbacks coach for the past two seasons.
Woodson, a College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has dabbled in coaching since his 2003 retirement. He spent 2010 as an intern with the Cincinnati Bengals, 2011 as the Oakland Raiders cornerbacks coach, took two seasons off, returned in 2014 as an intern for the Denver Broncos, and then spent 2015-17 with the Raiders. He has not coached in the past four seasons.
Becht played tight end for 12 seasons in the NFL before moving into broadcasting. He has been on ESPN's roster of college football color commentators for the past seven seasons and also does pre- and post-game shows for the New York Jets radio broadcasts. His coaching experience amounts to one season as tight ends coach for the AAF's San Diego Fleet.
Finally, Ward won two Super Bowls in 14 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He spent 2019-20 as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets, then joined Florida Atlantic as a special assistant to head coach Willie Taggart before being promoted to wide receivers coach during the 2021 season.
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