Former LA Rams DC Wade Phillips named XFL head coach
If you have been wondering about the renewed XFL status since being purchased by former WWE wrestler and current actor Dwayne Johnson, wonder no more. The sport will launch its brand of a “fan-first, fast-paced global professional football league with innovative rules and enhanced 360 game experience” on February 2023.
Today’s news from the XFL announces the hiring of eight head coaches, many of whom have significant NFL experience as either a player or a member of an NFL team’s coaching staff, or both.
The newly formed league will be based loosely on the pre-pandemic XFL, which had teams in eight US cities as follows:
- D.C. Defenders
- Dallas Renegades
- Houston Roughnecks
- Los Angeles Wildcats
- New York Guardians
- Seattle Dragons
- St. Louis Battlehawks
- Tampa Bay Vipers.
Right now, there is speculation that teams from two of their weaker markets, namely the Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers could set up shop in new locations.
While today’s news release names the eight new head coaches for the league, they do not say who will coach which team. The eight head coaches are:
- Reggie Barlow
- Anthony Becht
- Terrell Buckley
- Jim Haslett
- Wade Phillips
- Bob Stoops
- Hines Ward
- Rod Woodson
The XFL, while not directly supported or financially connected to the NFL, has entered into an R&D agreement with the NFL to collaborate on infusing the latest medical, safety, and technological advancements available into the sport of football.
The XFL has been an important incubation chamber for two dozen current NFL players, and a revitalized XFL would likely renew its role in creating opportunities for athletes to attract interest from NFL teams.
The LA Rams nearly retained a former XFL player when the team auditioned XFL kicker Austin MacGinnis and added him to the practice squad in 2020. MacGinnis hailed from the XFL and was one of a host of former XFL players who migrated to the NFL when their league halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
LA Rams fans are surely familiar with former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and Jim Haslett. Phillips served on the Rams coaching staff from 2017 through 2019 as the defensive coordinator and helped the team to appear in Super Bowl LIII in head coach Sean McVay’s second season. Now, he will have an opportunity to find new success with a reboot of the very popular XFL.
Jim Haslett was the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams from 2006 through 2008, becoming the team’s interim head coach to finish out the 2008 season when he took over from former head coach Scott Linehan after a 0-4 start to the new season.
The XFL is quickly assembling their league now, and with their official football operations (training camp) likely to begin on or around January 2023, you should be hearing more about hiring coaches and adding players to the league soon.