XFL commissioner Oliver Luck has been busy putting together the XFL coaching staffs. All eight franchises have had their head coaches named and it appears that most franchises also have offensive and defensive coordinators as well. So, we thought it would be a good time to put together a ranking of the XFL coaching staffs.
Ranking the XFL Coaching Staffs
When it came to ranking the XFL coaching staffs, we put a lot of emphasis on the man in charge of the franchise. It starts at the top and if you don’t have the right head coach, most likely the franchise won’t go anywhere.
While the head coach will get the most publicity, it is important that each head coach surrounds themselves with quality coordinators. With all of that said, here is how we rank the XFL coaching staffs.
Dallas: Head Coach Bob Stoops, Offensive Coordinator Hal Mumme, Defensive Coordinator Chris Woods
The former longtime head coach of the University of Oklahoma, Bob Stoops was the first and arguably the biggest head coaching hire by the XFL. Stoops helped guide the Sooners to a 2000 National Championship. During his 18 seasons in charge of the Oklahoma football program, he accumulated a 190-48 overall record. With such an impressive record, it isn’t a shocker he was the biggest head coaching hire by the XFL.
Stoops has pegged longtime college head coach and offensive coordinator Hal Mumme to run his offense. Mumme has been credited with inventing the “air raid offense,” an offense that a good majority of college football teams currently run. With Mumme in charge of the offense, don’t expect him to be calling too many run plays.
Chris Woods isn’t too well known. His only coaching experience has come at the college level. He worked under Stoops at Oklahoma from 2015-2018 as a defensive quality control coach. Stoops has a defensive background, so he must have seen something in Woods to trust him with his defense.
Los Angeles: Head Coach Winston Moss, Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow, Defensive Coordinator Pepper Johnson
Many readers might be shocked that Winston Moss has been ranked so high on this list. While Moss was a long time linebackers/associate head coach for the Green Bay Packers under Mike McCarthy, the position he coached in Green Bay never really flourished under his leadership. Still, Moss brings with him NFL coaching and playing experience.
Out of all the XFL coaching staffs, we believe LA has the best combination of coordinators. Norm Chow is a longtime college offensive coordinator. Chow is most known for his time as USC’s offensive coordinator from 2001-2004, where he coordinated some high octane offenses. He is a former University of Hawaii head coach and spent several seasons as the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator as well.
Leading the defense is another well-known name. Pepper Johnson was a longtime linebacker for the New York Giants. There he played under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells. After his playing days, he worked for another hall of fame head coach, Bill Belichick, as an assistant with the New England Patriots. Along with his 13 seasons as an assistant with the Patriots, he worked as an assistant with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
Houston, Head Coach June Jones, Offensive Coordinator Chris Miller, Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell
If the XFL fans want to see high scoring football, then they will need to make sure to follow June Jones and the Houston franchise. Jones is known for running offenses that put up a lot of points. Educated in the “run and shoot” offense, Jones has guided some big-time offenses while he was the head coach at the University of Hawaii and SMU. He also did it at the NFL level with the Atlanta Falcons. Most recently, he was the head coach of Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Houston team on top of the offensive stats category for the XFL.
Jones offensive coordinator is a person that knows Jones quite well. Chris Miller was a quarterback for the Falcons while Jones was with Atlanta.
With Jones having an offensive background, he has tabbed a longtime NFL defensive coordinator to be in charge of his defense. Ted Cottrell was a defensive coordinator for four different NFL franchises and brings a vast amount of experience to the position.
Seattle, Head Coach Jim Zorn, Offensive Coordinator Mike Riley, Defensive Coordinator Clayton Lopez
Jim Zorn is well known in the Seattle area. He was a longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback from 1976-1984. Since finishing up his playing career he has been either quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator at both the college and NFL levels. He also spent two seasons as the Washington Redskins head coach.
What excites us the most about this XFL coaching staff is who Zorn named as his offensive coordinator. Mike Riley is another well-known name in the Pacific Northwest. Along with being a longtime head coach of Oregon State, he was the head coach of the University of Nebraska and also spent time as the then San Diego Chargers head coach. Most recently, he was the head coach of the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF. There, he helped guide a very explosive offense.
Clayton Lopez is another unknown commodity for XFL coaching staffs. Lopez was an assistant in the NFL from 1999-2013, most recently as the Oakland Raiders secondary coach. This will be his first time as a defensive coordinator at any level.
Tampa Bay, Head Coach Marc Trestman, Offensive Coordinator Jamie Elizondo, Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville
This XFL coaching staff has a big time CFL flavor to it. Marc Trestman was a very successful CFL head coach. He won Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts. Along with his successful run north of the border, he spent time as an assistant with several college teams, several NFL teams, and was the head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Jamie Elizondo follows Trestman from the CFL. Most recently he was the offensive coordinator of the Ottawa Redblacks. Along with his time in the CFL, he was an assistant with Syracuse University. Interesting side note, both he and Trestman hold law degrees.
Here we go! That is what former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville used to say when he was an NFL broadcaster. Now the former Houston Oilers and Falcons head coach will be guiding Tampa Bay’s defense. Along with Trestman and Elizondo, Glanville most recently spent time in the CFL as a defensive coordinator.
Washington, Head Coach Pep Hamilton, Offensive Coordinator Tanner Engstrand, Defensive Coordinator Jeff Fitzgerald
Don’t the placement of Washington on our XFL coaching staffs ranking fool you. We are very high on the hire of Pep Hamilton as the Washington head coach. Hamilton is the type of head coach that we wanted to see out of the XFL. He is a bright young coach that hasn’t been given the chance to lead a team. Hamilton has coordinated offenses at Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and at the NFL level with the Indianapolis Colts. If he had more experience with his coordinators, this ranking would be higher.
While we would have liked to see more experience at the coordinators, we will keep an open mind when it comes to Hamilton’s staff. Engstrand follows Hamilton from the University of Michigan. Working under Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is a plus on a coach’s resume and Engstrand has that.
While Jeff Fitzgerald is older, he has never been an NFL defensive coordinator, this will be his first time in that position. He does have many years of experience as an NFL linebackers coach though.
New York, Head Coach Kevin Gilbride, Offensive Coordinator None, Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann
Leading up to the announcement of who would be the head coach of the New York XFL franchise we were expecting a big name. Instead, the announcement came that it would be Kevin Gilbride. While Gilbride is known in New York for being the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants when they won their last two Super Bowls, we just expected a bigger name. It is hard to forget Gilbride’s time as the Chargers head coach when he coached them for two seasons and accumulated a 6-16 record.
We do have to credit Gilbride for what he has done as an NFL offensive coordinator though. It is probably the right thing that he hasn’t named an offensive coordinator and most likely will call offensive plays himself.
Jim Herrmann is another unknown commodity. He was a longtime defensive assistant with the University of Michigan. After leaving Michigan in 2005 he went on to become an assistant with three different NFL organizations. Included in that time, he worked with Gilbride on the Giants coaching staff.
St. Louis, Head Coach Jonathan Hayes, Offensive Coordinator TBD, Defensive Coordinator Jay Hayes
After the then St. Louis Rams cruelly departed for Los Angeles, it appeared that pro football was done in St. Louis. But then the XFL stepped up by placing a franchise in St. Louis. No doubt the fans of St. Louis are excited to have a pro football team again. So it seemed like hiring a head coach with ties with the city would have been in the future. Instead, the XFL pegged former NFL player and assistant Jonathan Hayes as the head coach. We are all for giving longtime assistants a chance to guide a team, but we were hoping for other than Hayes.
Hayes comes to St. Louis from the Cincinnati Bengals. He was their tight end’s coach from 2003-2018. The Bengals weren’t very known for their offenses during that era, so it seems that the hire of Hayes is a bit of a reach.
While the offensive coordinator position hasn’t been filled, Hayes didn’t have to look far for his defensive coordinator. Filling that position will be his brother Jay Hayes. Jay is a longtime NFL defensive line coach. He coached that position for two different teams, and shockingly, coached with Jonathan when he was in Cincinnati. While the hiring of Jonathan as the head coach seems like a reach, the addition of Jay as defensive coordinator seems like an even bigger one.
We are hoping for the best for the St. Louis franchise, but on paper, this is the least impressive of the XFL coaching staffs.
Embed from Getty Images