Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

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MikeMitchell
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Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by MikeMitchell » Tue May 14, 2019 1:35 pm

June Jones is now on board with XFL Houston. It will be formally announced next Monday in Houston. The hiring process began in early February. Three months later and now all 8 Head Coach/GM’s have been hired.

There was a group of coaches that were interviewed, that didn’t land jobs in Jeff Fisher, Jim Haslett and Jim Leavitt.

We knew that this would be an eclectic mix before this process started. Upstart football leagues usually attract coaches who are not on NFL radars, or coaches that have been out of that loop entirely. Just look at the AAF, which had a group of coaches who were out of the game for quite some time. Just getting coaches to buy in to an upstart league is tough.

The original XFL had only 1 coach with NFL Head Coaching experience, in the late Ron Meyer with Chicago. The other members of the original 8 were Al Luginbill (LA), Jim Skipper (SF), Rusty Tillman (NY), Jim Criner (LV), Kippy Brown (Memphis), Gerry Dinardo (Birmingham) and Galen Hall (Orlando).

The current group of 8, has 5 coaches with head coaching experience. 4 of them are former NFL head coaches. The group consists of former super bowl champions, a college football champion and a CFL champion. 6 of the 8 coaches have an offensive background.

Here are my final rankings on the coach/gm’s that have been hired. It’s all subjective but my list is based mostly on experience and success.

#1- Bob Stoops- Despite having no experience as a pro football head coach. Stoops is the most successful of this group. His experience as a top recruiter should aid him as a first time GM.

#2- Marc Trestman- Leagues like this were made for him. He’s always been an innovative and forward thinking coach. Trestman is great with utilizing his talent and being adaptable to his schemes and players. He will have a strong support staff.

#3- June Jones- I was almost tempted to put him at #2. His body of work is the most impressive in the league. He’s coached at every level and produced great results on offense.

#4- Kevin Gilbride- Tough call here because Kevin has no experience as a GM or recruiter. His run as a head coach wasn’t very good. He did a great job as an OC with The Oilers and won two Super Bowls as an OC with The Giants. That puts him ahead of other coaches who don’t have that level of experience or success.

#5- Pep Hamilton- One of my personal favorite hires. Loved the work that he did with Stanford and Indy, coordinating those offenses. I’d rank him higher but he has no experience as a head coach. The jury is still out. Recent knowledge of the NCAA and NFL will help him in finding the right talent.

#6- Jim Zorn- The coach with the most impressive player resume of the league. His QB expertise will help him. It’s the other matters of running a team, that concern me. He was a great choice for Seattle but would not have been a great choice in any of the other markets.

#7- Winston Moss- I rank him slightly ahead of Hayes because he has experience in being an assistant head coach for a long time in Green Bay. This has a chance to be a boom or bust type hire. He has the flair and background to be a leader, and will probably be the most entertaining coach to follow in the league. Moss kind of reminds me of Herman Edwards, great leader who also had no coordinator experience. Winston’s staff choices will be the key to his success.

#8- Jonathan Hayes- Someone has to be in this spot. Another good leader who has had a respectable career as a player and assistant coach. He is a complete unknown in this spot. In Cincy, their assistant coaches are de facto scouts because the team has a tiny scouting staff. That will help Hayes as the GM. Like Moss, he’s going to need the right support staff around him to succeed. The majority of the XFL’s coaches have great experience running an entire side of the ball. Hayes simply doesn’t.

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Tank55
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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by Tank55 » Tue May 14, 2019 2:07 pm

Is this strictly from an on-field perspective or from a marketing standpoint as well?

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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by johnnyangryfuzzball » Tue May 14, 2019 2:16 pm

Tank55 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:07 pm
Is this strictly from an on-field perspective or from a marketing standpoint as well?
Looks like mostly on-field, though he does mention Zorn's role in Seattle having a marketing angle.

Personally, I would put Moss a little higher, Hamilton a little lower (he wasn't that good in Michigan), Zorn perhaps a little higher since his NFL experience wasn't a total disaster and the Redskins have always been a poorly managed team in the Snyder era. Agree with the top 3.

My ranking would be:
Stoops
Trestman
Jones
Moss
Zorn
Gilbride
Hamilton
Hayes

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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by XFL_FAN » Tue May 14, 2019 2:52 pm

On field rankings:

1.Stoops
2.Jones
3.Trestman
4.Gilbride
5.Hamilton
6.Zorn
7.Moss
8.Hayes
Teams I'm Thinking About Rooting For:

1.Dallas
2.DC
3.Houston
4.LA
5.NY
6.Seattle
7.Tampa Bay
8.St. Louis

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MikeMitchell
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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by MikeMitchell » Tue May 14, 2019 3:26 pm

Tank55 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:07 pm
Is this strictly from an on-field perspective or from a marketing standpoint as well?
On field.

As far as off field/marketing.

#1- Bob Stoops- The most accomplished and most famous coach in the league. Great ties to The Texas region through Oklahoma. He might draw in fans from Oklahoma to his games, and is probably the coach that is going to get the most eyeballs to the league.

#2- June Jones- Strong ties to Texas. Jones has great name value in Houston. He is a part of that city’s pro football history.

#3- Jim Zorn- Member of the Seahawks ring of honor. A beloved figure in those parts. Zorn is one of them. You could rank him as high as first on this list.

This is where the list gets difficult. It’s basically a coin flip amongst some of these coaches.

Hard to rank them. Next up would be these two. Winston Moss is a former Raider and has great marketing potential. He fits LA. Pep Hamilton is a DC boy made good. He can actually build on his DC name if he wins.

Then it’s the rest. Gilbride won in NY but he’s in a love/hate relationship with the market he is in. Trestman has history in Florida but no real strong connection to that region. Hayes has very little connection whatsoever to STL. Played in the state but he’s not one of their own.

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Tank55
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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by Tank55 » Tue May 14, 2019 3:40 pm

OK. If it's on-field only -- if my life depended on my coach winning the XFL championship -- here's my draft board. Gaps indicate big drop offs in confidence levels.

1. Trestman: Above Stoops because he's won championships at this level for two different CFL teams
2. Stoops: Above Moss because he's won at a major level

3. Moss: Above Hamilton because I just get the sense players are going to LOVE playing for him
4. Hamilton: Above Jones because he's in his prime and I get the sense will have his teams very well-prepared
5. Jones: Above Gillbride because he's an active coach at the sub-NFL level
6. Gillbride: Above Hayes because he's been a head coach and coordinator before
7. Hayes: Above Zorn because he's an active coach.

8. Zorn: Dead last because the game had evolved past him even when he was active, which was five years ago. Nice guys sometimes finish last.
Last edited by Tank55 on Tue May 14, 2019 3:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by MikeMitchell » Tue May 14, 2019 3:50 pm

Tank55 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:40 pm
OK. If it's on-field only -- if my life depended on my coach winning the XFL championship -- here's my draft board. Gaps indicate big drop offs in confidence levels.

1. Trestman: Above Stoops because he's won championships at this level for two different CFL teams
2. Stoops: Above Moss because he's won at a major level

3. Moss: Above Hamilton because I just get the sense players are going to LOVE playing for him
4. Hamilton: Above Jones because he's in his prime and I get sense will have his teams very well-prepared
5. Jones: Above Gillbride because he's an active coach at the sub-NFL level
6. Gillbride: Above Hayes because he's been a head coach and coordinator before
7. Hayes: Above Zorn because he's an active coach.

8. Zorn: Dead because the game had evolved past him even when he was active, which was five years ago. Nice guys sometimes finish last.
I like your list and your commentary attached to each coach.

I really dig the fact that Trestman is getting the right amount of respect on this board. He has a lot of detractors, particularly people from the Chicago region.

Hate to simplify things but these coaches success will ultimately come down to QB play. If you get the right one and develop a strong support system around that QB. You will have a strong chance of succeeding. I give Gilbride and Zorn a chance because of their QB expertise. Kevin more so than Zorn, because he’s a better coordinator.

Moss has the feel of a championship coach. I agree about the leadership aspect. He just needs the right talent and staff around him.

I have a feeling that Stoops is going to pull a Spurrier and kick everyone’s ass. Especially if he gets Hal Mumme to run his offense. I would put my money on Big Game Bob.

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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by XFL_FAN » Tue May 14, 2019 4:01 pm

MikeMitchell wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:50 pm
Tank55 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:40 pm
OK. If it's on-field only -- if my life depended on my coach winning the XFL championship -- here's my draft board. Gaps indicate big drop offs in confidence levels.

1. Trestman: Above Stoops because he's won championships at this level for two different CFL teams
2. Stoops: Above Moss because he's won at a major level

3. Moss: Above Hamilton because I just get the sense players are going to LOVE playing for him
4. Hamilton: Above Jones because he's in his prime and I get sense will have his teams very well-prepared
5. Jones: Above Gillbride because he's an active coach at the sub-NFL level
6. Gillbride: Above Hayes because he's been a head coach and coordinator before
7. Hayes: Above Zorn because he's an active coach.

8. Zorn: Dead because the game had evolved past him even when he was active, which was five years ago. Nice guys sometimes finish last.
I like your list and your commentary attached to each coach.

I really dig the fact that Trestman is getting the right amount of respect on this board. He has a lot of detractors, particularly people from the Chicago region.

Hate to simplify things but these coaches success will ultimately come down to QB play. If you get the right one and develop a strong support system around that QB. You will have a strong chance of succeeding. I give Gilbride and Zorn a chance because of their QB expertise. Kevin more so than Zorn, because he’s a better coordinator.

Moss has the feel of a championship coach. I agree about the leadership aspect. He just needs the right talent and staff around him.

I have a feeling that Stoops is going to pull a Spurrier and kick everyone’s ass. Especially if he gets Hal Mumme to run his offense. I would put my money on Big Game Bob.
I agree. He's the only coach in the league that could be an NFL HC if he wanted to.
Teams I'm Thinking About Rooting For:

1.Dallas
2.DC
3.Houston
4.LA
5.NY
6.Seattle
7.Tampa Bay
8.St. Louis

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Tank55
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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by Tank55 » Tue May 14, 2019 4:03 pm

Yeah, if the criteria were marketability or excitability or even "best bet to succeed in the NFL," Trestman wouldn't be at the top. But if I'm betting my life on it, I'm going with the guy who won 3 Grey Cups in 7 tries in Canada.

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Re: Ranking The XFL’s Eight Head Coaches

Post by XtremeFanForever » Tue May 14, 2019 8:57 pm

Here's how I ranked them on reddit:
1. Marc Trestman, Tampa Bay - One of the most boring hires but arguably the best. Sure, he sucked for the Bears, but the talent level in the XFL will be much more comparable to the CFL. All he did in that league was in three Grey Cups.

2. Bob Stoops, Dallas - Most would probably put him at the top just because he's a household name. His success speaks for itself, I just happen to think Trestman's experience will be more applicable to the league.

3. Pep Hamilton, Washington - The prototype for the kind of coaches the league should aim for. Experience all around the football world, both in the NCAA and NFL; close ties to the city he's working in; and still young enough to build his career from here. Some of these guys will always be known as "former NFL coach ______," Hamilton has the potentially to be known first and foremost as an XFL Head Coach. Unfortunately, candidates like this are hard to come by.

4. June Jones, Houston

5. Kevin Gilbride, New York - Writing Jones' and Gilbride's synopsis together because, to me, they're extremely similar. Past their primes but still respected coaches. Neither achieved very much as NFL Head Coaches but carved out a good deal of success in lesser positions (NCAA Head Coach; NFL Offensive Coordinator). This is basically a coin flip, but I gave the edge to Jones as I think his more recent NCAA and CFL experience will better suit him for the league.

6. Winston Moss, Los Angeles - His lack of Head Coach or coordinator experience is a little worrisome but he's had a long career as an NFL coach so he should be fine. As an LA fan, I love the intensity he seems poised to bring the club and I generally prefer defensive-minded coaches, but the XFL seems to be positioning itself as an offensive-friendly league so this could be a hindrance without a strong Offensive Coordinator.

7. Jim Zorn, Seattle - The most AAF-like of all the hires (former NFL guy now relegated to a lower league because nobody would hire him). Zorn still gets points for his NFL Head Coaching experience and his knowledge of the Quarterback position should prove particularly useful in this league. Plus he's just a nice fit for Seattle.

8. Jonathan Hayes, St. Louis - Perhaps the most "Original XFL"-like of all the hires (it says a lot that there are so few coaches of that mold this time around). I see the drawbacks, no Head Coach or Coordinator experience, no real ties to St. Louis (not that that really matters at the end of the day) but, like Moss, he's had a long career in the NFL ranks. He's not Bob Stoops, but that doesn't mean he can't find success at this level.
The more I think about it, the more I find Moss to be similar to Hayes (in much the same way I find Jones similar to Gilbride). Perhaps I was being a bit biased ranking him above Zorn and Hayes. I'm excited by the hire, but he will have a lot to prove. His selection of an OC will be hugely important.
Defending Champs

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