Bob Stoops’ autobiography discusses his decision to join the XFL and more

Bob Stoops’ autobiography, “No Excuses: The Making of a Head Coach,” is now now available at bookstores and online at Amazon.com.

In the book Stoops discusses subjects such as now-Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon, his heart disease, and the decision to join the XFL. Stoops talks about his decision to not cut Mixon after a misdemeanor assault charge.

“I could have cut Mixon loose in 2014,” Stoops said. “In 2019, that’s the only choice that would’ve been acceptable. If I were faced with the same situation today, my decision would be much different than the one I made in 2014.”

Book summary:

When Bob Stoops took over as football coach in 1999, the Oklahoma Sooners were in disarray with back-to-back losing seasons. But in just two years’ time, Stoops achieved the seemingly impossible: winning a national championship and returning the struggling Sooners to their powerhouse status, churning out NFL talent, Heisman Trophy winners and conference championships, bowl wins and national title runs on a regular basis.

During his 18 seasons at OU, his record was a remarkable 190-48. At only age 56, at the peak of his career, he stunned the college football world by walking away.

For the first time, Bob opens up about his career alongside the evolution of the game itself. From his unlikely emergence as a star player at the University of Iowa, to his coaching apprenticeships under giants like Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder, and Steve Spurrier, Stoops recounts how the game he fell in love with as a boy has evolved into a billion-dollar business often compromised by recruiting wars, aggressive agents, overzealous boosters and alumni, and the emergence of the CEO head coach rather than mentor and teacher. Bob holds nothing back while explaining why it was time to step away from the game–and players–he still loves.

Told with a rare combination of sincerity, vulnerability, and pure heart, No Excuses is both an engaging and eye-opening football memoir and an unprecedented portrait of a coach of one of the greatest legacy programs in the history of the college game.

Johnny Football to Dallas? Don’t count on it…

Johnny Manziel 2014 Browns training camp https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johnny_Manziel_2014_Browns_training_camp_(3).jpg

Johnny Manziel at one point was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to play the game when he was wearing the Texas A&M Aggies uniform. Since then? Not so much.

Manziel has bounced around since being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns back in 2014. He spent two seasons there before being cut from the team in 2016 and then proceeded to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 2018. After six weeks there, he got traded to the Montreal Alouettes, but after the 2018 season, he was released by the league after they had determined that he had “contravened” with his agreement with the league. He found a home shortly afterwards with the Memphis Express of the now defaulted Alliance of American Football. That’s where this story really begins.

Before joining the Express, the San Antonio Commanders had first claim on him since that was the team geographically closest to where he went to college. Commanders General Manager Daryl Johnston (former Dallas Cowboys fullback) waived his rights and that’s how he joined the Express. Johnston has never been the biggest fan of Manziel and that has been evident in the past, but he’s back in the news again regarding Manziel as he once again says he would pass on him.

“For me the chemistry in the locker room is critical, and especially the quarterback position,” now Dallas Renegades Director of Player Personnel Johnston said according to SportsDay. “He kind of sets the tone, especially for the offensive side of the ball, but really for the whole team. There is so much added responsibility that goes with the face, goes with the voice of the franchise. And I haven’t seen that from Johnny on a consistent basis that I would feel comfortable committing to him.”

There’s no question that Manziel’s troubled past has been the main reason he has not returned to the NFL, but the XFL is a league of second chances. This is where Manziel belongs for two reasons: 1. I have every reason to believe that he has truly matured with how he was with interviews with the Express when he played in the Alliance. 2. He would put people in the seats of every XFL football stadium no matter how people feel about him.

I personally believe the Houston Roughnecks would be perfect for him since he already has a personal relationship with June Jones from their time in the CFL. Manziel does not fit the offensive scheme that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops will have and I still believe the league will do what it takes to get Stoops and recent signed quarterback Landry Jones back together.

Manziel was average during his time in the Alliance as he was outshined by 3rd string quarterback Brandon Silvers (one of the XFL draft invitees) and never really had a chance to prove himself. I know he had second and third chances in the CFL and the Alliance, but there is still some spark of excitement with how he plays and I think he still somewhat salvage his career. Johnston may not see it now, but with a new league trying to attract attention and giving players another chance at playing professional football, I think it’s time for all of us to move on from the past and let’s give Manziel another shot.

Big news in big D: Dallas Renegades

There’s an old saying in Texas: “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” That would be the perfect statement to describe the kind of day it was for the XFL and XFL die-hards.

The names and logos were announced for all 8 of the teams Wednesday that included a combined coverage from the XFL, ESPN, and Fox Sports.

For Dallas, they got a first glimpse of their team as they will be called the Renegades. The Renegades are sporting a light blue main color followed by red on the eyes of the renegade and black around the outline of the face.

The renegades fits perfectly with what Texas is all about with the theme being “gunslingers, outlaws, and desperadoes” from the old days out in the country. The logo was a tough look to it with the text of “Dallas Renegades” is good-looking and makes sense for the Dallas team.

There has been some controversy with the logo as on Twitter, esports personality Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles tweeted after the announcement saying “What the actual f***. The Dallas XFL team just straight up stole the @Renegades name and logo. That was my creative vision.”

According to the other Renegade’s website, they were acquired by former NBA player Jonas Jerebko in 2016 as the website also states that the “Renegades is North America’s premier multi-gaming esports organization. Featuring professional players and teams in the world’s largest competitive games. Recent breakout performances in Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Paladins has helped launch Renegades into becoming one of the most prominent and recognized sports franchise around the world.”

Will anything come out of this claim made by MonteCristo on Twitter? Who knows, but with logos and names being released, Dallas fans can enjoy this exciting time of knowing who their new professional football team is and get ready for the XFL Draft in October to see who will be wearing the blue, red, and black colors on their jerseys in February.

Introducing the Dallas Renegades

YouTube video

 

The XFL has named their Dallas franchise, the Dallas Renegades.

“Deep in the heart of Texas… beats a different kind of pulse. A spirit untamed. A swagger that can’t be denied. Where big meets bold meets badass. This is outlaw country, inside the lines. This is hell on wheels, between hash marks. This is their home on the range. The Dallas Renegades. Raising hell. February 2020.”

Under head coach Bob Stoops, the team will begin play in Globe Life Park, in Arlington Texas, in February 2020.

XFL Dallas hosting team name reveal event Wednesday

Wednesday is the big day when XFL fans can finally know the names and logos of their respective cities. The XFL Dallas team will be having their own celebration of the historic day.

The XFL Dallas team posted on their Facebook and Twitter pages sharing that they will be hosting their team name reveal event on Wednesday at South Victory Plaza on 3090 Olive Street in downtown Dallas. The event will take place at 11:15 am CT, just 15 minutes prior to the team names being revealed on the XFL, ESPN, and Fox websites.

For local Dallas XFL fans, it’s a first chance to meet their new team and the members of the organization and spend their lunch break celebrating an event XFL fans have been waiting for.

Boomer Sooner Reunion? XFL should hope so

It would be the XFL’s dream to see the Bob Stoops and Landry Jones come back together and take the league by storm.

Bob Stoops and Landry Jones both were together in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl for four years straight when they took on the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Showdown. Jones became the Big 12’s all time leading passer with 16,646 yards and 123 touchdowns under Bob Stoops’ guidance. The two together combined for 40-13 record in Jones’ four years at OU. Oh, and not to mention that Jones was named after Dallas Cowboys coaching legend Tom Landry. Call it destiny?

Jones fits the prototypical Stoops quarterback: tall, drop back/pocket passer. He would obviously fit in perfectly with Stoop’s offensive system with his familiarity with how to run the offense and would be a fan favorite right away in Dallas. The two would instantly be one of the favorites to win the Western Conference and take home the XFL title.

In an interview with James Hale of SportsTalk1400’s “Total Sports” back in July, Stoops told him, “Oh, he still looks great. He can still sling the ball, and just is in good shape, maybe not prime like he had been, but he’ll work himself back into shape. But he can still throw the football as well as anybody and has worked in our offense before, so I think Landry will have a really good future in this.”

It would be the XFL’s dream to see the two come back together and take the league by storm. They can sell tickets to fans at Globe Life Park with the pair being back together since they are close to the Oklahoma border. It’s true that there might be a lot of Longhorn fans in the area, but Sooner fans would not be able to resist driving 3-4 hours from Norman to watch the pair back together.

I don’t usually condone backdoor collusion, but this might be a case where I would make an exception. The XFL needs to create as many headlines as possible to get the press and fans excited for the league to begin play in February. A “family” reunion of sorts would be a good headline before kickoff.

More high-powered hires for the XFL including NBC Sports Veteran Len Mead

On Wednesday, the XFL shared the details of four new staff hires, one at XFL headquarters, one in Dallas and two in Seattle.

XFL Headquarters

Len Mead has joined as Vice President, Media Partnerships in the league’s headquarters in Stamford, CT. He will manage the day-to-day relationships with the XFL’s broadcast partners FOX Sports and ABC/ESPN as well as exploring potential new partners in TV, radio, and other platforms. Len joins the XFL after nine years with NBC Sports Regional Networks where he was initially hired as VP Production & Programming for then Comcast Sportsnet New England before moving west to be General Manager of NBC Sports Northwest. Prior to NBC, Len worked in programming at NESN and ESPN where he was on the original launch team of ‘ESPN360’ (now ESPN3) and conceived the ‘Megacast’ concept which ESPN continues to use around major events.

XFL Dallas

Rob Carolla will head up communications for XFL Dallas after spending nearly 25 years as a sports administrator. He recently served as President of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) – the national organization for communicators in college athletics – concluding a six-year term on the Board of Directors in 2018-19. During stints at the College Football 150th Anniversary, Big 12 and Big East Conferences and Conference USA, he has handled various external duties on national, regional and local levels. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and was born and raised in New Jersey.

XFL Seattle

Michelle DeLancy has joined XFL Seattle as senior director of marketing, and will be responsible for building the XFL Seattle fan base, creating awareness campaigns, engaging fans across platforms including the game day experience and operations while driving business performance. A Seattle native, she most recently was the general manager at ABC Creators where she oversaw all aspects of the business including brand management, event operations, sponsor sales, athlete relations and development, marketing and communications. She spent the majority of her career with Virginia Mason Medical as executive director of the Boeing Classic, a PGA Tour Champions event held annually in the Seattle area where she oversaw all aspects of the event and the relationship with the PGA Tour.

Pete Tenney, also a Seattle native, joins as director of content production and operations, and will lead the team’s content and production department, overseeing the creation of all XFL Seattle digital content (video and graphics for web, app, etc.), use content to engage fans through storytelling and develop a social media strategy and execution for all XFL Seattle social accounts. He joins from the NFL Players Association where he served as creative director and produced an athlete content series teaming with Amazon, Spotify, EA Sports, and Warner Bros. Before his time with the NFLPA, he was a senior producer at Bleacher Report where he created athlete video franchises and live content.

XFL Names Dallas Native Grady Raskin President of City’s New Team

Grady Raskin, most recently Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the NHL Dallas Stars, has been named President of the XFL team in his native Dallas.

Stamford, Conn., June 27, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Grady Raskin, most recently Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the NHL Dallas Stars, has been named President of the XFL team in his native Dallas.

The Dallas XFL team will take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and play its home games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Bob Stoops is the team’s head coach and general manager.

Raskin will be responsible for the team’s fan engagement and business operations, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, content, communications, community relations, and game day experience.

“Vince McMahon, Oliver Luck and I are thrilled to welcome Grady to the XFL as our eighth and final team president this year,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “As a Dallas native who has called the Metroplex home his entire life, Grady understands the heart and soul of local sports fans and he’s deeply connected in the business community. We know that, working alongside Coach Stoops, he will help us connect with the community and build something special.”

“The XFL has attracted an impressive group of coaches and sports executives to its ranks, and I’d like to thank Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack for the opportunity to lead the team in my hometown and work with the legendary Bob Stoops,” said Raskin. “Knowing how passionate football fans in North Texas are, it’s humbling and extremely energizing to take on this new challenge. We are eager to begin the process of building a first-class organization devoted to creating fan-first experiences and strong partnerships throughout the community.”

Raskin began his 22-year sports career as an intern for MLB’s Texas Rangers in 1996 and soon worked his way up to Director of Advertising Sales, selling corporate partnerships for three sports entities owned by Tom Hicks (Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Mesquite Rodeo), as well as the newly-constructed American Airlines Center. He was elevated to Vice President of Business Development for the Rangers and Stars in 2007, then, upon the sale of the teams in 2009, moved to the Rangers exclusively. Raskin rejoined the Stars in 2012, serving as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, managing all partnership sales and activations. Over his career, he has experienced two Western Conference Championships and a Stanley Cup Championship with the Stars, and two American League Pennants with the Rangers.

A cum laude graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in sports management, Raskin was a three-year letterman on the university’s Division I baseball team. He lives in Dallas with his wife Ally and their two children.

A Stroke of Oliver Luck

Oliver Luck signs Bob Stoops to Coach in the XFL.”That’s not something, I am going to be interested in,” Bob Stoops said when the XFL initially reached out to him over a month ago. Stoops was echoing the sentiments of millions of sports fans, when they first heard about the return of the XFL.

At this point, not being interested in the XFL is probably still the feeling of most sports fans, but there’s no denying that the improbable return of the league was matched or bettered by the shocking announcement that legendary coach Bob Stoops was buying in. Changing people’s perception of the league is not going to be an overnight accomplishment, but this is a big step forward in doing so. Call it a “Stroke of Oliver Luck.”

Eyebrows were raised with astonishment when it became official that Bob Stoops had signed a two-year deal, becoming the Head Coach and General Manager of the XFL’s Dallas pro-football team. Very few saw this coming. When NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright reported in January that Bob Stoops was contemplating a return to coaching, in the XFL, he was mocked and ridiculed. There were people on social media that were ripping news sources that finally confirmed the Bob Stoops rumor as a reality. One Twitter user even cursed out ESPN for “getting it wrong.” This person thought that Stoops was signing with the other league, and was angry that ESPN got the league name wrong. Almost as if to say, “How could this possibly be right?”

Regardless of the negative perception of the XFL, some of it was earned through sins of the league’s past. There’s no denying what a great hiring CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck pulled off here with his football operations staff. This is a superb hire in any league, or for any college program, let alone an upstart spring pro-football league that has baggage. There was no one happier this past week than Oliver Luck. He was downright giddy. He deserves to pat himself on the back for this hire. If he was running the Cincinnati Bengals and made this hire, it would be worthy of praise. But this is not the NFL. Luck actually convinced Stoops to take the unlikely plunge of being an XFL head coach. At this point, it’s quite clear that the XFL’s best asset is their commissioner.

It was reported and highlighted through video by Mark Berman in Houston, that Oliver Luck, through his close associate and friend newly minted Houston Cougars coach Dana Holgorsen, reached out to Bob Stoops to gauge his interest. Holgorsen told Luck that Stoops was getting the itch to get back into coaching. Stoops dilemma was that he didn’t want to get back into the college ranks. He wanted to be near his three kids, who are attending Oklahoma. He wanted to see his son play college ball in the fall.

The XFL, as absurd of an option as it appeared to be initially, turned out to be an ideal fit for what Stoops was looking for. He had nothing left to accomplish in college. No interest in getting back on the recruiting grind, and no interest in being away from Oklahoma or his family. Then, in comes Oliver Luck with the ideal job. It was Luck, who convinced Stoops that the XFL was going to be a respectable and viable entity. This is something Oliver Luck has been working really hard at doing, especially in the last couple of weeks. After an interview with ‘The Professor” John Clayton on his ‘Schooled’ podcast in Seattle, Clayton commented on how his conversation with Luck, changed his viewpoint on the league. Even legendary sportscaster Tim Brando applauded Oliver Luck and their hiring of Bob Stoops, stating that the XFL had “more juice” than the AAF.” Brando even commented on social media that the hiring of Oliver Luck told him, “all he needed to know.” The television decisions they have in front of them will be fun to watch moving forward.” Brando currently works for Fox Sports, which coincidentally is the rumored broadcasting co-partner of the XFL. It’s not a stretch to think that Brando could be a part of the presentation.

Besides the obvious credibility and name recognition that Bob Stoops brings to the league, his expertise in college football and recruiting also greatly benefits the XFL. This is a football coach who has recent knowledge of the college football game, not someone who has been out of the loop for 10 to 15 years. Stoops is going to be recruiting and signing from a pool of players that he is extremely familiar with, something he mentioned on Dallas Radio Friday. Not only players that he successfully recruited and coached at Oklahoma University, but even players that he recruited but ended up landing at Texas, Texas A&M, or TCU, etc, and players and coaches he coached with and against. During an interview on “The Ticket,” in Dallas, Stoops stated that he is already fielding “millions” of calls from coaches and football players that are looking to join him in Dallas. Having “Optimum Scouting” as the league’s direct scouting department, and VP Doug Whaley’s scouting expertise, will also aid Stoops and the other seven head coach/gm’s that sign on.

Pep Hamilton may be the next XFL Head Coach/GM hiring. He is rumored to be taking on the challenge of finally getting to run his own pro-football team in Washington D.C. Hamilton has ties to Oliver Luck, coaching and coordinating offenses for his son Andrew at Stanford and Indianapolis. Hamilton also coached current XFL Director of Football Operations, Sam Schwartzstein. Beyond those connections to the league office. Hamilton went to school and started his coaching career in D.C. at Howard University. Like Stoops, Hamilton has experience in the college game, but also brings along pro-football experience as well. It’s clear at this point, that when Oliver Luck drops hints it’s not just noise or false hype. He revealed on Radio Row that a coach from a major college program had signed on. That turned out to be true. On Texas radio, he stated that a former coordinator that didn’t have head coaching experience, had signed on. That spells out Hamilton. His other hint on Houston Radio with Sean Salisbury, was that, “former NFL head coaches have left assistant jobs to sign on with the XFL.” Perhaps, with the heightened amount of attention towards the league with the Stoops hiring. credible reporters like Benjamin Allbright will out-scoop everyone again on the next group of names.

Legendary Chinese Philosopher Lau Tzu once said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Oliver Luck and the XFL just took a giant-step forward in their journey towards credibility and redemption.

Bob Stoops named XFL head Coach in Dallas

STAMFORD, CONN., February 7, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Bob Stoops, the winningest head coach in University of Oklahoma history, has been named head coach and general manager of the XFL team in Dallas.

“We’re incredibly excited to have an individual as accomplished as Bob Stoops join the XFL family,” said Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner & CEO. “Bob’s achievements at Oklahoma are legendary, and he’s the perfect person to lead our team in Dallas. Having a coach as successful as Bob share the XFL’s vision to reimagine the game is energizing and further validates our mission.”

“I’m looking forward to working with Vince McMahon, Oliver Luck and the great group of people they’ve put together to help develop the XFL and build an outstanding team for fans in the Dallas area,” said Stoops. “When the chance to play a key role in building a new football league came my way I couldn’t pass it up. The style of play in this league will allow us to innovate and refresh the game, and that makes me excited to get back to the sideline again.”

Stoops’ accomplishments during his 18-season (1999-2016) tenure at Oklahoma seem endless. No head coach has led the Sooners to more victories (190), consecutive bowl berths (18) and Big 12 titles (10), than Stoops. During the Bowl Championship Series era, Stoops was the only coach to win a national championship (2000) and every BCS Bowl Game. His OU teams also played in three additional BCS National Championship Games and made the four-team 2015 College Football Playoff.

Stoops earned 19 Coach of the Year awards, including eight on the national level during his 18 seasons at OU. He reached 100 victories faster than any coach in college football history. Only five coaches needed fewer games than Stoops to reach the 150-win plateau (187 games). During his 18-year OU tenure, the Sooners led the nation with their .667 winning percentage (60-30 record) against AP Top 25 teams.

Stoops produced 37 first-team All-Americans, two AP Players of the Year and 79 NFL Draft picks as OU’s head coach. While there, he coached two Heisman Trophy winners (Jason White in 2003 and Sam Bradford in 2008) and seven Heisman finalists, as well as two more Heisman winners who earned the honor after his OU retirement (Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018). He also coached at his alma mater Iowa (1983-87), Kent State (1988), Kansas State (1989-95) and Florida (1996-98), where he served as defensive coordinator for the Gators’ 1996 national championship team.

As a standout college player, Stoops was a four-year starter at defensive back at Iowa (1979-82) under coach Hayden Fry who gave him his start in coaching. He made honorable mention All-American (1982) and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection (1979, 1982).

About The XFL

The XFL will reimagine football for the 21st century when it kicks off the weekend of February 8-9, 2020. The new league is committed to delivering a fan-centric, innovative experience, including fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.

Football is America’s favorite sport boasting over 85 million fans, but the traditional season is just too short. Seeing a tremendous opportunity to fill the void, Vince McMahon, XFL Founder and Chairman announced on January 25, 2018, the launch of a new league, which he is personally funding. McMahon is building the XFL with the same commitment and resolve that he has demonstrated building WWE into a global media and sports entertainment powerhouse.

Delivering authentic, high energy football for the whole family at an affordable price, the XFL will offer fast-paced games with fewer play stoppages and simpler rules. The league will launch with eight teams, 45-man active rosters, and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game. The XFL will also establish a health, wellness and safety program that meets the needs of today’s athletes.

The XFL will embrace the latest on and off-field technology, providing live game coverage, content and real-time engagement across multiple platforms, giving fans greater access than ever before. The XFL is committed to building grassroots relationships with local organizations in its host cities through social responsibility partnerships, and the XFL will enjoy the support of WWE’s many extraordinary resources and promotional capabilities.

The XFL will launch next year in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C.

For more information, visit XFL.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.