I had a chance to attend the Houston Roughnecks Kick-Off event last night at Pitch25, and man was I shocked for numerous reasons. Look, I report on the XFL, I’m a member of the XFL community, I myself am a fan of the XFL. But it’s one thing being on twitter and seeing all the excitement from fans all over social media. It’s a totally different experience being with XFL fans live. Pitch25 was legitimately rocking last night, and I was shocked to see it.
We have known the XFL was coming for 2 years already, and excitement had been hitting an all-time high as the season neared. But last night, being among the Houston Roughnecks fans, I got a feeling that I have never felt since the Houston Astros won the World Series. You know, before we knew about the trash cans. It was electric! These weren’t just people that were there hanging out. No. These were FANS! I saw jerseys, t-shirts, hats, bottles, cups, signs, all the stuff in between, and they were hungry! Not hungry for food. No. They were hungry for some Roughnecks football! Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s Texas, or maybe it’s because Houston is a great sports town. But the excitement level I saw last night, it was different than all the other sports teams in town. I mean these fans, to which there were MANY, were there to cheer on their new team.
I asked @sammiecoates11 , with all the stuff that the Houston sports world has gone through, how does it feel to bring back hope to Houston?
Sammy: We got great players, great coaches, great fans. We’re bringing a Championship back to Houston.
Article coming tomorrow👀#XFL2020 pic.twitter.com/JtUXi62BwR
— Sal Rico (@SalRicoXFL) February 7, 2020
Joel Klatt and Curt Menefee, FOX’s XFL announce team, were in attendance, as well as the Houston Roughnecks players and coaches. Team President Brian Cooper, and 97.5 ESPN’s John Granato and Nate Griffin, who will be on the radio call for every Roughnecks game, were also there. You could tell they were feeding off of the energy from the crowd that was there, because all of their faces were lit up. They had a great time talking about the upcoming season and how the teams progressed all throughout training camp. Curt Menefee asked June Jones, “Why in the world you would you leave Hawaii to come coach in Houston?”. Coach Jones simply responded, “They would pay me a lot more, to coach a lot less games. That was easy.”. Another great thing that was said by Jones was that “apparently” they do indeed have a Tight End on the team, they just don’t like to make it known. I’ll be interested to see who that Tight End is come Saturday. But all in all, it was a great time, for both the fans and the team.
Now after all the festivities were done, I got a chance to catch up with PJ Walker a little bit, the Roughnecks starting quarterback. I told him congratulations on winning the starting job, and he told me that he is excited to see how this offense gels on the field. He believes that they will be competitive and will never be out of a game.
I then caught up with star receiver Sammy Coates, who many will remember for his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I asked him, “With all the stuff that the Houston sports world has gone through the past few months, (Astros cheating scandal, Texans blowing 24-0 lead in the playoffs), how does it feel to bring back hope to Houston?”. He replied with a simple answer. “We got great players, great coaches, and most of all, great fans. We’re bringing a Championship back to Houston!”. Simple and straight to the point. If Sammy Coates says they are bringing a title to Houston, I believe him.
The fans are ready! We are just a few hours away from kick-off. So, until then, see you guys Saturday. And remember, THIS IS THE X F L!!!
That’s my quarterback!! @pjwalker_5 just a kid from Temple College, he won’t be anything…..
Watch him prove you guys wrong when he leads the @XFLRoughnecks to the Championship!#XFL #XFL2020 #ForTheH pic.twitter.com/qOEwcKojt9
— Sal Rico (@SalRicoXFL) February 7, 2020
My name is Salvador Rico Jr., but you can call me Sal Rico. I am a former SAGU University Pitcher and Head Pitching Coach, and now a Husband and Father to a wonderful, beautiful, amazing Family. I have lived in Houston, TX all my life, except for a brief 6 year stint where I lived in Dallas, TX. I cover the Houston Roughnecks and the XFL as a whole, and am excited to be working with XFLBoard.com and XFL News Hub.