XFL: A brief look at all eight teams ahead of kick-off weekend
The second incarnation of the XFL kicks off this weekend. Photo: xfl.com

Dallas Renegades +300 favourites

The Dallas Renegades are led by head coach and general manager Bob Stoops. Stoops is famous in the college football ranks leading the Oklahoma Sooners to a National Championship in 2000.

After coaching Oklahoma for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2017, he has came out of retirement looking to lead early betting favourites, the Renegades to their first XFL championship.

STAR PLAYERS

Landry Jones has been reunited with his coach at Oklahoma, Stoops as the double act look to lead the Renegades to the championship this season.

They won the Fiesta Bowl together in the 2010 season and Jones after six years in the NFL mainly with the Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking to kickstart a stop-start professional football career. Unfortunately after a knee injury during training camp in January we will have to wait for his debut.

Lance Dunbar, last played in the NFL in 2017 for the Los Angeles Rams but will be mostly remembered for a four-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys between 2012-2016.

With the Cowboys looking to use Dunbar as a change-of-pace back with DeMarco Murray, Dunbar’s NFL career was marred by injuries before he left the game. With Dunbar back in football he will be looking for redemption.

Tampa Bay Vipers +400

Marc Trestman coaches Tampa Bay in their first XFL season. Trestman is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League with a wealth of experience in the NFL.

He was an offensive coordinator for several teams before taking over as head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2013-2014. He has also coached the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts in the CFL.

STAR PLAYER

Former Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray leads the Vipers in their first XFL season. Murray still the all time SEC career touchdown leader, ahead of such names as Peyton and Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford will be looking to make a name for himself after an NFL career spent mostly on practice squads.

Despite a stellar college career including winning the Capital One Bowl in 2013, Murray never played a single down in the NFL.

New York Guardians +450

Kevin Gilbride, known to New Yorkers as the offensive coordinator during their two Super Bowl wins in 2008 and 2012 leads the Guardians this season.

STAR PLAYERS

When you hear the name Joe Horn you might be thinking is the 48-year-old former New Orleans Saints wide receiver coming out of retirement for the XFL?

Not the case, it is indeed his son who will be making his pro football debut for the Guardians. Undrafted in the NFL and on the Baltimore Ravens offseason squad temporarily last year, 25-year-old Horn will be looking to impress in the XFL to drive his career forward. If he has any of the pace of his four-time Pro Bowl father then he should be exciting to watch this year.

Leading the Guardians is QB Matt McGloin. After a 13 game NFL career between 2013-2016 for the Oakland Raiders, McGloin moved to the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, never playing a snap of any of these before finding himself out of football in 2018.

DC Defenders +600

Former Cleveland Browns assistant head coach, Pep Hamilton leads DC as their head coach and GM.

Mainly spending time before this as a quarterbacks coach in the 2000’s for the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears, Hamilton has a great XFL quarterback in the making to lead his team in former Ohio State QB, Cardale Jones.

STAR PLAYER

Cardale Jones at 6’5” and 264 pounds is an absolute monster truck of a QB.

College football fans will remember Jones winning the 2015 National Championship with Ohio State in just his third college start in a 42-20 victory over the Oregon Ducks, after starting the season as the third choice QB.

Jones’ NFL career never took off after the glory of winning a National Championship. Drafted in the fourth round of the draft by the Buffalo Bills, he only played once for them in the last game of the 2016 season.

Released from the Seattle Seahawks practice squad in September 2019 he found himself allocated to DC for the upcoming season.

Of all of the QB’s in XFL this season this is the one I am most looking forward to watching.

Los Angeles Wildcats +650

Winston Moss leads the Wildcats as head coach and general manager. Moss was an assistant head coach/linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers between 2007-2018.

STAR PLAYER

Josh Johnson is the most experienced QB in the XFL, having played in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins.

He last played in 2018 after Alex Smith suffered his leg injury in that year. Will Johnson’s experience tell in a league of players mostly yet to make the grade at the highest level?

Houston Roughnecks +750

Houston GM/Head Coach June Jones, has a wealth of experience mainly in the college ranks as head coach of Hawaii between 1999-2007 and then SMU in 2008-2014. He also head coached the Atlanta Falcons between 1994-1996.

STAR PLAYER

Connor Cook is a former Michigan State quarterback who still holds the record for most career wins there.

He also became the first QB in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game, when he played for the Oakland Raiders against the Houston Texans in the 2016 playoffs after injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin.

After spending the rest of his NFL career on practice squads after the 2017 season, Cook was drafted in the first round of the XFL draft by Houston.

St Louis BattleHawks +1000

Johnathan Hayes takes up his first head coaching stint with St Louis. He previously spent 15 years with the Cincinnati Bengals as their tight ends coach.

STAR PLAYER

Queue the most interesting punter to ever play the game and make this list, Marquette King. The former Oakland Raiders punter led the NFL in punting yards in 2014 but was more famed for his outspokenness and celebrations.

Seattle Dragons +1100

Last but not least of the eight teams are the Jim Zorn led Seattle Dragons. Zorn was the quarterbacks coach of Seattle’s NFL counterparts the Seahawks between 2001-2007.

He was also the Seahawks first QB when they joined the NFL, playing for them between 1976 and 1984. His only head coaching job prior to this was with the Washington Redskins between 2008-2009.

THE 12TH MAN

The oddsmakers normally don’t get it wrong and there may be a reason why Seattle are the rank outsiders, no players stick out to me as at least being heard of in the NFL or collegiate ranks.

However, if there is ever a team that could prove the oddsmakers wrong it’s a team in Seattle playing in CenturyLink Field with the famed 12th man behind them.

Hopefully the raucous Seahawks fans are hungry for more football now that the NFL season is over and they can get behind this team of underdogs.

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