Be honest, you thought football ended
when the Steelers missed the playoffs after the Super Bowl, right?
Well, fear not, because football-hungry fans have the XFL to tide them over until the end of April. The league’s inaugural championship game is scheduled for April 26, the day after the NFL draft concludes. By that time, it’s only a few short months to training camp, and then it’s football time again! The Steelers had some history in the original XFL, which ran for one season in 2001. Tommy Maddox was the only MVP of the league’s first incarnation, leading the Los Angeles Xtreme to victory in the Million Dollar Game, the league’s championship.
After the league folded, Maddox played five years with the Steelers, starting 32 games, including a playoff win over the Cleveland Browns (it was a different time) for a record of 15-16-1 before losing the starting job to Ben Roethlisberger.
We’ll leave Maddox on a high note by remembering that playoff game, where he went 30-48, passing for 367 yards and three touchdowns.
Now let’s talk about more recent Steelers who are playing in XFL 2.0.
Jones (3-2 as a starter,108/169, 1310 yards) backed up Roethlisberger from 2013-2017, and the Steelers are the only NFL team he’s ever played for. Like Maddox, his best memory in Pittsburgh also includes a win over the Browns, as he led the Steelers to a come-from-behind win over Cleveland to end the 2016 season, after getting the start when Mike Tomlin rested the starters after locking up a home playoff game.
His XFL start hasn’t gone as smoothly, however, as Dallas Renegades coach Bob Stoops elected to start Philip Nelson as Jones, despite being cleared to play Sunday, missed reps in practice due to a knee injury. Nelson has quite the backstory of his own:
Stay tuned to see if Jones sees some action next week.
Rogers played three seasons with the Steelers from 2016 to 2018, starting 15 games and catching 78 of his 116 targets in his time in Pittsburgh, good for 822 yards and four touchdowns.
He helped the DC Defenders win the first game in XFL 2.0’s history on Saturday, hauling in six receptions for 73 yards in the Defenders’ 31-19 win over the Seattle Dragons.
He also returned two punts for three yards.
Finally, we check in on Sammie Coates. Coates started five games for the Steelers in 2015 and 2016 (22 receptions/51 targets, 446 yards, 2 TD) before starting one game for the Cleveland Browns in 2017 and making 12 appearances for the Houston Texans in 2018.
Coates is still plying his trade in Houston, as his two receptions for 26 yards helped the Houston Roughnecks run out 37-17 winners over the Los Angeles Wildcats.