The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Will you be checking out the XFL or USFL while the NFL is in offseason mode?
For the first time in I don’t even know how long, there are going to be two ‘alternative’ professional football leagues going on in the same season in the United States that bear a resemblance to football as we know it. No arena leagues, no flag leagues.
Both the USFL and the XFL will be holding a football season in the coming weeks and months now that the NFL’s 2022 season has come to an end. The USFL will be looking to become the first major alternative league to complete two consecutive seasons in many years. The XFL is in its third incarnation.
The first major attempt at a new alternative league was the Alliance of American Football in 2019. This proved to be doomed to failure due to shoddy investing, as one of the league’s major backers backed out just before the season. They had to turn to another moneyed owner of other sports franchises who wanted too much power too fast, and he pulled the plug.
Vince McMahon’s revival of the XFL in 2020 actually went rather well—up until the start of the pandemic, which shuttered everything. After initially vowing to return next season, he instead folded. Now it’s owned by a group including Dwayne Johnson, ‘The Rock’, one of McMahon’s most iconic wrestlers.
The XFL begins play this afternoon, actually, with the Arlington Renegades hosting the Vegas Vipers and the Houston Roughnecks hosting the Orlando Guardians. Rod Woodson is the head coach of the Vipers. And Hines Ward is the head coach of the San Antonio Brahmas.
The USFL doesn’t get underway until later, kicking off April 15 with Todd Haley’s Memphis Showboats hosting the Philadelphia Stars. The Pittsburgh Maulers under head coach Ray Horton play their first game the next day against the New Orleans Breakers, inaugurating their new black and gold color scheme.