Amidst what is perhaps an over-over-over abundance of caution exhibited in an historically unprecedented manner, the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons in the past 48 hours. While still trying to figure out the connection to the virus and the need to hoard mountains of toilet paper, sports fans are left sitting here wide-eyed, wondering what in the world is going on.
With all the hubbub about the coronavirus dominating nearly every facet of the news cycle, the latest professional football league to take on the NFL for audience and market share has joined the retreat in the face of the sinister virus while a wave of fear and panic spreads in its wake.
Anyway, yesterday the XFL officially announced they were suspending the 2020 season and would resume games next spring. That is, if Armageddon doesn’t happen in the meantime. Along the way, they told their players they were free to sign with an NFL team after completing their exit physicals today.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, the XFL team representing H-Town, the Houston Roughnecks, was the only undefeated team left in the league. While there’s not official word from Vince McMahon and his leadership team, I’m totally prepared to crown the Houston Roughnecks the first ever XFL v2.0 Champions!
Apparently, I’m not alone in this.
Houston Roughnecks 2020 XFL Champions pic.twitter.com/YfL6cT8D68— VolFan1997 (@1VolFan1997) March 13, 2020
Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com had this to add:
As a result, the XFL is advising players that they can sign immediately with teams in the NFL or any other league once their exit physicals are complete on Friday, sources told Pelissero.
The XFL was in the middle of its inaugural season. Many former NFL players, including Cardale Jones, Landry Jones and PJ Walker, were employed by the XFL’s eight teams. The Houston Roughnecks, coached by June Jones and led by Walker and Cam Phillips, were the last undefeated team in the league (5-0).
While this is hardly the way any true football fan wants to see a championship brought home, a win is a win, and in the current social sports climate, we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The Roughnecks had a few solid players who could contribute to NFL squads, including quarterback P.J. Walker and wideout Cam Phillips. While it’s a long shot for either to end up wearing Battle Red in 2020, Phillips is certainly worth a look and possibly a solid contract offer, depending on the level of interest he receives from other teams. Walker led the XFL in passing yards with 1,338, while Phillips led the league in receiving yards with 455. Phillip proved that with the right guy on the other end of the ball, he could stretch the field, come up clutch in key moments, and ultimately weaponize the wide receiver position for his team. His first (and possibly only) year in the XFL ended with 31 catches on 44 targets, a 14.7 yard per catch average and 9 touchdowns. While it’s clearly not apples to apples in terms of comparison, that’s much better than Will Fuller V did last year.
Imagine what Phillips could do with Deshaun Watson throwing him the ball, DeAndre Hopkins taking the heat off of him, and Kenny Stills making sure defenses couldn’t double-team him.
Sure, all of this is really trivial in light of current events, but hey, we need something to brighten the day, right? So, let’s celebrate the Houston Roughnecks and their undefeated, albeit virus-shortened, inaugural season. Hopefully there’s more where this came from.