Former CFL head coach June Jones has prepared his recruiting pitch for the XFL.
Jones was the bench boss of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for parts of two seasons prior to becoming the head coach for the Houston Roughnecks.
“I think it’s a preferable platform for the U.S. players to come to the XFL versus going to the CFL, and I think if it continues the play will just get better and better and better,” Jones told Fox News reporter Paulina Dedaj.
Jones stepped aside in Hamilton in December 2018 to allow Orlondo Steinauer to take over the top job. The former NFL head coach took over an 0-8 Ticats team in 2017 and led them to six wins in their final 10 games, then guided the Tabbies to an 8-10 record in 2018. The Tiger-Cats finished second in the East and reached the division final before losing to Ottawa.
In May 2019, Jones left his role as offensive coordinator with the Ticats to become the general manager and head coach of Houston’s XFL team. Jones led the Roughnecks to a 5-0 record prior to the coronavirus shutting down the league in April 2020.
The 68-year-old Jones remains committed to the XFL since The Rock and Dany Garcia, RedBird Capital Partners, were selected as the winning bidder last August for all of the assets of Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the XFL.
Vince McMahon rebooted XFL 2.0 in 2020. There were eight cities with teams: St. Louis Battlehawks; Tampa Bay Vipers; New York Guardians; Seattle Dragons; Los Angeles Wildcats; D.C. Defenders; Houston Roughnecks; and Dallas Renegades. According to ESPN reporter Kevin Seifert, McMahon invested approximately $200 million in the league, which he resurrected in 2018 following a 17-year hiatus.
The XFL lasted just part of one season before the COVID-19 pandemic put their season on hold, which led to McMahon filing for bankruptcy and selling to Johnson and Garcia. Part of the assets include a quickly-developed social media presence. The XFL 2020 Twitter account has 354,000 followers compared to the CFL’s 293,000.
The original XFL lasted one full season in 2001. The Rock is working to have it around much longer. Meanwhile, the CFL has been awarding the Grey Cup for over 100 years.