Despite The XFL only lasting for one season back in 2001, there were at least 10 notable players to come out of the first season who have made their mark, joined The NFL and up to this day have left their legacies and are still behind multiple conversations when it comes to the best players in the world. As the rebirth of The XFL is fast approaching, these players are also in the conversation to be part of the new league and to build the new league around. Below are the ten players that have made such a huge impact in the original XFL and the players that we would like to see back on the field when the XFL returns:
1. Tommy Maddox – The Los Angeles Xtreme won the only XFL Championship with their quarterback, Tommy Maddox, and he was selected as the league’s MVP. Maddox signed with The Pittsburgh Steelers that fall as a backup to Kordell Stewart. He stepped in for an injured Stewart in 2002 and quarterbacked the Steelers to an AFC North title, capturing NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
2. Mike Furrey – Mike Furrey played wide receiver for The Las Vegas Outlaws. He went on to lead The National Football Conference (NFC) in receptions with the Detroit Lions in 2006 with 98.
3. Paris Lenon – Paris Lenon played linebacker for The Memphis Maniax. He went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL, starting 128 games for five different teams. He lasted longer in The NFL than any other XFL alum, retiring after the 2013 season.
4. Bobby Singh – Bobby Singh played guard for The Los Angeles Xtreme. He went on to play seven seasons in the Canadian Football League, winning the league’s outstanding offensive lineman award in 2003 and a Grey Cup with the British Columbia Lions in 2006. Singh also was a member of the 1999 St. Louis Rams — making him a rare champion in three different leagues.
5. Rod “He Hate Me” Smart – Rod Smart was the first star in the XFL simply by identifying himself on the back of his Las Vegas jersey with the words, “He Hate Me.” Smart finished second in The XFL in rushing and went on to play five NFL seasons, primarily as a special-teamer and kick returner. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown 100 yards in 2003.
6. Johnny Manziel – Manziel played as the quarterback for The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He also played two seasons with the Cleveland Browns of The National Football League (NFL). Manziel broke numerous NCAA Division I FBS and SEC records, which included becoming the first freshman and fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. At the end of the regular season, he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Manning Award, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Manziel capitalized on his redshirt freshman season by leading Texas A&M to a 41–13 victory over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Despite Manziel not playing for The XFL yet, he is considered as one of the greatest players ever and he would be a great fit for The XFL.
7. Tim Tebow – Tebow is the current outfielder in The New York Mets organization. He played college football for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent two seasons with the team. He also played for The New York Jets in 2012. Additionally, he had preseason stints with The New England Patriots and The Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Tebow became The Florida Gators’ starting quarterback during the 2007 season when he became the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. In 2008, Tebow led Florida to a 13–1 record and its second national championship in three years, and was named the offensive MVP of the national championship game. He is another player that is considered as one of the greatest players ever and he would also be a great fit for The XFL
8. Colin Kaepernick – Kaepernick played college football for the University of Nevada in Reno, where he was named The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Year twice and became the only player in NCAA Division I FBS history to amass 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. After graduating, he was selected by The San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Kaepernick began his professional football career as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith, and became The 49ers’ starter in the middle of the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion. He then remained the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season, leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994. During the 2013 season, his first full season as a starter, Kaepernick helped The 49ers reach The NFC Championship Game. Over the next three seasons, Kaepernick lost and won back his starting job, with The 49ers missing the playoffs for three years consecutively. He opted out of his contract with The 49ers to become a free agent after the 2016 season.
9. Terrell Owens – Owens is a six-time Pro Bowl selection and holds or shares several National Football League (NFL) records. Over 16 seasons, his 15,934 career receiving yards rank second in NFL history and his 153 receiving touchdowns rank third. Owens played college football and basketball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and was selected in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by The San Francisco 49ers. Owens was traded to The Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 after a spat with 49ers front office members. Two years later, he was released and signed to another large pact by the Dallas Cowboys, only to be given his unconditional release on March 4, 2009. Owens also played for The Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and 2010, respectively. He played for The Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League in 2012. Owens was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.
10. Tony Romo – Romo played 14 seasons as the quarterback for The Dallas Cowboys in The National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Eastern Illinois University, where he won the Walter Payton Award in 2002, and led the Panthers to an Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2001. He signed as an undrafted free agent with The Cowboys in 2003. Beginning his career as a holder, Romo became The Cowboys’ starting quarterback during the 2006 season. Serving as the team’s primary starter from 2006 to 2015, he guided The Cowboys to four postseason appearances and was named to The Pro Bowl four times. Romo retired after the 2016 season, following a preseason back injury that caused him to lose his starting position to Dak Prescott.
These 10 players have made such an impact that up to this day they are still being talked about as the greatest players to ever come out of The XFL or to be such perfect fits for the upcoming rebirth of The XFL. It will be interesting to see if any of these players would make The XFL when is returns in 2020.