The Houston Roughnecks are a professional American football team based in Houston, Texas. The team was established in 2019 as a member of the XFL, a professional football league that was created as a joint venture between WWE chairman Vince McMahon and NBC Sports. The Roughnecks had a successful debut season, finishing with a perfect 5-0 record before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Houston Roughnecks and their brief but exciting history in the XFL.
History of the Houston Roughnecks:
The Houston Roughnecks were one of eight teams announced for the XFL’s 2020 season. The team’s name and logo were unveiled in August 2019, and former NFL head coach June Jones was hired as the team’s head coach and general manager.
The Roughnecks got off to a strong start in their debut season, winning their first five games to finish atop the XFL’s Western Conference standings. Led by quarterback P.J. Walker, who would later sign with the Carolina Panthers, the Roughnecks had one of the league’s most potent offenses and were widely considered one of the favorites to win the XFL championship.
Unfortunately, the XFL’s season was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ultimately canceled before it could be completed. Despite the premature end to their season, the Roughnecks left a lasting impression on football fans and analysts alike.
Players to Watch
One of the most exciting aspects of the XFL was its focus on giving opportunities to players who may have been overlooked or forgotten by the NFL. The Houston Roughnecks had several players who stood out during the 2020 season and could potentially make their way to the NFL.
Quarterback P.J. Walker was undoubtedly the Roughnecks’ most exciting player. The former Temple standout threw for 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns in just five games, earning him XFL MVP honors. Walker signed with the Carolina Panthers in March 2020 and could compete for a backup job behind Sam Darnold in 2021.
Receiver Cam Phillips was another standout for the Roughnecks in 2020. The former Virginia Tech Hokie led the XFL in receiving with 455 yards and nine touchdowns, including three games with multiple scores. Phillips has since signed with the Buffalo Bills and will look to make an impact in their receiving corps.
Defensive end Kony Ealy was a force for the Roughnecks on the defensive side of the ball. The former Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots had 4.5 sacks in five games, including a dominant performance against the Seattle Dragons in which he had two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
While the XFL’s future remains uncertain, the Houston Roughnecks’ brief stint in the league was a resounding success. The team was not only dominant on the field but also garnered a significant following among Houston football fans.
Should the XFL return in the future, the Roughnecks would likely be a top contender once again. However, several of the team’s top players have since moved on to other opportunities, so the Roughnecks would need to find new stars to lead them to success.
In the meantime, Houston football fans can look back fondly on the brief but exciting era of the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL. With memorable players and a winning culture, the Roughnecks proved that football fans in Houston are hungry for success at the professional level.