Iowa City, IA – The NFL saw a competing league come into play in 2001. Fans were intrigued by this opposing league because it was violent, players were encouraged to unleash their personalities, and in many ways it resembled the football version of WWE wrestling. As with the WWE, Vince McMahon was the father to this league. It was called the XFL (or the Xtreme Football League).
The XFL only lasted one season before its demise after 2001. It was a massive failure. The likes of which even an ESPN 30 for 30 episode is based upon. The NFL has seen no competition since then…until this Thursday. Vince McMahon has announced that he is bringing back the XFL in 2020. Forgotten NFL players will be rising from their graves to have another chance of playing the game that they once loved.
This gives those football players who were forgotten the chance to lace the cleats up once again. Which made me think, “What former Hawks would I like to see in the XFL?”
Iowa has had many hard-nosed defenders over the years, but two whom I think would fit perfectly into this league are Matt Roth and Pat Angerer.
- Roth spent seven seasons in the NFL with several different teams. He racked up 23.5 sacks in his NFL career and appeared in 10+ games every season but his last. Roth is a workhorse up front on the defensive line and he can lay the wood when he has to.
- Angerer is just as physical as Roth. Angerer is corn fed and can make wide receivers think twice about trying to catch a ball thrown over the middle of the field. Angerer also has NFL experience as he spent four years with the Indianapolis Colts before retiring in 2013. He is a good ol’ Iowa boy that could hit someone as hard as any player that I have ever seen.
The offensive side of the ball isn’t quite so easy. There’s a handful of players who could fit the bill here, but I went with Ricky Stanzi, Mark Weisman, Shonn Greene, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Julian Vandervelde.
- Ricky Stanzi is one of the winningest Iowa quarterbacks to ever dawn the black and gold. He was good enough to get drafted into the NFL in 2011 by the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was only a career backup. He just knows how to win, and he has maybe the greatest quote from any athlete ever, “If you don’t love it, leave it. USA #1!”
- Weisman was not supposed to be a running back when he joined the Iowa football team, but he ended up being a bulldozer in the backfield for the Hawks. He is a big physical runner that would bode well in the XFL. Weisman looks for contact. He isn’t afraid to stare down the gun barrel and stick it to a defender. Remember when Weisman ran through what seemed like the entire Nebraska defense in order to get into the endzone? Poor Blackshirts.
- Much like Weisman, Shonn Greene is a back that I think could do well in the XFL. He has decent speed and isn’t afraid of contact. Greene owns arguably the greatest rushing season of any Iowa running back ever. I would love to see Shonn Greene bounce back after his NFL career ended in 2014.
- The final Hawk I would like to see in the XFL is Julian Vandervelde. He had a short stint in the NFL, but his time at Iowa will not be forgotten. He did a great job of keeping the pocket clean for some good Iowa quarterbacks. Vandervelde is another good ol’ Iowa boy. You can’t teach toughness, and he had a lot of that. Plus this tough guy sang the National Anthem in front of President Obama. Boom. He could lace up the cleats AND sing the Star Spangled Banner for you Mr. McMahon!