- Ingvard Ashby
We figure most University of Oklahoma fans are more than happy since Lincoln Riley took over for Bob Stoops. After all, Riley has successfully groomed consecutive Heisman Trophy winners and made Norman the place to be for highly sought-after graduate transfer Jalen Hurts. Riley has fulfilled mid-tenure Stoops’ legacy of appearing in (and losing) big games, with consecutive losses to SEC teams in the College Football Playoff semi-final.
Just when OU fans might start to worry that their biggest risk might be Riley joining the National Football League … what’s that? Good Gawd Almighty, it’s Bob Stoops’ music.
Inexplicably, Toby Keith singing “Welcome to the Jungle” begins to play over imaginary loud speakers because Stoops announced last week that he’s coming out of retirement in 2020 to coach the Dallas franchise of the reconfigured XFL, the professional league owned by World Wresting Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon.
The first incarnation of the XFL in 2001 is perhaps most remembered for allowing players to wear nicknames on their jerseys (He Hate Me), scantily clad cheerleaders and replacing a coin toss to determine the game’s first possession with a two-person scramble to the ball that resulted in a season-ending injury in its very first attempt.
The new version of the XFL will tone down its objectification of women and promotion of violence in the era of #MeToo and brain injuries related to football when it debuts on NBC next February. McMahon appealed to MAGA supporters when he announced the league in 2018, saying that politics (anthem protest) would stay out the league and that rosters will be void of players with criminal records.
Stoops is the first coach announced for the league, and he said he’s excited about the freedom he has with a 10-week schedule, without the around-the-clock recruiting associated with college football.
“When I stepped away a couple of years ago, one of my major reasons, and I made it very clear, is I wanted my own time,” Stoops said.
There is no XFL franchise in Oklahoma, even though the state is full of WWE and football fans, so Dallas is Stoops’ next best option.