For those who can’t get enough football, you’re in luck. Football is back, as the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers kick off their inaugural season on Sunday when they head up North to face the New York Guardians. The squad features a multitude of well-known college athletes, with a majority of them having ties in the state of Florida.
Tampa Bay vs New York.
— XFL (@XFL2023) February 7, 2020
Who They Are
The Vipers are led by former CFL and NFL head coach, Marc Trestman. Trestman roamed the sidelines with two teams during his time in the CFL. These were with the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts. During his stint with the Alouettes, Trestman won back-to-back Grey Cup titles in his four years, becoming the only coach to ever do this in team history. Additionally, Trestman added one more title to his resume in 2017 with the Argonauts and finished his career a three-time champion and two-time CFL Coach of the Year honoree, according to CBS Sports.
After spending some time in the CFL, Trestman took his coaching talents to the NFL. He began with the Chicago Bears, where he only lasted a short two seasons as head coach. Following his exit out of Chicago, Trestman took over the offensive coordinator position for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2015 and 2016 seasons before finally making his way back to the CFL in 2018, according to CBS Sports.
Trestman will serve double duty for the Vipers after being named head coach and general manager last May.
In addition to Trestman’s ample years of experience in the CFL and NFL, the Vipers also have another well-known name across the football industry on their staff. He is defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.
Glanville brings over seven decades of experience in football down to Tampa. Before coming aboard Trestman’s staff, Glanville had a multitude of NFL stops that included the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills.
Our new head coach and general manager, Marc Trestman, has a personal message for you, Tampa Bay! pic.twitter.com/bPR8pQUzOA
— Tampa Bay Vipers (@XFLVipers) March 5, 2019
As the Vipers get set to open their season, they will do so with a handful of former Gator players spread across the roster. Some of these include Mack Brown, running back, (2010-2014); DeAndre Goolsby, tight end, (2014-2017); Martez Ivey, offensive tackle, (2015-2018); Cece Jefferson, defensive tackle, (2015-2018); Colin Thompson, tight end, (2012-2013); Antonio Callaway, wide receiver, (2015-2017).
In addition to the abundance of Gators on the Vipers’ roster, there also a number of other players who have ties to Florida. According to the XFL website, 23 players who are on the active roster either attended college or are originally from the state.
One of these is quarterback Aaron Murray, who is from the Tampa area and attended Plant High School. According to Fanbuzz, Murray originally attended Jesuit High School but transferred to Plant where he turned into an automatic high prospect. He threw a state-record 51 touchdown passes as junior and just over 4,000 yards passing. He also rushed for just under 1,000 yards and added 12 touchdowns on the ground.
The Florida ties are strong ✊
Check out the local guys that will take the field next Sunday when we kick off our season in New York. pic.twitter.com/MJKS1R1iLq
— Tampa Bay Vipers (@XFLVipers) February 1, 2020
After this weekend, Tampa Bay hits the road for a second-consecutive week when it takes on the Seattle Dragons next Saturday at 5 p.m. The Vipers will finally get a chance to play in front of their home crowd in week 3 when the Houston Roughnecks come to town.