Back and Better

The Houston Roughnecks Are Back—But Will the XFL Stay?

Houston’s XFL team is looking to finish what they started.

By Jessica Lodge and Shelby Stewart October 31, 2022


The Houston Roughnecks will play their first full season in the XFL next year. 

Image: XFL

The end of the NFL's football season is marked by its championship game, the Super Bowl LVII, which takes place in February 2023. However, America's favorite sport won't end for football fans in the spring. Enter the XFL, an eight-team league in a lane of its own. The action is returning to H-Town, with the Houston Roughnecks at the forefront.

The XFL, a "fan-first" league and newer alternative to the NFL, is focused on offering more football, action, and altering traditional rules and regulations to stand out amongst other winter and spring leagues.

The Roughnecks originally stood out as the only undefeated team, with a 5-0 record. The team's former quarterback, PJ Walker, was a front-runner for league MVP and would later be signed by the Carolina Panthers in 2020, where he is currently the starting QB, taking over for an injured Baker Mayfield

The league is coming back following the sudden end of its revival season in 2020 due to the pandemic. First owned by Vince McMahon (yes, former CEO and chairman of the WWE), XFL teams were only five games in before organizers suspended the season indefinitely. The league filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy leading to the company's purchase by former WWE superstar-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, his business partner Dany Garcia, and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners for $15 million in August 2020.

"This X…in the XFL, this is the intersection of dream and opportunity. You guys bring the dreams, we give you the opportunity," said Johnson in a speech ahead of the XFL's 2022 showcase in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The time off has given plenty of time for the league's new owners to execute a (hopefully) successful relaunch. There's plenty to look forward to in the upcoming season. Houston, in particular, is set to have a triumphant return, as the new season is branded as "one small step for man, but one giant leap for H-Town."

As opposed to the NFL process, the Roughnecks will play against five teams during the regular season, and play home games in the TDECU Stadium. Among the eight teams in the league, two others hail from Texas: the Arlington Renegades and San Antonio Brahmas. 

The Roughnecks are led by head coach Wade Phillips, a veteran NFL coach. Phillips previously served as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints (1985), the Denver Broncos (1993-1994), and the Houston Texans (2013), to name a few. Most recently, he was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. 

Houston took on the title of the Roughnecks as an "ode to the wildcatting history" that led to Texas being the world's energy capital. The team's logo is reminiscent of an oil rig in the shape of the letter "H" (not to be confused with the Houston Oilers).

As the Texans’ season will likely conclude ahead of the Superbowl, Houstonians can get ready to cheer on the XFL for the season opener on February 18, 2023. 

Single, group, and suite ticket deposits for XFL games start at $50 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.

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