The Houston Roughnecks are scheduled to open the XFL season while hosting the Orlando Guardians on Saturday, Feb. 18. While it remains to be seen how Houston will fare this season, the Roughnecks should be coached up on the defensive side of the ball. That’s because former Dallas Cowboys head coach and longtime NFL defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, serves as the head coach and general manager for the Roughnecks.
Phillips has a long track record in coaching, starting as a graduate assistant for the University of Houston in 1969. He eventually broke into the league as a defensive line coach for the Houston Oilers in 1981. From there, he had several head coaching gigs that included the Denver Broncos (1993-94), Buffalo Bills (1998-2000), and Dallas Cowboys (2007-2010).
After that, Phillips hopped around the NFL as a defensive coordinator, and he won the 2016 Super Bowl while leading the Broncos’ defense. Most recently, Phillips served as defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-2019. Taking over the Houston Roughnecks in the 2023 XFL season marks the 75 year-old’s first coaching job since then.
You may have gleaned this from the previous paragraph, but Phillips has several ties to the Houston area. He grew up just outside of the Houston area and played linebacker for the Houston Cougars from 1966 to 1968. Phillips’ first NFL coaching experience came as a defensive line coach for the Houston Oilers, which was coached by his father: Bum Phillips.