XFL: Pittsburgh Steelers legends Rod Woodson and Hines Ward fall short in head coaching debuts.

This past weekend embarked the start of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson era of the XFL. All eight teams were on display through competition on Saturday and Sunday as fans were given a glimpse of what the unorthodox league has to offer.

While most of the teams in the league are being managed by coaches who have already had a head coaching gig somewhere else, there are a few who are getting their first taste of what it’s like to be the main shot-caller. This included NFL and Pittsburgh Steelers alumni Hines Ward and NFL Hall of Fame member Rod Woodson.

While both coaches kept their respective games close, they would just barely end up on the losing end in their debuts. Rod Woodson, head coach of the Las Vegas Vipers, lost in his head coaching debut 22-20 to the Arlington Renegades, while Hines Ward and the San Antonio Brahmas fell to the St. Louis Battlehawks 18-15.

While the two Steelers legends may not have the coaching experience, they definitely know what it takes to be successful on the gridiron.

Starting with Rod Woodson, not only is he an NFL Hall of Fame member, but he is also a Super Bowl Champion and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

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After being drafted as a cornerback out of Purdue University (NCAA Division-I) Woodson spent 16 years with four different teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and most notably with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he would spend nine seasons.

Woodson left a mark on the NFL with a very accomplished career and a multitude of accolades, including 11 Pro Bowl Selections, six First Team All-Pro and three Second Team All-Pro selections. Woodson also holds NFL records for the most fumble recoveries (32) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (12). Woodson is also third in all-time NFL interceptions.

Hines Ward is another Steelers legend but on the other side of the football as he played wide receiver. After being born in Seoul, South Korea, Ward and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was just a one-year-old.

Ward stayed in that state to play college football and was drafted out of the University of Georgia (NCAA Division-I) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1998. He just missed the chance to play with Woodson by two years as the defensive stalwart left the Steelers in 1996. But they did play against one another as Woodson joined the AFC North division rival Baltimore Ravens the same year Ward was drafted in 1998.

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Ward may not have the records or accolades that Woodson was able to earn during his career, but he still put together a very respectable career of his own. During Ward’s 13-year career he would garner 4 appearances to the NFL Pro-Bowl, three Second Team All-Pro selections and two Super Bowl rings, along with a Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XL.

Both Woodson and Ward have had relatively short careers in the coaching field, mostly jumping around as assistant coaches for a few NFL teams. However, coming from the legacy of Steeler All-Time greats they understand the measuring stick for success in professional football.

Woodson and Ward will get the chance to face each other once again during a matchup in Week 7 as the Brahmas will host the Vipers on April 1st.

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a