There’s no doubt the NFL is the most popular sports league in America, if not the world. Domestically, the second-place NBA isn’t even close to it. Trying to replicate the NFL’s mainstream success has been a bunch of offshoot professional leagues, giving opportunities to players several steps down from the quality of even the Houston Texans in the last several years. There’s the XFL (all three editions), USFL (also with multiple iterations), the IAF, Fan Controlled Football and other minor leagues. None have sustained long-term success. And the next “competitor” might have already been exposed, and zero plays from scrimmage have taken place.
The International Football Alliance, which is designed to be a professional league with half American and Mexican teams, has announced Art Briles as the head coach of its Dallas-based franchise. To double down on the stupidity, ESPN reported Nick Rolovich is in talks to coach one of the other teams in the league. If both of those teams being associated with those coaches don’t make you cringe, let me explain why you should.
Briles is the more well-known of the two, infamous for not holding his players accountable for sexual assault at Baylor. He’s struggled to hold onto a job in coaching since his May 2016 firing, with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats giving him the ax hours after his hiring was made public.
Briles, who also has two stints as head coach of Estra Guelfi, an Italian professional team, was hired by Mount Vernon (Texas) High School to be its head football coach in 2019, with his tenure starting by locking the media out from talking to him. Quite the sign of transparency. When that was rightly lifted and media swarmed him at practice, the final question asked to Briles involved if he would change the school’s mascot from the Tigers to the Scapegoats. He resigned after the 2020 season, but not after causing his own controversy in the small town 100 miles Northeast of Dallas, by playing ineligible student-athletes. I need to mention his entry and exit from Grambling State too.
Rolovich made his way up the college coaching ranks for nearly two decades before pissing it all away in 2021 as Washington State’s head coach. His refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine first got him banned from Pac-12 Media Days, then with Washington’s vaccine mandate for state employees, it was a matter of time before he got the pink slip for not taking a simple jab in the arm. And since being fired in October 2021, he’s yet to have another paid gig in coaching. Rolovich was reportedly a volunteer assistant at San Marin (California) High School last year, the exact place where his coaching career began in 2002. His vaccination status hasn’t publicly changed, but a court date of Dec. 2024 has been set for Rolovich’s wrongful termination lawsuit against Washington State.
While Hal Mumme and Noel Mazzone are also reportedly joining the league as head coaches, the IFA has already shown us what notoriety means to them. It’s getting good on-field leaders, no matter how terrible of human beings they are. To be fair, that fits better in the professional game than in college football, but it still smells from miles away. How the IFA thought affiliating themselves with each coach was a good idea is beyond comprehension, outside of doing anything to be the football league that pierces through to take some spotlight away from the NFL. And it ain’t gonna work.