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Can the XFL, USFL Help Black Coaches Get to the Next Level?

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The DC Defenders and the Arlington Renegades battled in an exciting XFL Championship with a surprising outcome as the league-leading Defenders were taken down by Arlington, the lowest-scoring team in the league, 35-26.

While Dani Garcia, Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and the XFL brain trust will take the next few months to analyze the league’s first season under their leadership, some players are already reaping the benefit of being in the spring league.

Ben DiNucci, the former Cowboys’ QB, played with the Seattle Seadragons, led the XFL in passing yards and just signed with the Denver Broncos. Receiver/return specialist Darrius Shepherd and receiver Hakeem Butler, both of the St. Louis Blackhawks, were invited to try out for the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

So it appears that the rebirthed spring league is working for players looking for a shot in the NFL.

But will these leagues benefit the careers of and opportunities for Black coaches?

It’s well-documented that the NFL has a serious hiring problem when it comes to Black coaches. And the lack of a strong, viable pipeline for Black coaches to the league is just as alarming.

Could the XFL or USFL help strengthen that pipeline and become a way for Black head coaches to be seen by NFL owners?

The XFL has four Black head coaches- Reggie Barlow (Defenders), Terrell Buckley (Orlando Guardians), Hines Ward (San Antonio Brahmas) and Rod Woodson (Vegas Vipers).

The USFL has two- Ray Horton of the Pittsburgh Maulers and Curtis Johnson of the Houston Gamblers.

Barlow was the top coach in the XFL and while the USFL is still in the early part of its season, Johnson has the Gamblers at 3-2.

So can these leagues become a conduit for Black coaches to the NFL?

Barlow thinks so.

In an interview with The Washington Post, the Commanders’ head coach said he understands the situation facing Black coaches but believes the XFL can help boost their profiles and credentials.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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