By Matthew Feimer
We have 24 hours till the XFL kicks off. We have 48 hours till my New York Guardians kick off. Back in 2001 another spring New York football team played in the Meadowlands. The NY/NJ Hitmen of the XFL part 1 took to the field against the Las Vegas Outlaws. The Hitmen did not intimidate anyone that year. They finished 3rd in a 4-team division with a 4-6 record. They were arguably worse than the record showed.
An opening night 19-0 loss was uglier then the score indicated. Then it was back to back losses to the Birmingham Bolts and the Orlando Rage. They finally got a win week 4 in Chicago against the Enforcers. The highlight for me as a fan was the last second touchdown against the Memphis Maniax to win 16-15. Head coach Rusty Tillman had his hands full with this bunch. This team looked as bad as the minor league football team New York Giants General Manager George Young hired in the replacement games in 1987.
Charles Puleri was the starting quarterback and spent most of his time running for his life and on his back. He was eventually replaced by Wally Richardson. The Hitmen defense was pretty good but got tired because the offense was forgettable. Peter Schwartz called the games on WABC radio for the Hitmen. He described the players as out of shape to play. They were given only one month to get ready and it showed. The 2001 XFL although I liked it because I’m just a football junkie was forgettable in general. After the week 1 performance unfortunatley he ratings tanked very badly.
The biggest side show to the Hitmen was the rivalry between Rusty Tillman and NBC commentator Jesse (The Body) Ventura. It was the most entertaining part of the game. Another downfall to XFL part 1, Rusty Tillman being the pro that he was managed to ignore Ventura. You can also tell that coach Tillman was frustrated by the gimmicks of the XFL. With the arrival of the New York Guardians, I can honestly say I do not miss the Hitmen, but I did miss the XFL and spring football. As of tomorrow, we are #OnDuty in New York. I think we can easily say that XFL part 2 will be much, much better. GO GUARDIANS!