Though Vince McMahon’s XFL folded after just one season, some of its players went on to have NFL careers, with some finding much success. Seven players from the XFL have played in an NFL Super Bowl.
Here are some of the most notable players who suited up for XFL teams and either later, or prior to the league, played for teams in the NFL.
Tommy Maddox was the starting quarterback of the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme. He was named league MVP and led his team to the first and only XFL Championship. In the one season, Maddox threw for 2,186 yards and 18 touchdowns with 9 interceptions.
After the XFL folded, Maddox was signed by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and even became their starting quarterback in 2002, leading them to a 10–5-1 regular season record and also to the playoffs.
Maddox eventually lost the starting QB spot to Ben Roethlisberger, but won a Super Bowl ring when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. He played for the Steelers from 2001 until 2005.
Rod ‘He Hate Me’ Smart
Rod Smart was one of the XFL’s most notable players, with his “He Hate Me” moniker on the back of his jersey. He had a successful season with the league and later played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders in the NFL.
In 2004, Smart was on the Panthers’ roster when they won the NFC Championship, but lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 38.
Smart was primarily a kick returner for the Panthers during his time, though he received a few carries as a running back and caught a few passes.
Steve Gleason, a safety, was selected 191st by the Birmingham Thunderbolts in the 2001 XFL Draft after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2000.
He was later signed by the New Orleans Saints and spent time on their practice squad and produced one of the most memorable moments in Saints franchise history.
He blocked a punt against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter of a game in 2006 at the Superdome in New Orleans. His teammate recovered the block in the end zone for a touchdown to fire up the crowd in the team’s first game in New Orleans in 21 months following the devastation Hurricane Katrina left on the city.
In 2011, Gleason announced that he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease has since taken control of his body and has left him bound to a wheelchair and unable to speak.
Other notable players from the XFL to be on an NFL franchise include: