Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, 54, will be returning to the sidelines this spring. On Thursday, he was named head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League (USFL), a professional league that will begin play in mid-April.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to get back into coaching at the professional level,” Haley said in a news release. “It’s been a while since I led a team on field, and I’ve missed it. It’s also rare that a head coach, as it was once put, gets to pick all the groceries, and fix the meal.”
That last part of Haley’s quote is a reference to something former NFL head coach Bill Parcells said after he left the New England Patriots in early 1997: “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”
In his role with the Bandits, Haley will also be responsible for selecting players, though there will be a director of football operations to assist him with roster management.
Prior to serving as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator from 2012-17, Haley was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-11, where he posted a 19-26 record. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Jets, Bears, Cowboys and Cardinals. His most recent NFL job was in 2018, when he was offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.
Haley had what he recently described as a “good” but “tenuous” relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during their time together in Pittsburgh. But he managed to dramatically reduce the number of sacks that the Steelers quarterback was taking, no doubt prolonging Roethlisberger’s career. Even so, Roethlisberger is now the most sacked quarterback in NFL history (553), with 44-year-old Tom Brady second with 542.
Haley isn’t the only former NFL head coach who will be leading a USFL team. On Thursday ex-Chargers head coach Mike Riley was named head coach of the New Jersey Generals. Bart Andrus (Philadelphia Stars) and Kevin Sumlin (Houston Gamblers) will also guide teams in the revitalized league’s first season.
The original USFL played a spring/summer schedule from 1983-85. The 2022 version will play in many of the same markets as the original league, and all eight of the 2022 team names were used in the 1980s version of the USFL.
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Key Dates for the Forthcoming USFL Season
Player Selection Meeting: February 22-23
Training Camps Open: March 21
Season Begins: April 16
Each team will play a 10-game schedule. The top two teams in each division will play a postseason game for the right to compete for the league championship.
Each of the USFL’s eight teams will have a 38-player roster and seven-player practice squad.
The Bandits are part of the USFL’s South Division along with the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers and New Orleans Breakers.
Pittsburgh Will Have a Team Too
The Pittsburgh Maulers will be in the USFL’s North Division, which will also include the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals and Philadelphia Stars. The league has yet to name a head coach for the Maulers.
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