By Alex Al-Kazzaz
A 4-6 finish in the regular season. A miraculous 26-11 upset win over the Houston Roughnecks in the South Division Championship. A meeting with an overwhelming favorite 9-1 D.C. Defenders team in the championship game. What is the culminating result? A CHAMPIONSHIP TRIUMPH for an underdog challenger.
A final score of 35-26 in the championship game. Arlington led immediately from the get-go and never relinquished. Luis Perez threw for 288 yards, along with a trio of touchdowns. The Renegades registered nearly 400 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. Strong discipline and focus from the players were vital. In addition, excellent coaching played an impactful role.
Clearly, the Renegades underwent a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation process. It's no exaggeration to say they were a different team in the playoffs than in the regular season. Going from being swept by Houston in the regular season to easily defeating them to qualify for the championship game was no fluke. Furthermore, Arlington's triumph against the heavy favorites in the final was no fluke either.
Bob Stoops, the head coach of the Renegades, wins his first championship accolade since 2000. Stoops was the head coach for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1999 to 2016. Stoops' Sooners won the 2000 BCS National Championship by beating the Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners played in three more BCS National Championship Games in 2004, 2005, and 2009. In 2014, the Sooners upset the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl. Stoops was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
In Stoops' case, an XFL Championship triumph is yet another great accomplishment. What makes the achievement so unique is that he was able to coach a team labeled as "overwhelming underdogs" and propel them to two decisive wins against teams heavily favored to beat them, leading Renegades to the top of the mountain. The most important lesson learned in this entire scenario is that Stoops is still an excellent head football coach.
PHOTO CREDIT: ARLINGTON RENEGADES (TWITTER ACCOUNT)