UFL's Jim Haslett Contacted for NFL Job
When asked if players on his team had been sought out by NFL clubs, Haslett suggested that the UFL can be fertile signing ground for NFL teams and offered that he and other coaches have been on the league's radar as well.
"A lot of guys have been contacted; myself, a bunch of coaches have been contacted, so we'll see," said Haslett, who has coached the New Orleans Saints -- winning Coach of the Year in 2000 -- and St. Louis Rams.
"So, I am sure there will be a few others from these two teams (Tuskers and UFL championship-winning Las Vegas Locomotives). DeDe Dorsey is a heck of a player on the Locos, and we have a bunch of guys who I think will be contacted."
There have been rumors that Haslett would be a good match for the Buffalo Bills, who fired coach Dick Jauron on Nov. 17 and replaced him with defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on an interim basis.
A linebacker for the Bills from 1979-85, Haslett also was mentioned as a candidate by ESPN's NFL insider Adam Schefter, who said that Buffalo will "investigate options," one of which being the Tuskers' coach because of his ties to the team.
Haslett, most likely still sour from Friday's loss that spoiled Florida's chance at an undefeated season, did not say that he would be coaching the Tuskers next season. Instead, he qualified it by saying that Florida would have to "want me back first."
Locos coach Jim Fassel, fresh off his team's UFL championship and still out of breath from a locker room celebration, said that he "plans to be back in (the UFL) next year."
"I loved this," Fassel said of his UFL experience. "I loved coaching in this league and I just had a ball coaching these guys. You saw the character and the toughness they have."
Fassel coached in the NFL in some capacity from 1991-2006, earning the 1997 NFL Coach of the Year Award with the New York Giants, with whom he had his only stint as a head coach from 1997-2003. He complimented those in the NFL and said, "I can't say that I'd rule it out," referring to a return to the league, but admitted that it would have to be in the right situation.
"I don't want to go there and be miserable and lose," he said.
Fassel and Haslett also praised the overtime system in the UFL, where each team has one possession before the game turns into a sudden-death contest. The Locos' coach described it as "the right thing to do," and lauded the league's competition committee for doing so, while the Tuskers' head man also supports it.
"I think everyone deserves the opportunity to get the ball," Haslett said. "But you have to do something with it. We took the ball and, obviously, we backed ourselves up with two penalties and an interception. It wouldn't have made a difference what the rule was."
Haslett's Tuskers committed a holding penalty on the overtime kickoff before an interception by Brooks Bollinger on the third play from scrimmage set up Graham Gano's championship-clinching, 33-yard field goal for Las Vegas.
After Friday's loss, Haslett was questioned for taking the ball first in OT, something that always happens in the NFL, where there is a strict sudden-death system.
With the UFL's rules, however, opting to receive gives the opposing team last licks -- excuse the baseball parlance.
But Haslett did not see it that way.
"If you don't score, and they don't score, then it's sudden death and they get the ball at the end," the coach said.
Many have suggested that the NFL tweak its sudden-death system, but the league has been reluctant to do so, saying that there is no distinct advantage for the team that wins the coin toss and takes the ball first.
It is something, though, that the NFL has not had to worry about in its championship game. No Super Bowl has gone to overtime, but three have been tied in the final minute.
The UFL attracted sparse crowds throughout the season, but Las Vegas has been one of its liveliest venues. The league even moved the Locos' final home game, which originally was scheduled at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, back to Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The city, as you know, also hosted the championship game, which drew 14,801 fans.
The average attendance for UFL games this year was a paltry 9,305, while a total of 111,654 patrons came through the gates for the entire league-wide season of UFL action -- a surprisingly low combined total since one game was played at 80,000-seat Giants Stadium.
For more specifics on UFL attendance this season, check out this story.