New York/New Jersey Hitmen
|New York/New Jersey Hitmen|
|Team history||New York/New Jersey Hitmen (2001)|
|Based in||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Colors||Royal Blue, Black, Silver
|Head coach||Rusty Tillman|
The New York/New Jersey Hitmen (later shortened simply to the New Jersey Hitmen) were a short-lived American football team based in Giants Stadium of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
This team was part of the failed XFL begun by Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation and by NBC, a major television network in the United States. Its general manager was former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, and New Jersey native, Drew Pearson.
They were part of the Eastern Division with the Birmingham Thunderbolts, Orlando Rage and Chicago Enforcers. They finished in 3rd place with a 4-6 record. The head coach was former NFL assistant Rusty Tillman, who was not a fan of the league's gimmicks or personalities - specifically commentator Jesse Ventura, who called him "Gutless Rusty" on a regular basis, as he felt that Tilman's coaching style was too timid. Tillman, ever the professional, brushed off the jabs by Ventura and refused to respond. In the end, Ventura's attempts to goad him failed, and perhaps contributed to overall decline in viewers for NBC's XFL broadcasts.
NBC dropped the XFL concept after the first season 2001 due to dismal ratings, and the league folded shortly afterwards.
The name "Hitmen," which implies a hired criminal, was one of the icons of the XFL's short life and the butt of many jokes about the league (quips of teams such as the fictional "Kansas City Shoplifters" coined by Saturday Night Live, for instance). The teams secondary logo features the head of a football player wearing an old style leather football helmet.
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|New York/New Jersey Hitmen||4||6||0||.400||110||145||W1|
NY-NJ Hitmen players
The team's starting quarterback was Charles Puleri for the first several weeks of the season. After a string of losses, Puleri was benched in favor of Wally Richardson.
- 24 Dino Philyaw RB college (Oregon): Philyaw saw playing time in the NFL for New England, Carolina, New Orleans and St. Louis as well as NFL Europe
- 22 Keith Elias FB college (Princeton): Elias played six seasons in the NFL three each with the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts
- 11 Corte McGuffey QB college (Northern Colorado): spent the 2000 season with the NFL's St. Louis Rams
- 80 Zola Davis WR college (South Carolina): Davis saw playing time in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns before joining the XFL.
- 95 Dwayne Sabb DE college (New Hampshire): Sabb saw playing time in the NFL with the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills before joining the XFL
- 87 Marcus Hinton TE college (Alcorn State): Hinton saw playing time in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders before joining the XFL
- 43 Jon Rucini WR college (Alcorn State): Played with the Hitmen before launching a campaign for the Office of New Jersey State Comptroller.
- 27 Michael Blair RB college (Ball State): Blair saw playing time with a number of teams in the NFL The New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers. Blair also played in NFL Europe with the Frankfurt Galaxy before joining the XFL
- 85 Kirby Dar Dar WR college (Syracuse): Dar Dar saw playing time with the NFL's Miami Dolphins before joining the XFL
- 36 Brad Trout Safety (Valdosta State University) Made the All-XFL team as a Free Safety. Also played for the following NFL teams: Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, and the KC Chiefs. Spent a year with the NFL Europe Barcelona Dragons.
- 2 Leo Araguz P college (Stephen F. Austin): Araguz had brief stints in the NFL as a kicker with the Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, and the Seattle Seahawks.
- 84 Anthony DiCosmo, WR college (Boston College) native of New Jersey, pre-season standout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1999-2000, also saw time in the AFL on a number of teams, including New England Seawolves and Los Angeles Avengers
- 23 Louis D'Agostino, FB College (Hofstra/Rhode Island) Native of Long Island, NY, made the active roster of the New York Jets during the 1996 Season and was in training camp again with them in 1997 under Bill Parcells, also played with the Florida Bobcats of the AFL in 1998 prior to joining the NY/NJ Hitmen.
Rushing Yards: 328, Joe Aska.
Receiving Yards: 404, Kirby Dar Dar.
Passing Yards: 804, Wally Richardson.