New York/New Jersey Hitmen
|Team history||New York/New Jersey Hitmen (2001)|
|Based in||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|Colors||Royal Blue, Black, Silver
|Owner(s)||World Wrestling Federation|
|Head coach||Rusty Tillman|
|General manager||Drew Pearson|
The New York/New Jersey Hitmen were an American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Hitmen were the members of the Eastern Division of the XFL. The team played their home games in Giants Stadium of the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
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 Tillman'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.
The Hitmen were one of the teams to play in the XFL's inaugural game. Tens of millions of viewers watched the Hitmen, who displayed a stunning lack of competence against the Las Vegas Outlaws in the contest (including a particularly ugly missed field goal and numerous miscues from starting quarterback Charles Puleri). The Hitmen's poor performance in that game was a major factor in fan backlash against the league in the weeks that followed and a prime example of the league's failure to live up to expectations; the team benched Puleri in favor of Wally Richardson by Week 3 in hopes of salvaging the season.
NBC dropped the XFL 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. The name was rumored to have been named after WWE Hall Of Fame inductee Bret "Hitman" Hart, but it was proved not to be true.
- Saturday February 3, 2001 L New York/New Jersey Hitmen 0 at Las Vegas Outlaws 19
- Sunday February 11, 2001 L Birmingham Thunderbolts 19 at New York/New Jersey Hitmen 12
- Sunday February 18, 2001 L Orlando Rage 18 at New York/New Jersey Hitmen 12
- Saturday February 24, 2001 W New York/New Jersey Hitmen 13 at Chicago Enforcers 0
- Saturday March 3, 2001 L Los Angeles Xtreme 22 at New York/New Jersey Hitmen 7
- Sunday March 11, 2001 W New York/New Jersey Hitmen 20 at San Francisco Demons 12
- Saturday March 17, 2001 W Memphis Maniax 15 at New York/New Jersey Hitmen 16
- Sunday March 25, 2001 L New York/New Jersey Hitmen 12 at Orlando Rage 17
- Saturday March 31, 2001 L Chicago Enforcers 23 at New York/New Jersey Hitmen 18
- Sunday April 8, 2001 W New York/New Jersey Hitmen 22 at Birmingham Thunderbolts 0
|New York/New Jersey Hitmen||4||6||0||.400||110||145||W1|
|2001 New York/New Jersey Hitmen final roster|
Rushing yards: 328, Joe Aska.
Receiving yards: 404, Kirby Dar Dar.
Passing yards: 804, Wally Richardson.
|2001 New York/New Jersey Hitmen staff|