OAKLAND (AP)–It came as a bit of a surprise around the football world when it was announced that the Cincinnati Bengals had named Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor the new head coach, and the effects of the hiring were felt in the SFL world too. Taylor had recently been hired on as the offensive coordinator, play-caller, and quarterbacks coach of the expansion Oakland Odyssey. The hiring meant that the Odyssey would have to move fast on completing the staff, as camps were rapidly approaching, but finalizing the staff took longer than expected. With #1 overall pick Chris Streveler, the team has its franchise quarterback, and with Case Keenum as the presumptive starter, and Josh Johnson also on the roster, the expansion franchise already had perhaps the best quarterback room in the league. With Taylor gone, the Odyssey no doubt suffered a loss, but they may have also had an equal-sized gain today in replacing him, as the team announced that former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo would be joining the staff as the offensive coordinator. Romo will likely share play-calling duties with head coach Mike McCoy for the upcoming season, his first as a coach at any level. Most recently, Romo served as a play-by-play man in the booth for CBS, where he has impressed fans and coaches alike with his prophet-like abilities and understanding of the game. Oakland will now hope that those skills translate from the booth to the sidelines.
In addition to Romo, the Odyssey introduced the rest of their coaching staff today, which features a mix of familiar names, former players, and coaches with experience at every level. Here’s a quick look at the entire staff for the upcoming season.
Head Coach: Mike McCoy
McCoy was fired early in the NFL season by the Arizona Cardinals, but had already lined up his job as the inaugural head coach of the Odyssey beforehand. A native of the area, he has playing experience in both NFL Europe and the CFL to go along with 18 years of NFL experience, including four years as a head coach with the San Diego Chargers.
Offensive Coordinator: Tony Romo
Another California native, Romo will find himself coaching on the sidelines for the first time in his life. One of the all-time leaders in passer rating in the history of the NFL, Romo will look to provide mentorship to Chris Streveler, who has followed a similar path to pro football as a bit of an undersized QB who was extremely productive in the lower ranks of college football, leading his team to national success, and winning the Walter Payton Award in the process. Romo was a natural fit as leader, mentor, and coordinator for the staff.
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Nolan
A coach who, like McCoy, has an extensive career in the NFL including as a head coach, Nolan is one of the most versatile play-callers you’ll find on the defensive side of the ball. He has an uncanny ability to play to the strengths of his roster, and find ways to put his players in position to make plays.
Special Teams Coordinator: Ed Lamb
Ed Lamb was previously the special teams coordinator at BYU from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, he was a head coach at Southern Utah from 2008-2015. He has over 20 years of coaching experience in total.
Quarterbacks: Randy Hedberg
Hedberg was previously the quarterbacks coach at North Dakota State where he mentored future #2 overall pick Carson Wentz.
Running Backs: Willie Parker
After entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2004, Willie Parker went on to have three 1,000 yard seasons and make two Pro Bowls for the Pittsburgh Steelers, before retiring in 2009. He has been coaching running backs at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina since 2015 alongside Torry Holt and Dewayne Washington.
Wide Receivers: Torry Holt
After an 11-year career where he caught 920 passes for 13,382 yards, and 74 TDs, Torry Holt retired in 2010 as the St. Louis Rams all-time leading receiver. Like Willie Parker, Holt has been coaching at Heritage High School since 2015, serving as wide receivers coach and assistant head coach to Dewayne Washington.
Tight Ends: Ben Coates
Ben Coates has been coaching at St. Augustine’s University since 2013. A veteran of the NFL, he was a five-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and helped the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV. He has also coached NFL Europe for the Frankfurt Galaxy, and at his alma mater Livingston College.
Offensive Line: Chris Foerster
With over 35 years of coaching experience total, including 25 in the NFL, Chris Foerster is one of the most experienced coaches on this staff. He was most recently an Offensive Line coach for the Miami Dolphins before being terminated for embracing the Miami lifestyle a little too much.
Defensive Line: Michael Sinclair
Michael Sinclair played 11 seasons in the NFL making three 3 Pro Bowls and leading the NFL in sacks in 1998 with 16.5. He won the World Bowl as defensive line coach for the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europa in 2007. He was named the defensive line coach for the Montreal Alouettes in January 2008, where he spent five seasons and won two Grey Cup championships. He has been coaching defensive linemen for Football University–a developmental camp for high school players–since 2013.
Linebackers: Mark Criner
Another coach closing in on 30 years of experience, Criner has coached in the NFL, NCAA at both the FBS and FCS levels, the XFL, NFL Europe, and most recently in the AAF as the LB coach and special teams coordinator for the Atlanta Legends.
Defensive Backs: Eric Allen
Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL as a cornerback for the Eagles, Saints, and Raiders, before retiring after the 2001 season. He finished his career with 54 interceptions for 826 yards and 8 TDs, including a still-NFL record 4 in the 1993 season. Before joining the Odyssey, Allen was serving as the defensive backs coach for the AAF’s San Diego Fleet.