PLANT CITY — The XFL’s helmet communication system, which allows more players as well as broadcasters and fans to hear live play calls, offered a glimpse into the game we’ve never seen during the league’s opening weekend.
Then the system went out Sunday in the first half of the Vipers’ 23-3 loss at New York, sending coaches scrambling.
Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville took matters into his own hands, wearing two headsets, one to communicate with coaches in the press box, another to relay calls to players.
The 78-year-old Glanville is in his fifth decade of a career that included NFL head coaching stints with the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons. He said wearing two headsets on Sunday was a first.
“I looked like a pilot that was lost,” Glanville said Tuesday. “So my right ear, I could talk to the press box. They had to set up a whole new system in my left ear to talk to the players. And I had two buttons. Most of the time you have a call sheet, well I put the call sheet away and we played better.”
Glanville said the biggest challenge was making sure he was pressing the right button to activate the correct headset.
“Now one time I screwed up,” Glanville added. “I pressed the button to call the defense and they got it upstairs and didn’t get it on the field. It was really weird. And by the way, it bent my sunglasses. I don’t know what I did, but it was because I had on all these headsets.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.