It has been a long XCFL career for Coach Nick Larson, spanning from the Madden 17 days all the way up until Madden 19, covering XCFL Seasons 5 through Week 8 of Season 18. Over the course of Larson’s coaching career he has had ups and downs, starting with the San Francisco 49ers in Madden 17 with a record of 38 wins and 42 losses, into Madden 18 where he coached the Detroit Lions to a 71 wins and 25 losses, and to the current situation where he has the Green Bay Packers with 25 wins and 14 losses. Through all these seasons, great players have come and gone, trades have been made, Larson has found his fair share of early 1st round stud draft picks as well as his late 6th and 7th round sleepers, but one position has always stood out on teams ran by Larson, and that is the Wide Receiver. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and take a look at some of the best individual statistical seasons for some of these familiar names around the XCFL community….
Let’s highlight some of these guys.
- Brandin Cooks (Season 8 – Season 9)
Brandin Cooks was the Madden 17 cheat code. He was cheesed all cycle by the New Orleans Saints user Aaron (I’m sure most of our vets remember). Late in his career he was picked up by Larson and his 49ers in a trade sending All-Pro HB Jarrad Kuehl back to the Saints. Cooks went on to have some great seasons with the Niners, catching passes from both Phillip Kirby and Chissom Bragg. In Cooks 2 seasons with the Niners he put up the following.
Season 8 – 60 REC – 1,412 YDS – 9 TD
Season 9 – 61 REC – 1,212 YDS – 15 TD
Total – 121 REC – 2,716 YDS – 24 TD
- Jarvis Landry (Season 11 – Season 12)
When the Larson took over the Detroit Lions for the Madden 18 cycle, he had some solid receivers in place, with Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate III. In the first offseason, Larson let the aging Tate hit free agency and made a deal with the Dolphins for Jarvis Landry. Landry came in and made an immediate impact, making spectacular catch after spectacular catch on his way to some record setting seasons with the XCFL. The Stafford – Landry duo was one of the best duos the XCFL has seen in just their 2 short seasons together. In his 2 years in Detroit, Jarvis put up the following…
Season 11 – 58 REC – 1,412 YDS – 18 TD
Season 12 – 53 REC – 1,169 YDS – 11 TD
Total – 111 REC – 2,581 YDS – 29 TD
- Dixon Bishop (Season 13 – Season 15)
This guy might be the best of the bunch, playing three full seasons with the Lions before the cycle came to an abrupt end. Bishop was a freak, taken 3rd overall in the Season 13 draft, he was a freak. 6’5 220 lbs. and ran a 4.35 at the combine. After trading away Jarvis Landry the season before, the Lions and Matthew Stafford were desperate for a new playmaker and man did Bishop take the league by storm, winning NFC Rookie of the Year and NFC Best WR. He played a season with Matthew Stafford and then the real trouble started for the XCFL when the Lion’s brought in the strong arm rookie sensation Blair Overhauser. The chemistry between Overhauser and Bishop was special. In his three seasons, Bishop put up the following…
Season 13 – 60 REC – 1,364 YDS – 19 TD
Season 14 – 67 REC – 1,655 YDS – 20 TD
Season 15 – 70 REC – 1,544 YDS – 16 TD
Total – 197 REC – 4,563 YDS – 52 TD
- Gordon Todd (Season 14 – Season 15)
Last but not least, was the wide out that started it all. He was drafted early in the first round by Jon Eagle and the Philadelphia Eagles. Gordon Todd was a monster, 6’5 230 lbs, ran a 4.40 yard dash, this guy was a freak of nature. After a solid two seasons with the Eagles, putting up big time numbers, Todd was involved in a blockbuster deal sending him to the Motor City. That is when chaos hit the XCFL. Blair Overhauser at QB, with Dixon Bishop and Gordon Todd on the outside, both 6’5 big body 94+ speed receivers. The combination was deadly. This man may have been the second most dominant player in XCFL history, behind Josh “THE GOAT” Jones. In his two seasons under Larson, Todd put up the following…
Season 14 – 70 REC – 1,796 YDS – 20 TD
Season 15 – 74 REC – 1,890 YDS – 19 TD
Total – 144 REC – 3,686 YDS – 39 TD
- Berry Brooks (Season 17 – Present)
Now this brings us to the main point of our article, second year Wide Receiver of the Green Bay Packers, Berry Brooks. Brooks was taken in the middle of the 2nd round of the 2017 draft and burst onto the scene winning NFC Rookie of the Year, NFC Best WR, and being voted the Season 17 XCFL’s Most Outstanding Player by the owners. Playing lining up along side Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Brooks quickly emerged as Aaron Rodgers favorite weapon. He has elite speed and quick feet, making him tough for anyone to cover. In his rookie season Brooks caught 73 passes for 1,972 yards and 20 touchdowns, as well as returning 3 kicks for touchdowns. He fell just 5 yards short of Antonio Brown’s XCFL Record for most receiving yards in a single season. As we are now halfway through Season 18, Brooks is at it again. After serving a 2 game suspension, he has caught 27 balls for 736 yards and 8 touchdowns in just 5 games. This brings Brooks’ career numbers to…
100 REC – 2,708 YDS – 28 TD
The questions have to be asked, is this the most talented receiver Larson has coached? Is he on pace to be called the best receiver in XCFL history? Only time will tell, but he is on his way to having his name mentioned alongside the best of the best XCFL wide receivers, such as Gordon Todd, Dixon Bishop, and Jacoby Askew. What do you think?
Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone as we finish up Season 18!