NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Although the start of the second season of the relaunched United States Football League is still months away, New Orleans is already breaking in a new head coach following the unexpected exit of Larry Fedora.
Fedora stepped down from the job to spend more time with family and leaves behind a 6-4 squad that made the playoffs after finishing as the USFL South division runner-up behind eventual league champion – the Birmingham Stallions.
Enter John DeFilippo.
Coach DeFilippo was named head coach on Nov. 10 after serving as longtime NFL offensive coordinator and assistant, who won a Super Bowl ring while serving as Philadelphia’s quarterbacks coach during the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning run that culminated with a win over the New England Patriots in February 2018.
WGNO’s Aaron S. Lee caught up with ‘Coach Flip’ during his first week at the helm of the Breakers in a Sports Zone exclusive:
“We want to continue obviously to win. I mean this team was 6-4 last year,” Coach DeFilippo told WGNO. “Coach Fedora and his staff did a tremendous job. Our goal is to obviously win a championship, and that’s what you say going into ever year. Anything less than that for us is unacceptable.”
The original Breakers began in Boston before moving to New Orleans during the second of three initial USFL seasons launched in the 1980s. The team finished up in Portland in the final full year of 1985.
The league was brought back in 2021 with eight of the league’s original 18 teams. All teams practiced and played in Birmingham, Ala., last year, with additional hub cities planned for this season.
Nov. 14, the USFL announced that Birmingham will again host the New Orleans Breakers during the 2023 season.
Ultimately the goal is for all eight squads to play in their namesake cities.
“It’s 342 miles from New Orleans to Birmingham,” shared Coach DeFilippo. “So we welcome all our fans to make that drive to the beautiful City of Birmingham to watch us play. And if you can’t make it, watch the games on television because the viewership piece to this thing is very, very important, and we want to put a great product out there for our fans. We want to represent the City of New Orleans and our fans the best we can.”
The Memphis Showboats, which will replace the Tampa Bay Bandits this season, is expected to play in the Liberty Bowl this year, along with the Houston Gamblers.
“We want to make sure we bring an exciting brand of football to New Orleans and represent the Breakers and the people of New Orleans well,” said Coach Flip. “I want to play fast. When you watch our team, both sides of the football.
“I talked to the coordinators already and guys that I am planning on hiring, that when teams turn on our tape, they are going to say, ‘wow, that team plays hard and they run to the ball.’ Because good things happen when you are around the football.”
The USFL’s second season will kick off on April 15, 2023.