The Return of the USFL: Everything You Need to Know
The USFL, a long defunct professional football league, is set to make it's return this Spring. The original USFL, which existed for just three seasons from 1983 to 1985, is back in a new 8-team format. Here's all you need to know about the new league that will be on full display this Spring.
Players that showcased their talents in the original league include the likes of Reggie White, Herschel Walker, Steve Young, and Jim Kelly to name a few.
The new league is set to play their first game on Saturday, April 16th. The rest of the schedule is currently to-be-determined.
It is an 8-team format to begin the league, which differs from the original USFL, which contained between 14 and 18 teams depending on the season.
The 8 teams are as follows:
- Birmingham Stallions
- Houston Gamblers
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- New Orleans Breakers
- Philadelphia Stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
It's a wide ranging league that contains some original franchises as well as some new ones.
The USFL Draft, or "inaugural selection meeting" is set to take place this week (February 22nd and 23rd) in Birmingham:
"The USFL announced Friday the details for its 35-round inaugural Player Draft, a historic two-day event that will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, home to every USFL regular-season game in 2022."
That's right, for 2022 (at least), all games will be played in one city:
"The teams will eventually play in their home markets, but will initially play at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Teams will play division rivals twice (six games) and the rival conference once, for a total of 10 games."
Here is the draft order, which was selected via last week's lottery:
Michigan Panthers, Tampa Bay Bandits, Philadelphia Stars, New Jersey Generals, Houston Gamblers, Birmingham Stallions, Pittsburgh Maulers, New Orleans Breakers.
For more on the draft, including it's unique format, visit the link here.
Lastly, there are several familiar faces coaching in the league's inaugural season. Here is a list of teams with their coaches, many of which with NFL ties.
Michigan Panthers - Jeff Fisher - Former Titans and Rams Coach (NFL)
Birmingham Stallions - Skip Holtz - College Coach at UCONN, ECU, USF, and LaTech
Pittsburgh Maulers - Kirby Wilson - Longtime NFL Assistant Coach
New Jersey Generals - Mike Riley - Former Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach
Tampa Bay Bandits - Todd Haley - Former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach
Houston Gamblers - Kevin Sumlin - Former Houston, Texas A&M, Arizona Head Coach
Philadelphia Stars - Bart Andrus - Former NFL Europe, CFL, UFL Head Coach
New Orleans Breakers - Larry Fedora - Former Southern Miss, North Carolina Head Coach
It's another attempted Spring League to challenge and/or contribute to the NFL's success in the United States. For the sake of all football fans, let's hope it borrows the best parts of the AAF and XFL and is here to stay. Football fans could use an alternate league to fill the brutally long offseason each and every year.
Sources: Wikipedia, Fox Sports, USFL Official Site, and Sporting News