For the casual sports fan there’s only one league in football: The NFL. And that’s only because it gets so much attention in the media and on TV. If you’re Canadian, perhaps you also look to the CFL. But for the average non sports fan, the USFL perhaps sounds like a foundation initialism more than a football league. Today, we’ve decided to shed some light on just what the USFL is and perhaps help these casual sports fans along.
So…What is the USFL
Right off the bat, the United States Football League is just that, a football league. It just celebrated its first season back to the realm of professional sports. It was around back in the eighties but fell after just 3 active seasons.
The USFL of the eighties
Former eighties champions include: The Michigan Panthers in 1983, The Philadelphia Stars in 1984, and the Baltimore Stars in 1985—Philly and Baltimore were the same team that relocated from Philly before that last season.
The USFL of the eighties ran from 1982 to 1986. That’s pretty much a long time ago if you’re a member of Generation Alpha for sure, but for fans of the sport of professional football, the United States football League of the eighties did in fact represent yet another choice outside of the NFL.
As I stated last time where I took a deep look at just who owns the USFL: “The earliest concepts for the league started even earlier than that…in 1965 to be exact, and it was David Dixon, a sports executive, that was behind those ideas. Despite a lot of momentum that the league garnered in its early stages though, it had issues essentially from the start and thus was plagued throughout its initial run…issues stemming from securing venues and so on.
Despite this, it was in 1984 that the USFL moved to compete directly with the NFL and that unfortunately did not go as well as planned quite obviously. But there were investments made and a heck of a lot of money was thrown into the league. To give you a further idea of just how much, even former president Donald Trump owned a team in the former USFL, the New Jersey Generals…
(After its demise) There were many attempts at restarting the league over the years…even a more recent attempt back in 2010. That seemed to be the last hurrah, so to speak, but some had hope out there and well, it looked like one more attempt was definitely still in the cards…”
*For my full in-depth piece on just who owns the current USFL and other background info on the league…see here.
In the end, even back then, the USFL was a good thing for the game of football, but it wasn’t seen as such by one and all and not only was the support not there, but the issues that sprung up were a tad too much to deal with for everyone involved. The USFL of that era fell completely and seemingly dropped off of the face of the planet after a lawsuit with the NFL in 1986.
Key Players from the past
Doug Flutie, Herschel Walker, Steve Young, Reggie White and so many others. Please forgive my lack of including others; done for the sole reason of brevity. But the league was chock-full of talented individuals. The games played were indeed special and are still regarded as some of the best games in professional football history. The league certainly had its detractors, but in the end the league made an impact.
A Most Welcome Return
Gone but not forgotten, the league stayed in the hearts and minds of many, and there was always that hope that it would return in some capacity. Like stated above, there were some false starts so to speak, over the years, but in 2022, the league finally did return and although it was different in so many ways, it was as if the USFL of old had returned…big hype, big games and a great final.
It’s coming back for another season of play and hopefully that is the start of long run for sure. Many who enjoyed the return are hoping as much, as is this writer.
2022 Teams and Owner(s)
The eight teams in the current USFL are:
The Michigan Panthers, owned by National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports), coached by Jeff Fisher as of his writing.
The New Jersey Generals, owned by National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports)—formerly owned by Donald Trump in the eighties. Their head coach as of this writing is: Mike Riley.
The Philadelphia Stars, owned by National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports)…coached by Bart Andrus as of this writing.
The Pittsburgh Maulers, owned by, you guessed it: National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports), head coach: Kirby Wilson.
The Birmingham Stallions, owned by: National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports), head coach: Skip Holtz.
The Houston Gamblers – Owner: National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, (Fox Sports). Head coach: Kevin Sumlin.
New Orleans Breakers…same owner as above6—head coach: Larry Fedora.
And finally the Tampa Bay Bandits…owner situation is the same as all of the above, and the head coach is: Todd Haley.
So yeah, same owner all around and that differentiates this league from others.
The inaugural champions of the 2022 season were the Birmingham Stallions.
Schedule and draft
The season runs from April to July…it did this past season. The draft occurred in February last year and it is expected that the draft for 2023 will also be going down in February but as of this writing no official confirmation in that regard has been announced.
*For all of your USFL News: USFL News Hub