The USFL unveiled its 2022 Season Schedule on Monday, along with ticket info for all their games. As has been known for quite some time, the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions will kick off the USFL season at Protective Stadium in Birmingham on Saturday, April 16th, on FOX and NBC.
Unique USFL Season And Ticketing Setup
The ten-week 40-game USFL regular season, from mid-April through late June, will be taking place in Birmingham, with the majority of the league’s games being played at Protective Stadium, while a select group of games will be played at Legion Field in Birmingham.
The USFL’s playoffs start on June 25th; the two opening Week’s playoff matchups and the championship game will all be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of the unique aspects of the USFL’s setup this Spring is how affordable ticket prices are. With the USFL’s family-friendly ticket pricing, two adults with up to 6 children can attend all three week one sunday games for $20 total. All tickets will be “single day,” which allows entry to all USFL games played on that date. Adult general admission tickets for regular-season games are $10. In addition, each adult holding a general admission ticket can receive up to three free single-day tickets for children under 15.
The USFL’s broadcast schedule will have NBC Universal carrying 22 USFL games, with nine on NBC, nine on USA Network, and nine on the Peacock streaming service. Fox will have 22 games, 14 on its flagship broadcast network and the other eight games on FS1. *The USFL is still working out the kinks for their league’s TV schedule. But it’s expected to be released tomorrow.
- Update- On Tuesday 3/8, the USFL released its TV schedule for the upcoming 2022 season. You can check out the full details at this link.
USFL teams are separated into two divisions; each team will play two games against their divisional opponents, six in total. The remaining four games on the schedule will be against the opposing division.
The North Division consists of the New Jersey Generals, Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers. At the same time, the South Division includes the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits. When the regular season concludes, the top two teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the New Jersey Generals schedule for 2022.
USFL 2022: New Jersey Generals Regular Season Schedule
Week 1: New Jersey Generals vs. Birmingham Stallions, Saturday April 16th at 7:30pm ET FOX/NBC & Peacock
In a league where all eight teams are on equal footing starting from ground zero. The one team with a slight competitive advantage is the Birmingham Stallions because they will be playing all of their games at home during the regular season. Despite the neutral site aspect of the USFL in 2022. The Stallions’ opponents will be playing defacto road games against them.
Because the Generals and Stallions are in separate divisions. This will be their only meeting during the regular season. If both teams meet in the playoffs, it will be at a neutral site in Ohio. So technically, this is New Jersey’s only “road game” this year.
Mike Riley’s New Jersey squad can play the role of spoiler in Week one by spoiling Skip Holtz’s Birmingham debut in front of their home crowd. The Birmingham market will be excited for the return of pro football to their city, and the Stallions should have a decent showing from the locals for their season opener.
As we get closer to Week one, there will be more emphasis on the matchups and players involved between the Generals and Stallions. But the opening game for the league takes on greater importance than your standard contest.
No one in the league office will say it publicly, but they would love to see Birmingham win over their local crowd by making a strong impression and defeating the Generals in Week one. The league wants the Birmingham crowd to keep coming back for more. Affordable ticket pricing doesn’t hurt but having the local team, the Stallions, be competent and competitive would help.
But what the USFL heads want more than anything else is for the overall product produced by both teams in week one to look good. As the ancient saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
The stakes for the first game of any new league are high. Simply because the opening game promises a sample audience of casual and mainstream sports fans. Birmingham could lose to New Jersey in Week one. But the entire league could fail if the game is subpar, regardless of who wins. So there’s added pressure for the Generals and Stallions that goes beyond simply winning their first game. Can the two teams help win over an audience for the entire league? That last line sounds overdramatic, but as someone who has followed alternative pro football leagues for decades, the opening game typically presents a make-or-break scenario.
Week 2: New Jersey Generals vs. Michigan Panthers, Friday, April 22nd, 8 pm ET, USA Network
The first divisional game of the season for New Jersey and the first Friday game of the season. Believe it or not, despite their decades of experience in coaching. This will be the first time that Jeff Fisher and Mike Riley have ever coached against one another on the pro level. Despite the two being head coaches at the same time in the NFL, their teams never met.
Jeff Fisher also has ties to Generals DC Chris Dishman. Fisher coached Dishman when they were together in the NFL.
The two coaching staffs that have a ton of experience will be squaring off in a pivotal early-season game, which takes place on a Friday night, six days after the league opener for New Jersey, and five days for Michigan, who plays Houston on Sunday, April 17th. The scheduling could play in the Generals’ favor, with the Panthers having less recovery time from Week one.
Week 3: (April 30-May 1st) New Jersey Generals vs. Philadelphia Stars
The two coaches who have the most experience in alternative pro football leagues in the USFL are Stars head coach Bart Andrus and Generals coach Mike Riley. Andrus, who doesn’t quite have the same resume as other coaches in the league, does, however, have the most recent experience with a lot of the players who will be playing in the league. From his time with the XFL running Team 9, and most recently with the Spring League.
Andrus has a roster filled with players from those leagues. Like TSL MVP quarterback Bryan Scott and superstar tailback Darnell Holland. The latter was a Team 9 player in the XFL, who dominated the Spring last year in TSL as a runner, receiver, and kick returner.
Week 4: (May 6-8) New Jersey Generals vs. Pittsburgh Maulers
New Jersey’s North Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Maulers, are technically listed as the home team in this game, and both teams meet again in Week 8.
After meeting the Philly Stars and Michigan Panthers in back-to-back weeks, this will be Pittsburgh’s third straight divisional game. After this game, Kirby Wilson’s Maulers don’t play another divisional contest until the final three weeks of the regular season. That’s the same scenario facing New Jersey.
Mike Riley and Kirby Wilson both have a history with one another. Once upon a time, Riley was a defensive backs coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the early eighties. One of the DBs he coached in the CFL back in 1983 was Kirby Wilson. The Week four contest will be Riley’s first opportunity to face Wilson as a head coach nearly four decades after coaching him.
The dates and times for these games haven’t been determined yet. But that could also play a factor in these games. There are no bye weeks in the USFL season. So the possibility of teams playing on short rest is in play. This game is currently slated for a possible Friday kickoff or even potentially on Sunday.
Week 5: (May 13-15) New Jersey Generals vs. New Orleans Breakers
The Generals enter the mid-way point of the USFL season facing off against Larry Fedora’s New Orleans Breakers.
The Breakers, because of an impressive draft, which saw them land promising young quarterback Kyle Sloter, are one of the odds-on favorites to be a legitimate playoff contender.
USFL teams should be rounding into form by the mid-way point of the season. With no preseason and limited training camps, the first quarter of the regular season will serve as an acclimation period for all eight league teams.
Week 6: (May 21-22) New Jersey Generals vs. Houston Gamblers
Mike Riley’s Generals clash with Kevin Sumlin’s Gamblers as the second half of the USFL regular season begins. Both Riley and Sumlin have Alabama ties, Sumlin was born in Brewton, Alabama, and Riley played in Alabama for the legendary Bear Bryant. The two veteran coaches meet up in Alabama, leading teams in the USFL.
Kevin Sumlin has a deeper connection to the Generals’ defensive coordinator Chris Dishman, as they were both teammates in college at Purdue. In Week six, it will be Dishman’s defense going up against Sumlin’s wide-open offensive attack in Week 6.
Week 7: (May 28-29) New Jersey Generals vs. Tampa Bay Bandits
Tampa is the final non-divisional regular-season opponent on New Jersey’s schedule. Bandits head coach Todd Haley and Mike Riley have never crossed paths before, and this will be their first time coaching against each other on any level.
Todd Haley’s Tampa team will most closely resemble a traditional NFL offense, after his years of experience in the league on that side of the ball, mainly as an offensive play-caller. As a former defensive player and coach, who transitioned to the offensive side, Mike Riley brings multiple offensive styles to the table, from coaching on the college level, the American pro game, and in Canada. So this will be an intriguing matchup between Haley and Riley.
Fans of alternative pro football leagues will pay extra attention to XFL standout quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, no matter who he plays against this year.
Week 8: (June 3-5) New Jersey Generals vs. Pittsburgh Maulers
The start of a crucial three-game divisional stretch for The Generals’ to end the season. Theoretically, a team can walk into week 8, sporting a 2-5 or 3-4 record, and still have an opportunity to win the division or make the playoffs if they run the table.
At the end of the season, Tie-breakers in division matchups could determine who advances to the playoffs in Canton.
Once again, the undetermined date could play a factor here. Especially late in the year, if a team is playing on short rest. The Maulers and Generals are scheduled to play this week on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. If a team is forced to play on just four days’ rest, it could affect their performance and create a competitive imbalance.
In a league where the majority of the teams have no home-field advantage. Scheduling could play into or against the favor of teams, particularly late in the season.
Week 9: (June 11-12) New Jersey Generals vs. Michigan Panthers
Jeff Fisher vs. Mike Riley part II. It’s also part two between Fisher and his former player with the Oilers, Generals DC Chris Dishman.
The stakes will be higher in this game than they were when both teams went through a feeling-out process earlier in the season. Because of late-season scheduling, every team in the North is playing one another down the stretch.
Week 10: (June 18-19) New Jersey Generals vs. Philadelphia Stars
The Generals close their regular season with the Philly Stars. While the other two Northern divisional teams. Michigan and Pittsburgh also square off on the same weekend. There’s no doubt that these two games will have playoff implications in determining the Kings of The North.
Depending on when these games are scheduled, scoreboard-watching could be a thing in Week 10. The games will not run simultaneously, but a team’s fate could lie in the outcome of a game that takes place before they get on the field. Scheduling the divisional clashes on the same day makes the most sense for added drama.
New Jersey Generals 2022 Schedule Final Analysis
As is the case with any sports team, or league, getting off to a good start is imperative for success. But it’s even more important, in a new league, with eight brand-new teams, working out the early kinks. Furthermore, each game takes on more importance in a ten-game schedule.
The sooner that head coach Mike Riley can get his troops up to speed and clicking on all cylinders, the better.
The USFL’s scheduling at the end of the season, which is backloaded with divisional games, is a smart play by the league. Unless a team trots into Week 8 at 0-7 or 1-6, the likelihood is that all eight teams will have something to play for, with playoff stakes on the line, towards the tail end of the season.
A late-year three-game win streak can catapult a team into championship contention if they can win their divisional matchups. A 5-5 record could, in theory, get you into contention. Insert the Jeff Fisher 4-6 joke here.
Teams can change and get better as the season progresses. The Generals might be an entirely different team in late June than what we see in April.
The USFL is essentially eight expansion pro football teams. It’s going to take time for teams to form their identities and from a competitive standpoint, gain knowledge on the opposing teams as the weeks go by, as more game film becomes available.
At the end of the day in football, success always comes down to team chemistry and talent. But New Jersey Generals head coach Mike Riley has tons of experience, coaching in multiple pro football leagues, with winning records in college, the CFL, the WLAF, and the AAF. Riley is a five-star General when it comes to coaching in alternate leagues, and by virtue of that, it might be the best thing that New Jersey has going for itself this upcoming season.
If the USFL gets to year two, with all their teams setting up shop in their respective markets. New Jersey’s games with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Michigan will have more meaning. But for now, it’s on to what should be a one-of-a-kind 2022 season.