New football league aims to quench fans’ thirst in NFL offseason

The new United States Football League begins play later this spring with eight teams


Dave Sizer (Flickr)

A number of players with ties to Arizona were dradfted into the new USFL.

If you’re missing football already, the United States Football League has you covered as the NFL offseason begins. 

The new USFL is a reboot of a springtime football league that originally operated between 1983 and 1986 but ultimately failed due to financial instability. Though not legally-connected to the old USFL, this version of the league kicks off with a three-year, $150 million TV rights deal. FOX Sports, which holds these televised rights, also purchased a shareholder’s stake in the USFL.

“The relaunch of the USFL is a landmark day for football fans and FOX Sports,” FOX Sports CEO and executive producer Erik Shanks said. “Football is in our DNA and the return of this innovative and iconic league is a fantastic addition to our robust slate of football programming.” 

The inaugural season for the new USFL will see eight teams introduced across two divisions, North and South. The South division hosts the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits. The North division will have the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers. The top two teams from each division will qualify for the playoffs. 

The teams will play a 10-game regular season schedule, with all the games being played in two stadiums in Birmingham, Ala. However, the playoffs will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium in Canton, Ohio. 

While the players participating in the new league have not yet been revealed, some of the notable head coaches include Jeff Fisher (Michigan Panthers), Todd Haley (Tampa Bay Bandits), and Kevin Sumlin (Houston Gamblers). 

The 2022 USFL draft and player reveal will take place this Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Brian Woods, the new USFL’s co-founder, recently explained what fans can expect when the season begins.

“The immediate presentation is going to be exceptional, so I have to make sure the on-field product is equally remarkable. That being said, we started scouting players and evaluating talent with former NFL scouts in NFL training camps last fall making the rounds, trying to identify some players. Many of the players in this league are going to be talented. We will have a sprinkling of former NFL Draft picks, so we’ll have some young guys,” Woods said. 

The opening game of the 2022 USFL season will see the Generals take on the Stallions on Saturday, April 16. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. EST. Both FOX and NBC will broadcast the game.