Professional Spring Football Returns: USFL Inaugural Season

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Garrett Hall, Editor

Earlier this year we saw what many expected to be the last football game until August until news broke of the USFL inaugural season. USFL plans to start this spring and play up to early summer. This isn’t the first time there has been a spring season for football, in 2019 the XFL was rebooted but had to shut down until 2023 due to COVID complications. 

As of right now, the USFL has a total of 8 teams: The New Orleans Breakers, The Birmingham Stallions, The New Jersey Generals, The Pittsburgh Maulers, The Houston Gamblers, The Philadelphia Stars, The Tampa Bay Bandits, and The Michigan Panthers. Expansion hasn’t been confirmed but if the league succeeds it’s expected. 

Because the league is so small, there are only two divisions: North and South. The North Division consists of The Generals, The Panthers, The Stars, and The Maulers. The South Division consists of The Bandits, The Gamblers, The Stallions, and the Breakers. 

The odd thing about these teams is the cities being in the name. This is because all games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama, even if the Stallions aren’t actively playing. This essentially means the city has nothing to do with the team until they have a home field. The USFL claims they chose to keep the games in Birmingham because it is one of America’s most dynamic and welcoming cities. The only exception to this is the playoffs; the playoff games will be played in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The teams recently held their draft, where they were able to choose from a player pool that consisted of many D1 football players who never got a chance to play pro and a few former NFL players. This draft was unique because the teams were required to pick a certain position depending on the round, whereas in the NFL draft the teams can select anyone regardless of position.

Another interesting thing about the USFL is the 38-man roster, the NFL currently has 53-man rosters, allowing the teams to have plenty of depth in case of injury. With a 38-man roster, that only leaves approximately 13 substitution players.

Even before the first game has been played, there are some who are making power rankings to predict the success of the teams. A popular opinion among many of them is the Tampa Bay Bandits have the best roster; With a very talented QB in Jordan Ta’amu and three great receivers, they seem like they can have one of the best passing offenses in the league. 

The USFL games will be split between FOX, NBC, USA Network, and some will be streamed on NBC’s Peacock.