Muscle Sport Magazine

USFL Returns in April 2022


No one can forget the United States Football League, which made quite the impact on the sports world in a mere three subpar campaigns in the mid-1980s. Spring football has always been a tough sell before and after the USFL, but it did attract many big names and tried to play the long game and go up against the NFL in the fall. We all know how that worked out for the league. But it has always held a unique place in the history of professional gridiron.

More than three-and-a-half decades have passed since then and after a few false starts, it finally appears that the USFL will in fact return with the financial backing of FOX Sports. Details are still to come, but word on the street is that it will have eight teams (in North and South divisions) playing a 10-game schedule in one ‘bubble’ city, rumored to be Birmingham, Alabama.

The parent company National Spring Football League, LLC, which trademarked team names from the original incarnation of the USFL. The only indication of which teams will ‘return’ come from the official league website’s online shop, with merchandise for the Birmingham Stallions, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and New Orleans Breakers on sale.

The original USFL existed from 1983-1985 and showcased many star players such as Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie, Reggie White, Steve Young and Jim Kelly. Our 45th president Donald Trump owned the New Jersey Generals and was front and center for the battle against the NFL with their ant-trust lawsuit. Although the USFL technically won the court case, they were only awarded $1 (actually $3, but who’s counting?) and that was the death knell for the league. The NFL gladly gobbled up many of the players who were now without a home.

In 2012, former Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders wide receiver Fred Belitnikoff was a part of a group who were looking to bring the USFL back, but it never got off the ground. The intention was to make it more of a developmental league like the short-lived FXFL was.

It remains to be seen if the USFL will kick off as scheduled and if it has a long lifespan. With a TV deal in place, that would indicate that it has a good chance to stick around for more than one season, which has been an arduous task, indeed, for recent spring leagues such as the AAF and XFL. And playing in one city may also be a shrewd move, as Birmingham was successful in the AAF (5-3, averaging 14,307 per home game at Legion Field).

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