Muscle Sport Magazine

USFL Week 1 Review

Courtesy of the USFL

Not even Mother Nature could put a damper on the opening weekend of the United States Football League. One game was delayed and another bumped to Monday night due to severe weather conditions that include lightning, but it was an overall huge successful kickoff for the returning league from the early-to-mid 1980s.

For this ‘first’ season, the USFL is utilizing a hub environment, with all regular season games being played in Birmingham, Alabama at two different locations (Protective Stadium and Legion Field). The postseason will take place in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Here are the game recaps:


Saturday was opening night at Protective Field in a contest that pitted the home Birmingham Stallions versus the New Jersey Generals. It was a prime time start and aired on two networks – NBC and FOX. The Generals had a quick strike on the first possession of the game and the key play on the drive was the first play from scrimmage – a 49-yard circus catch by a well-covered Randy Satterfield from a throw by Generals quarterback Luis Perez. The two hooked up later in the drive for a three-yard touchdown and the early lead.


Not to be undone, Stallions quarterback Alex McGough dropped a pass on a dime to the back of then end zone, where wideout Osiris Mitchell made an incredible one-handed sliding grab for a 35-yard score.

A see-saw battle ensued and the Generals capitalized with a 47-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining in the contest. But the Stallions marched down the field and back-up quarterback J’Mar Smith scrambled into the end zone on second-and-goal from the two-yard-line for the lead with only 29 seconds left, giving the Stallions a hard-fought 28-24 win.

The game was filled with a number of hard hits and exciting plays and they were accentuated by the litany of camera angles. A very impressive start, to say the least, in many facets.

FINAL SCORE: Birmingham – 28, New Jersey – 24


Easter Sunday kicked off the first of what was scheduled to be a triple header and the opener was delayed due to severe weather that included lightning. But once things started, it was the Gamblers defense that shone. A huge swing occurred when Reggie Northrup had a fumble recovery and took it 90 yards to the house.

Houston eventually opened up to a 17-0 lead and the Panthers finally got on the board on their first drive koi the second half. They scored again, but were unable to convert the ensuing two-point conversion attempt for the second time and trailed by five points. It was a curious decision by Michigan head coach to go for two following the initial touchdown and they were chasing that point for the remainder of the game.

Two late fourth quarter possessions that may have resulted in a game-tying field goal attempt under different circumstances. But the Houston defense held and were the catalysts of a 17-12 victory.

FINAL SCORE: Houston – 17, Michigan – 12


The weather cleared up for the middle game and the first score of the game came as a result of a turnover. Reading a third down pass perfectly, Vontae Diggs stepped in front of the Philadelphia receiver for the interception and scampered untouched all the way for score. The Stars scored a touchdown with under a minute left in the half to head into the break trailing by a 9-7 margin.

They took the lead with a field goal, but that was answered by the Breakers with a 12-yard running touchdown by T.J. Logan. Philadelphia made it 17 all with a 42-yard run by Darnell Holland on the next drive and the final stanza began with everything even.

New Orleans regained the lead when Jordan Ellis bounced off first and second level defenders from inside the five yard line and they were able to hang on for an exciting 23-17 win.

FINAL SCORE: Breakers – 23, Stars – 17


The Sunday nightcap ended up being a Monday night affair due to the return of the bad weather and with it came the least compelling game of the weekend. Bandits quarterback Jordan Ta’amu impressed early on, leading his squad to a 17-0 lead in the first half. The Tampa Bay defense did the rest, holding the Maulers to only a third quarter field goal the rest of the way for a 17-3 triumph.

Pittsburgh looked very sloppy and committed eight penalties (three for unsportsmanlike conduct), which is a reflection on head coach Kirby Wilson.

FINAL SCORE: Tampa Bay – 17, Pittsburgh – 3

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