The United States Football League (USFL) was a rival to the National Football League (NFL) back in the 1980s. It was active for three seasons between 1983 and 1985, operating in the summer to fill the gap when the NFL and college football were both in their off-season periods. However, the plan to switch it to match up with the NFL calendar in 1986 ended up being the final nail in the coffin of the new start-up league, which was called off that same year and hasn’t been mentioned since.
That is until 2021, when it was announced the USFL is coming back in 2022. However, despite sharing the name, it shares no other affiliation with the previous USFL that took place in the 1980s. So that’s why it’s back, kind of, because the name is back, but the rest of it is going to be a whole new experience for football fans.
It’s not the first time though that someone tried to help the phoenix rise from the ashes. Back in 2008, another league that would share the name was rumored to be in the works, with a 2010 start date to be set. But nothing really ever progressed with the plans, and in the end, 2010 came and went without even a brief mention of the possible new football league.
But this time around, it looks like things are progressing nicely, and that the USFL will be going full steam ahead. It’s due to start in April of 2022, which will not be long after the NFL Super Bowl takes place, and around the period when the NFL 2022 Draft is held. So it has picked an interesting time to launch, in between two of the biggest events in the NFL calendar, but with no actual football taking place at that point, it offers a great opportunity to grab the attention of fans.
But besides its start date, what else do we know so far?
So, the USFL will consist of at the minimum, eight teams. With the possibility of more being announced before the start, or at least, for any future seasons that are held. Whilst many state this is not a reactivation of the old USFL, along with the league’s name, owners The Spring League, Brain Woods and Fox Sports, have also managed to claim the rights from some of the team names from the 80s as well.
As one of the main owners, Fox Sports will be the main broadcaster for the USFL games. However, NBC have also signed a multi-year deal to air some games. The fact they’ve penned into a multi-year deal shows the owners of the league are not here as a one-off, they have plans for this to become a steadfast fixture in the American Football calendar.Something that will hopefully continue for many years and grow into something special. Whether that be in conjunction with the NFL by remaining as a Spring/Autumn league, or by becoming a rival to it.
The league will so far be split into two divisions; south and north. Each division will have four teams, who will play teams from their division twice in the season, and teams from the opposite division once, leading to a 10-game season. The winners and runners up of each division will then qualify for playoffs, which will feed into a semi-final and championship format. The total season is expected to run for around three months, ending in June 2022.
But who are these teams, and what are their chances of claiming the first USFL championship?
As mentioned, there are eight teams in total for the upcoming campaign, representing cities from across the United States. Here’s all the information we know about them so far, including who they are, where they are based and who the head coaches are.
|Team Name||Home City/State||Head Coach|
|New Jersey Generals||New Jersey||Mike Riley|
|Philadelphia Stars||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Bart Andrus|
|Pittsburgh Maulers||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||TBA|
|Birmingham Stallions||Birmingham, Alabama||TBA|
|Houston Gamblers||Houston, Texas||Kevin Sumlin|
|New Orleans Breakers||New Orleans, Louisiana||TBA|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||Tampa, Florida||Todd Haley|
As it stands, whilst we know some of the coaches for these teams, there are still some vacancies which are planned to be announced soon. And rosters haven’t been decided yet either, so in terms of predicting who could actually win the first USFL since its return is anyone’s guess. However, we plan to do it.
Going off the coaches they have in, and their impressive resumes, we reckon so far, that the Houston Gamblers could be a tough act to follow. Whilst their roster hasn’t been announced yet, we know how good of a coach they have in Sumlin, who has an impressive 95-63 record in college football over 13 seasons. And during that time he has collected two Conference USA Coach of the Year awards in 2009 and 2011, and also was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2012.
Once more information like who the remaining coaches are and which players will be involved, we’ll be able to make more educated guesses. And you can be sure as soon as that news releases, BetMGM Sportsbook will have odds and predictions for US Football fans immediately.
BetMGM already have a wide selection of betting opportunities open on US Football, and are one of the quickest to update their odds to reflect the latest news. So it will be a good place to keep your eye on not only if you want to bet on the new USFL, but as an indicator when more news has been released as well.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the USFL 2022 season will all take place in Birmingham, Alabama. The idea is to follow the Bubble setup many other sports have used to try to keep players and staff as safe as possible. However, they won’t be limited to just one location to play football, games will be split between the 47,100 capacity Protective Stadium, and the 71,574 Legion Field. However, whether fans will be allowed to attend is unknown.
It has already been announced by NBC Sports, that a player selection meeting will be held on February 22nd and 23rd. Whether this will operate like a Draft, or in some other format is unknown. But what is known, is that any players who look to join the USFL franchises, as well as other staff, will be able to receive a college degree that is tuition-free and debt-free. These courses will be run in partnership with Strategic Education’s Capella University and Strayer University, with students able to take classes online or in-person. This could suggest we’re unlikely to see many BIG names, with the league looking to be set up for younger-players, and possibly those who haven’t played College Football yet. However, that’s not to say some more experienced players who have retired recently may not join in as well to help lift the profile of the USFL. But until February, we won’t know much more unfortunately. But we definitely look forward to this new exciting competition
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