No need to adjust your television screens: the USFL is, indeed, back.
After a preliminary announcement that the USFL will return in the near future, the league is expected to resume play this spring.
MORE: What You Need To Know About The Return Of The XFL
With eight teams returning to the field, the league hopes to become a springtime hit where other recent leagues have failed: the Alliance of American Football and the rebirth of the XFL have attempted to do the same.
Now, the Fox-owned football league is hoping to reverse this trend. Here’s what you need to know:
When will the USFL return?
The return of the USFL will be in April 2022, and the league hopes to become the latest in a recent wave of soccer leagues (AAF and XFL) to claim this spring. The season will run from mid-April to mid-June, followed by the playoffs.
The matches will be played on Saturdays and Sundays, with specials airing on Fridays and Mondays.
“We are extremely fortunate to have this extraordinary team of experienced executives to guide the development of the new USFL as we head towards launch this spring,” said Eric Shanks, CEO and Executive Producer of FOX Sports, who will serve as President. of the USFL Board of Directors.
The original USFL was founded in 1982 and closed in 1986 after attempting to challenge the NFL with a fall schedule.
Another league under the same banner attempted a comeback in 2010, but plans failed.
Who are the USFL teams?
The November 22 announcement indicated that there were eight returning teams from the previous iteration of the USFL:
- Birmingham stallions
- Houston players
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey generals
- Breakers of New Orleans
- Philadelphia stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
The teams will be divided into two divisions, the North and the South:
North: Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers
South: Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, Tampa Bay Bandits
The teams will ultimately play in their home markets, but will initially play at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The teams will face the division rivals twice (six games) and the rival conference once, for a total of 10 games.
The top two teams from each division meet in the semi-finals, then the division winners face off in the league match the following week.
The original USFL had 18 teams and played a spring schedule.
What is the USFL?
The United States Football League played three seasons of spring football from 1983 to 1985. The 1983 season featured 12 teams, primarily in major markets. The league expanded to 18 teams in 1984, then contracted 14 teams in 1985.
Originally viewed as a potential NFL contender, the league closed in 1986 after winning an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. The lawsuit would hurt the league more than it helps it, as it lost $ 136 million in the process.
The USFL caused a stir at the start when the New Jersey Generals signed the running back for Georgia’s Heisman Herschel Walker Trophy. Walker was the league’s biggest star and racked up 1,812 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1983.
Walker wasn’t the only college superstar to choose the USFL over the NFL. Professional Football Hall of Fame players such as Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young, and Gary Zimmerman started at the USFL. George Allen, Bill Polian, Sid Gillman and Marv Levy were also involved in the league.
Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie signed with the USFL against the NFL after winning the award in 1984.
How much are USFL players paid?
There is no initial salary information for USFL players, but it is safe to assume that they will not be paid like NFL players. In fact, far from it.
For comparison, the average salary for XFL players was $ 55,000, but the higher-paid quarterbacks made almost half a million dollars.
The AAF players earned a salary of $ 70,000 for their first year and would sign a minimum of three years of unsecured contracts worth $ 250,000.
Will the USFL keep the same rules?
The league has yet to introduce rules for the upcoming season, but the league has hired former NFL chief referee Mike Pereira to lead the league’s umpiring arm.
As usual with these new leagues, the USFL promises to be “innovative”. We’ll see how it works.