An overview of the USFL as well as iUP students thoughts on the league.

As many football fans will know, there’s a new football league in town. The United States Football League, or the USFL for short, recently held its first league game earlier this year. However, much of this new league remains unknown. What is this league, and how did it start? Let’s break down the USFL. 



On April 16th, 2022, as football fans around the United States tuned in to different sports networks, their interest peaked. The very first USFL game was about to take place. Many of those watching didn’t know how this was going to unfold; they hadn’t seen a new league in many years. But before this game caught the eyes of millions, months went into preparing for this league. Players had been drafted, coaches appointed, and commentators recruited. 

It all started in 1965 when David Dixon, an art and antiques dealer for the New Orlean Saints, saw football as a year-round sport, not just one that should be played during autumn/fall. So Dixon decided to start his very own football league and got 12 cities to join in. He went through all the commercials, advertising, team-making, and hard work, until finally, in 1983, it was game time. But alas, the season was not much of a hit. From the start, issues and arguments about the stadiums that the teams would use arose, and many deals needed to be cut. Nevertheless, 2.7 million fans went to the season games in total. And then it all went downhill. After deciding to move the league to the fall (which kind of defeated the purpose of a spring league), many teams folded (ceased to operate) due to the fact that they would face head-to-head with the NFL. Following this, a lawsuit was filed against the NFL for broadcasting rights, though this lawsuit had a disappointing ending for the USFL, and resulted in only three dollars (yes, three dollars) given to the USFL. This caused the league to suspend all seasons, with the hope of returning to play in 1987. However, once the time came to restart the league, the teams did not want to, since the USFL would rival directly with the NFL. The USFL became the USF-fail, and was considered one of the biggest flunks of all time. Did this stop them from trying again? No it did not. 

On June 3, 2021, Doug Flutie (once a quarterback for the NFL, CFL, and USFL) announced that the USFL would be coming back! How would these teams come together? Would the mistakes of their last season surface once more? 

Currently, there are eight teams in the USFL, split into two divisions, the North division, which contains the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers. And the South division, which contains the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers (yep, Texas has a team!), New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits. The rules follow much of the NFL rules, but with a couple key twists to make the game livelier. Some of the major changes include 3-point conversions (instead of the usual 1 or 2-point conversions used in the NFL), offensive play changes, as well as onside kicks and OT (overtime, when the teams are tied at the end of the fourth quarter) changes. 

Some of the players to look out for in the future include: Birmingham Stallions’ defensive back Josh Shaw (who has played for several teams in the NFL), Houston Gamblers’ wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams (one of the best return men in the country), Michigan Panthers’ offensive guard Marquell Harrel, New Jersey Generals’ Calvin Ashley (who also played for the NFL, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers),  New Orleans Breakers’ defensive end Davin Bellamy, Pittsburgh Maulers’ offensive tackle Isaiah Battle, Philadelphia Stars’ defensive back Bradley Sylve, and wide receiver John Franklin III for the Tampa Bay Bandits (Franklin has also won a super bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Keep in mind that these players are being judged based on their past accomplishments, new rookies could definitely show their skills and be crowned MVP by the end of this season. 

And now, we resume to that family watching the game or that teen flipping through channels, maybe even that uncle you have that seems way too obsessed with football (he’s not too obsessed, watch a football game and you’ll see). April 16th, 2022. The first game of this season for over 30 years, played by the New Jersey Generals and the Birmingham Stallions. Finally, the quarterback called out to his team as the players lined up. And now, the snap, the rush, the plays, the motion and beautiful speed. Adrenaline and energy take over the players, with nerves melting away throughout the game as they enjoy doing the thing they love. In the end, the Birmingham Stallions won 28-24 with a game-saving touchdown. Many viewers thought that the Generals had it set and done, but the Stallions came back with full-force, resulting in their win. It was a nail-biting, action-packed game, one that will not be forgotten! 


Future Football Fans

Have our owls taken a liking to this sport? When surveyed, many students said that this league is not something that interested them. Kylie, a student here at iUP, said that she thinks the league “is good, so that more people have the ability to play in a league that is competitive. I don’t think it will gain popularity though.” Yahia Osman, a 9th grader, says that he isn’t sure whether the USFL will stick around, adding that “I think it depends on how much attention it really gets, if it’s a lot then it will most likely stay but if there is little to no attention then it will most likely be short-lived.” Could this league turn out to be just as it was in 1986? 

We cannot foresee the future, so we cannot be sure whether this league will fall or fly. However, we are right at the center of it; football isn’t football without fans. Let’s watch the season unfold! Who knows? It might be a true competitor to the NFL one day! Only time will tell. 



Rolfe, B. (2022, February 18). History of the USFL: What it is, how it started, and its demise. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Lobdell, J. (2017, October 02). The history of the USFL. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

FOX Sports. (2022, April 16). USFL 2022: Everything you need to know. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

DiLullo, M. (2022, April 07). 20 USFL players to watch heading into the 2022 football season in Birmingham. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

DeArdo, B. (2022, April 17). USFL opener: Birmingham Stallions Rally to 28-24 win over New Jersey Generals in thrilling first game. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from