During the USFL’s 2022 season, fans were treated to some excellent football. The New Orleans Breakers were a team that certainly provided those viewers with plenty of entertainment, earning a playoff berth in the inaugural season.
While 2022 did not end the way that the Breakers would have hoped, the team accomplished quite a bit. New Orleans finished the season with a 6-4 record, fighting through plenty of adversity throughout the year.
Let’s take a look at what went right for New Orleans this year, and what they can improve upon heading into 2023.
No doubt about it: this team experienced some incredible highs in 2022. One of the most impressive moments came during their week four matchup against the Houston Gamblers. With only several seconds left, Kyle Sloter found Jonathan Adams for the walkoff score, improving to 3-1.
This wouldn’t be the only time something like that happened. In week seven, the Breakers battled back against Michigan – eventually forcing the first ever over time. Sloter then proceeded to clinch the win for New Orleans, waltzing into the end zone untouched.
Throughout the season, New Orleans featured some of the league’s elite players, and showcased that every week. Anthony Jones and Jordan Ellis were both sensational running backs. Meanwhile Jonathan Adams, Johnnie Dixon, and Sal Cannella put on a show in the receiving core.
Six Breakers made it on the first All-USFL teams, solidifying the team as a powerful force in the inaugural season. Sal Cannella, in particular, was exceptional all year long – racking up a league record 154 yards in the semifinals game against Birmingham.
A whole lot of Breakers made the inaugural All-USFL team 🌊🌊
On top of that, the defensive unit was a tight knit group who led the USFL in many categories week in and week out. Led by Davin Bellamy, Jerod Fernandez, Ike Brown, and Vontae Diggs – every week was full of hard hits, and clutch turnovers.
If New Orleans can keep most of this core together, they will be in excellent shape moving forward.
Now, not all was glamorous for New Orleans this season. A lot of their struggles arose from injuries; specifically Kyle Sloter. When healthy, Sloter is clearly a high caliber QB. However, due to all the issues he was dealing with in 2022, Sloter was not at the top of his game down the stretch.
This presented New Orleans with a major problem. When Sloter wasn’t 100%, it was difficult for the offense to find its footing. During these moments, Sloter would try to overcompensate – which almost always resulted in a poor decision being made.
To put it in perspective, Sloter ended 2022 with nine touchdowns, and eleven interceptions. During multiple outings against Birmingham, including the postseason game, he forced errant throws that should have never been attempted.
Of course, Sloter wasn’t the only issue facing Larry Fedora and his Breakers in 2022. The thing is: Sloter’s highs were very high – but his lows…they were quite low. Injuries aside, the team lost momentum multiple times in 2022 due to Sloter and his decision making.
Holes To Fill
Unlike some other teams that could use a complete rebuild, New Orleans is in decent standing. In fact, they are in a position to make a Championship run next season, as long as they can keep this roster somewhat intact.
A key factor, not surprisingly, will be Kyle Sloter. Can he come back in 2023? Will he be healthy? Larry Fedora’s offense revolves around Sloter and his playmaking abilities, so their ceiling is only as high as Sloter allows it to be.
That being said, New Orleans can absolutely succeed in 2023, given that they build upon what was constructed this past season.
Overall, the New Orleans Breakers put together a solid inaugural season. Sure, they didn’t make it to the Championship game, but neither did five other teams. At the end of the day, only two organizations could get the job done, and the Breakers were just a couple of plays away from doing just that.
It will be interesting to see how the franchise approaches the offseason, and which players can stick around. Under the assumption that many will remain due to their contractual structure, New Orleans will likely run it back in 2023 – with the intent of hoisting the trophy next July.
What did you think of the New Orleans Breakers 2022 season? Do you think they are Championship contenders in 2023? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!