Ever since it was revealed that the United States Football League (USFL) would be returning in 2022 there’s been a lot of questions on how everything would shake out.
The announcement was made during a FOX broadcast of The Spring League roughly halfway through the season. When the news dropped, there weren’t many details other than the league was targeting a minimum of eight teams which would all be associated with cities.
It wasn’t until last month that we learned that USFL officials were in talks with the city of Birmingham, AL to host all eight teams in 2022. If everything goes as planned the city would host as many as four teams for the second season, with all teams reporting to their respective cities by 2024. Beyond that, the city will also get two features per game which will certainly serve as great exposure.
Now that the finances have been settled, both parties are working overtime to get everything finalized. Everything seems to be going smoothly, and a formal announcement from FOX is expected to happen any day now.
With the announcement around the corner we wanted to discuss the things we’d like to hear from FOX when they reveal details on the 2022 USFL season.
Obviously, the top item on the list is the identities of the USFL franchises that that will make a comeback in 2022.
When the USFL return was first announced all of the trademarks were listed under The Spring League LLC, which had 98 total team registrations; many of which were former USFL franchises. Now that we’re closer to kickoff FOX has created the National Spring Football League LLC to serve as a parent company for the USFL. At the moment NSFL LLC holds 16 trademarks associated with teams, 15 of which were former USFL franchises.
When the league launched their online shop last month they may gave given us a look at the first four teams. Listed in the shop is the Birmingham Stallions, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and New Orleans Breakers.
Beyond the teams listed above, the USFL also has trademarks for the following:
- Arizona Outlaws
- Birmingham Stallions and Mobile Stallions
- Denver Gold
- Houston Gamblers
- Jacksonville Bulls
- LA Express
- Memphis Showboats
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- New Orleans Breakers
- Oakland Invaders
- Orlando Renegades
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Philadelphia Stars
- Tampa Bay Bandits
One of these may already be out of play. In October the Carolina Panthers filed an opposition to the leagues Michigan Panthers trademark. Although the Michigan Panthers predates the NFL’s Panthers, Carolina has the upper-hand because they’ve been active in using that trademark for many years now.
This has the potential make a lot of football fans in Michigan sad. The Panthers to this day are the last professional team to win the championship in the state after they defeated the Philadelphia Stars in 1983.
When FOX gives us more details on the 2022 season, we think it would be a perfect opportunity to give the fans what they want; all of the USFL teams we’ll see next year.
When news started making the rounds about the discussions between the city of Birmingham and the USFL we also started to hear rumors on where the games would be televised.
Considering that the USFL is owned by FOX, it was assumed that the games would are on the FOX family of channels similar to The Spring League. But, what we heard was much bigger than what we expected. Coming out of the talks was that every game of the 10-week season would be televised. Even more interesting was that it would be split across FOX, FS1, NBC and USA.
NBC hasn’t dabbled in the realm of spring football since their sting with the original XFL in 2001. It seems that they’ve taken notice of the new crop of spring leagues that have come since and they want a piece of the action. Beyond possibly working with the USFL, NBC has inked a partnership with Fan Controlled Football (FCF) to air games on NBCLX and their Peacock TV streaming service.
Although the rumors haven’t been substantiated yet, there’s a lot of people close to the situation that think that this is where it’s headed. We’d love to get an official word when the league puts out their statement on the 2022 season in Birmingham.
Kickoff and Schedule
Similar to above, we’ve heard rumors that the USFL is targeting an April 15th kickoff. If this turns out to be true, that means that the leagues first game will be on a Friday. Additionally, it’s being reported that the season would wrap up with the USFL Championship on July 3rd.
As it stands the league is looking to hold a 10-week season with two semi final playoff matchups leading to the Championship game. All in all, the USFL will be holding 43 games in Birmingham. A majority of the matchups are set to take place at the cities newest football establishment, Protective Stadium. The remaining games will be held at Legion Field which has seen its fair share of spring football franchises. Not only was it home to the original Birmingham Stallions, it also hosted the original XFL’s Birmingham Bolts and the AAF’s Birmingham Iron.
When we get the details, we’d love to officially know when the league is kicking off.. and if we do see that then let us see the full schedule.
This one may be a stretch, but… let’s be honest you want to know as well. At the moment there hasn’t been any leaks on who may be headed to the USFL, but we think there’s a good possibility that we see some of the guys we saw in The Spring League last season.
Among the established coaches, there were a few standouts that we’d love to see get an opportunity after their showings last year as well. Looking at the list of coaches last year, there’s a couple former XFL guys among the group.
If the timeline turns out to accurate, we’re roughly five months away from kickoff. At the moment, it’s being reported that the league is targeting March 1st for pre-season and practice, so that gives us an even shorter window. If we don’t hear anything around the coaches during this announcement, we wouldn’t expect it to be much longer after that.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of excitement (and some skepticism) around the return of the USFL. With FOX behind the league it gives us a lot of hope that they’ll be able to do what the other couldn’t; survive.
Do you plan on tuning into the USFL next year? What things would you like to hear in the upcoming announcement? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.