Going into this year it was expected we’d see a rapid fire of announcements from the USFL. So far, they have delivered big time.
Starting out 2022 we learned details around the leagues player selection meeting set for Feb 22-23. Shortly after, the USFL revealed details regarding their player and staff incentives. From there we learned all eight head coaches, and the league most recently held a media event at Protective Stadium where there officially announced Birmingham as their central hub and revealed details around the inaugural game.
With the league moving full steam ahead towards kickoff, we’ve started to see more league personnel talking about the USFL via radio and Podcasts.
Yesterday, EVP Football Ops Daryl Johnston joined 365 Sports to discuss the upcoming USFL season, where we get some more insight on their mindset.
The interview starts out discussing the spring leagues of the past, where the host says there seems to be a little more excitementhttps://twitter.com/SicEm365Radio/status/1488291863463346179 about the new USFL.
Johnston speaks on this last two go-around in the spring football market, mentioning that one was in their control and the other was beyond
The Alliance not having someone really committed to funding. It was a tough one, because he thought Ebersol and Bill Polian did a great job. He then spoke about the XFL and the pandemic, stating that there wasn’t much anyone could do to solve that situation. He spoke about Vince McMahon having the funding to build the XFL, but with COVID he took a major hit on his overall wealth that it made sense to pull the plug.
Johnston did mention that the XFL will be coming back in 2023, and said that he “looks forward to competing with them”.
There’s so much history with the USFL, and so many people remember it fondly.
He touched on the number of stars the original USFL created, and spoke about his excitement to create those experiences again.
Johnston was then asked how much they went back into the USFL’s history to learn from their mistakes. Specifically mentioning, scheduling, funding and of course early expansion.
The big thig is that you can’t take on the NFL.
Johnston spoke on the importance of being their own league, and not trying to compete with the NFL. In regards to scheduling, he thinks the offset schedule is the perfect fit for the league. Beyond that, with an April kickoff they would avoid going head-to-head with the XFL in 2023.
Although Johnston says that they’re not going to compete with the NFL but they want to find that sweet spot where they work with them, but not solely as a developmental bridge. He said this is more about working with the individual players to make them better and get them used to working in a professional organization.
They went on to touch on the details surrounding the upcoming season. The big item was the central hub, most games will be played out of the new Protective Stadium, with roughly 8-12 games at Legion Field. He spoke on how everyone involved in the discussions was excited and it was fun toi work through the challenges.
Johnston spoke about how having the central hub is really going to be setting themselves up for the future. This allows them to work through other logistical issues as they work towards moving the teams to their respective markets.
He’s positive that the league will make it to a second season, and he’s looking forward to doing it this time around. The goal is to get on the ground in 2022, get better by the second season and be great by the third. This is also when the league has planned on moving the teams into their own cities.
All in all this is another great interview with a member of the USFL team, and it’s definitely worth a listen.
What part of the USFL season are you most excited for? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.