Guess Who’s Back?

The USFL will return sometime in April on Fox and NBC.

Guess+Who%E2%80%99s+Back%3F

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

Don’t call it a comeback!  That’s right.  In April of this year, the USFL (United States Football League) will return after 37 years.  The teams have been announced on FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd.  The names have been chosen from a handful of the original teams when the league appeared in 1983-85 and the logos have been polished up a bit.  Some of the teams have already picked their coaches.  I will talk about the teams’ returns, the namesake and whether or not I like it, the teams’ importance for being chosen and, lastly, give my opinion on what the new spring league should do.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Birmingham Stallions.  I like the name.  I like that Birmingham has finally gotten a team again ever since the Iron of the AAF (Alliance of American Football).  The Stallions will return to Legion Field, where they played all three seasons of the USFL and where the Iron played.  The Stallions were once the most popular teams in the USFL.  Hopefully, former Auburn coach Gene Chizik will carry on that legacy.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Michigan Panthers.  I don’t like the name of the team, thinking about how there are no longer panthers nor cougars in Michigan, per www.clickondetroit.com.  Despite that, they won the inaugural USFL title against the Philadelphia Stars, 24-22.  Let’s hope that the new coach will bring Michigan back to the USFL title game (possibly against the Stars).

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The New Jersey Generals.  I, again, am not much of a fan of the team’s name, but it was named for the large number of generals in the Revolutionary War that were stationed in New Jersey.  This team won 31 games and lost 25 and was 0-2 in the postseason.  Let’s see if the 2022 Generals will change that for the better.  Also, fun fact, this was a team that was once owned by former president Donald Trump.  Maybe former XFL’s Dragons offensive coordinator Mike Riley can do better then Walt Michaels did as a coach (25-13).

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Houston Gamblers.  A namesake that makes sense for a city that houses casinos.  This team was historic.  NFL’s Bills quarterback great Jim Kelly used to play for the Gamblers.  The Gamblers introduced the world to the “run-and-shoot” offense.  They have truly changed the game.  Hopefully, former Arizona University’s head coach Kevin Sumlin will offer a change to the game of football.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Philadelphia Stars. A team my mom said she remembered watching back in the 1980’s (and I’m sure the same for every Philly native can relate).  The Stars were once a dominant team in the USFL (shocker, right?), appearing in all three title games.  They won the league-best 41 regular season victories and seven playoff games.  They were even better then the NFL’s Eagles (ha!).  There seems to be a lot of pressure possibly mounting on coach Bart Andrus, who once coached the Titans and Rams as an assistant coach.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The New Orleans Breakers.  A cool name for New Orleans and it makes sense.  New Orleans is, sadly, known for hurricanes.  So, per the logo, and namesake, it seems like a perfect name.  However, it was once named Boston Breakers (now a name for a women’s soccer team).  The Breakers, back in 1984, started their first season 5-0 before ending 8-10.  Luckily for them, this year’s season will consist of 10 total games per team.  While there isn’t a coach named yet, you better know that that coach may have the luck of New Orleans behind them and will start 5-0, or the voodoo curse on them and start 0-5.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Pittsburgh Maulers.  I don’t technically get the name nor the logo.  It seems like a mock, a parody, of the NFL’s Steelers.  The Maulers back in 1984 tried to sign Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Dan Marino but failed.  Even though they tied with the worst record in the 1984 season with a 3-15 record, it was due to a tough schedule.  Let’s hope Pittsburgh doesn’t fall back to their disastrous ways.  Still, no coach has been named yet.

(left: primary logo; right: alternate logo)

The Tampa Bay Bandits.  Yes, Tampa, you get a shot at another Florida-based football team.  First in 2019 with the AAF’s Orlando Apollos (who were 5-0 before the league folded) and then 2020 with the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers (who were 1-4 before the league folded).  Former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be the coach.  Many predict Antonio Brown (nicknamed A.B.) will return to football and possibly with Steelers coach Haley and the Bandits. However, that is unlikely because AB reportedly said he wanted to play football “at the highest.” The Bandits were one of the most successful teams in the USFL, having an overall 35-19 win-loss record.  The recent luck of the “Champa Bay” mania (Boston is/was the original Champa Bay) could influence this once-monarch of the USFL.

The history of the USFL was a roller coaster.  However, it lasted longer than the AAF and the XFL.  The USFL had previously folded after multiple teams (especially the Maulers) tried to get the USFL to compete with the NFL by playing in the fall, abruptly causing the downfall of the league.  I think they should not have their infamous different colored pants and stuff for each position.  They should, like my idea for the XFL, draft undrafted NFL free agents, free agents for the CFL, and division 2 and 3 players.  I especially think every USFL team should be affiliated with certain NFL teams. Luckily for me, per CBS Sports, the USFL will serve as a “a minor league for players hoping to graduate to the big time”. I just hope it doesn’t fail the ”5-week curse” (AAF folded after week 5. XFL folded after Week 5 in 2020). 

The official division teams in the North and South.

The USFL draft will begin February 22nd to 23rd. Per sportstalkphilly.com, the USFL, maybe, will allow any player to be eligible to be drafted if they’ve graduated from high school in 2020 or earlier.  Each team will have 38-players on active roster and seven on practice squad.  

Who will you root for?  What are you most excited about when the league returns? Who do you want to see in the USFL?  Who do you want to see the USFL be affiliated with the NFL?  Do you think the USFL will pass the “5-week curse”?

Some photos from the 1983-85 USFL: