Opinion & Analysis

The Return of the USFL

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Chris TebbuttOpinion & Analysis
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Are you lost without Sunday football coming to you live from the United States?

Well, tomorrow April 16th sees the re-launch of the USFL with 4 games kicking off the start of their return season.

Not a brand-new league but a soft relaunch of the league that combated the NFL from 1983 to 1985, noted for having former president Donald Trump owning one of the teams and poaching some of the football talent from the NFL such as Hall of Famer, Jim Kelly and Doug Flutie.

The re-launch whilst not affiliated with the old USFL has kept 8 of the names of the original teams, so let’s get into who is facing each other tomorrow and Sunday.

Saturdays Games

New Jersey Generals vs Birmingham Stallions

New Jersey Generals –

The team owned by Donald Trump in the old USFL resurfaces in 2022 and has the honour of competing in the first game of the new USFL.

With head coach Todd Haley, the former head coach of such college teams as the Nebraska Cornhusker and the Oregon State Beavers, along with experience in the NFL being the head coach of the Chargers from 1999-2001.

Despite picking Ben Holmes, a QB from Tarleton State with their first pick in the USFL draft, they will not be using him as they now have former FSU QB De’Andre Johnson leading the helm.

Birmingham Stallions –

Fighting out of Birmingham, Alabama. The Stallions look to dismantle the Generals as they start week one on their home turf, as all the games this week will be played out of Protective Stadium in Birmingham.

The man leading the charge for the Stallions is likely to be Alex McGough, the QB from FIU who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2018 but was subsequently cut and bounced around the NFL on teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans.

He looks to put all that behind him under head coach, Skip Holtz. Skip is the son of the legendary college football coach, Lou Holtz. Skip has coaching experience dating back to 1988, despite never coaching in the NFL, Skip’s record of 152-121 and his experience could be too much for the Generals to handle.


Sundays Games

Houston Gamblers vs Michigan Panthers

Houston Gamblers-

Despite having the coolest name in the league, the Gamblers have to get through the Panthers in order to back up their coolness.

Kevin Sumlin will be the man beneath the head coaching headset this Sunday for the Gamblers, having prior to the USFL was the head coach for notable college teams such as Texas A&M, Arizona and Houston. Sumlin has proven the hot Texas heat doesn’t bother him as he makes USFL debut Sunday.

They chose former Eagles fifth-round draft pick, Clayton Thorson as their QB in the USFL Draft. Thorson was the QB for Northwestern College and has an impressive stat line of being the only QB in Big 10 history to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 20 touchdowns in his colligate career.

Michigan Panthers –

The Panthers managed to snag probably the most accomplished coach out of the bunch, enlisting Jeff Fisher, the former Rams and Titans head coach, who took the Titans to their only SuperBowl at this point in the infamous “One More Yard” game, where the Titans were one yard short of a scoring play that would have won them the game.

They also took one of the highest-profile QBs, Paxton Lynch, a former first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2016 who had a less than stellar NFL career but looks to turn it all around in the USFL at the expense of the Houston Gamblers.

Philadelphia Stars vs New Orleans Breakers

Philadelphia Stars –

With their first pick in the USFL draft, the Stars took Bryan Scott, a QB from Occidental College, a division three college in America, despite this Scott set multiple records there including career passing yards, completions and offensive yardage as a whole.

They have a coach from Utah who has been all around the world coaching American Football, Bart Andrus, the former HC for the Amsterdam Admirals, Rhein Fire and the Toronto Argonauts. His career highlight thus far is winning the World Bowl (NFL Europe’s Superbowl) in 2005 coaching for the Admirals.

New Orleans Breakers –

The team from NAWLINS, the Breakers took Kyle Sloter the former North Colorado Bears QB and perennial NFL practice squad member, Sloter has been on six NFL teams in his professional tenure with a stint at the Vikings in 2021 after their backup went down with an illness.

Larry Fedora might sound like the most stylish coach in the league but his resume speaks for itself being the HC for Southern Mississippi and North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then moving on to being the OC and QB coach for Baylor before this role popped up. Hopefully, Fedora can use some of the experience coaching quarterbacks to get the best from Sloter in this match with the Stars.

Tampa Bay Bandits vs Pittsburgh Maulers

Tampa Bay Bandits –

Tampa Bay have a former Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Todd Haley taking the reigns as they look to start their campaign off right against the Maulers. Haley has NFL experience dating back to 1995, where he has served on seven NFL teams mainly as an offensive coordinator, with a three-year stint as KC’s Head Coach.

For their Quarterback, the Bandits chose the Ole Miss Rebel’s Jordan Ta’amu, who had a great college career throwing for over 5,600 yards and 30 TDs.

Despite being picked up by the Houston Texans, Ta’amu found his feet in the XFL as part of the St. Louis Battlehawks, where he played so well he got multiple shots with NFL teams such as the Detroit Lions, Washington Commanders and Haley’s own Chiefs.

Pittsburgh Maulers –

Pittsburgh might have picked up one of the other great prospects at QB, Kyle Lauletta the MVP of the senior bowl in 2018 and former Richmond QB who threw 73 TDs to 30 Ints during his time in college. Lauletta was then selected in the fourth round of the 2018 draft by the New York Giants, after some shaky games in New York, he then went on to be a practice squad QB for four other NFL teams.

Kirby Wilson will be taking the reigns at HC for the Maulers, Kirby has almost coached all positions on offence, being a quarterback, wide receiver and running backs coach for multiple teams, with his main success being as running back coach where he has lent his talents to eight NFL teams, most recently being the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders.

Wilson gets his first head coaching role with the Maulers and hopes to use his experience to take the Maulers all the way.

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