Connect with us

Sports

What is the USFL? Details, history, potential teams for 2022 return of spring football league

Published

on

What is the USFL? Details, history, potential teams for 2022 return of spring football league

After a 35-year hiatus, the USFL is back.

The United States Football League, a spring league that played three seasons from 1983 to 1985, will make its return in 2022. Fox Sports is the television partner, and there are plans to make an eight-team league. 

The USFL will try to take advantage of that spring window. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) failed to make it through an entire season in 2019, and COVID-19 cut short the XFL season in 2020. Will the USFL make a difference? Will Donald Trump be back?  

MORE: 5 crazy details from the Alliance of American Football’s first and only season

The younger generation might still be asking, “What is the USFL?” 

Here’s a closer look.

What is the USFL?

The United States Football League played three seasons from 1983 to 1985. The 1983 season featured 12 teams, mostly in major markets. The league expanded to 18 teams in 1984 then contracted to 14 teams in 1985.

Who played in the USFL?

The USFL made a big initial splash when the New Jersey Generals signed Heisman Trophy running back Herschel Walker from Georgia. Walker was the league’s biggest star, and he rushed for 1,812 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1983. 

Walker wasn’t the only college superstar who chose the USFL over the NFL. Pro Football Hall of Fame players such as Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young and Gary Zimmerman started in the USFL. George Allen, Bill Polian, Sid Gillman and Marv Levy also were involved in the league. 

Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie signed with the USFL over the NFL after winning the award in 1984. 

Getty Images

Herschel Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals in 1983. (Getty Images)

Donald Trump and the USFL

Donald Trump became the owner of the New Jersey Generals in 1984, and he pushed the USFL to move to a fall schedule to compete with the NFL. The USFL filed an antitrust lawsuit with the NFL and eventually won the case, but the three-year court battle did more harm than good.

The USFL folded before the start of the 1986 season. 

Can the USFL work again?

It will be much more difficult for the USFL to compete for NFL talent, and other developmental leagues have tried and failed in the spring window. 

The AAF and XFL had good initial TV ratings, but those dropped when the curiosity factor dwindled. That will be the challenge for another spring league. 

The USFL also might be competing with the CFL and XFL, which reportedly are in discussions to merge. 

The USFL does have a nostalgia factor in its favor with the older generation of football fans that remembers those teams and players. It will need to feed off that to get some initial buzz. 

Which cities will have USFL teams in 2022?

The USFL hasn’t said yet where it plans to have teams when it returns in 2022, though we do know that there will be eight teams to start. But the original league could provide some hints as to which cities could land teams.

Which USFL teams do we want to see back?

The USFL has not announced which teams/cities will be involved in the new league, but we have some ideas for which eight franchises should return to the USFL in 2022.

Michigan Panthers

The Panthers won the first USFL championship game in 1983, the last pro football championship in the state of Michigan. The Panthers had the best helmet, too.

New Jersey Generals 

The Generals grabbed the most attention by getting Walker and Flutie to sign. This franchise has to be back the second time around, if only to get Flutie to keep that hat on … 

Philadelphia Stars

The Stars were the most successful team during the league’s first run. They had a 41-12-1 record under Jim Mora, who used that success to launch a successful NFL career. 

Tampa Bay Bandits

Steve Spurrier coached this team the first time. This would bring his career full circle. This gives the league a Florida market. 

Memphis Showboats 

The Oakland Invaders had more success, but Memphis has appeal as another market that might be interested in pro football. It’s an excuse to bring out those throwback Reggie White jerseys. 

Houston Gamblers

Jim Kelly passed for a USFL-record 5,219 yards in 1984, and the Gamblers were instrumental in bringing the “Run and Shoot” to professional football. 

San Antonio Gunslingers 

San Antonio’s AAF team had the best attendance, and the USFL can exploit that here with a natural rivalry with Houston. Rick Neuheisel played QB for the Gunslingers in the original USFL. 

Los Angeles Express 

The Arizona Wranglers would be a possibility, but the Los Angeles market is always important. Steve Young was a star player for the Express, too.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

Published

on

Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton's game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

Deandre Ayton was the hero for the Suns in their Game 2 win over the Clippers.

With less than a second left on the clock, the Suns were down one point and had just 0.9 seconds to get a shot off. Jae Crowder inbounded the ball on the baseline under the Suns’ basket and found Ayton cutting to the hoop.

Ayton threw it down. The play took just 0.2 seconds off the clock and sealed the 104-103 win for the Suns.

Here’s a look at the amazing finish.

Ayton and Crowder deserve a bulk of the credit, but Devin Booker had an impact on the finish as well. His physical screen on Ivica Zubac — who is seven inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than Booker — gave Ayton just enough space to get open off the cut and throw down the dunk.

And Booker put his body on the line despite playing with a bloodied nose that required stitches after an inadvertent hit from Patrick Beverley earlier in the game.

The Suns’ finish thrilled Phoenix fans as well as the team’s star point guard Chris Paul, who missed his second straight game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He took time to celebrate the victory on Twitter and praised coach Monty Williams for his “big-time play call.”

Indeed, it was a nice play call, and Williams made sure Ayton was prepared to dunk immediately after catching the ball.

“DA — if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it,” Williams said. “Okay?”

Ayton was ready and obliged. As a result of his make, NBA Twitter erupted and celebrated the exciting end to yet another tightly-contested playoff battle. 

Continue Reading

Sports

How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn’t apply on Deandre Ayton’s dunk

Published

on

How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn't apply on Deandre Ayton's dunk

Back in December 2017, the Suns and Grizzlies found themselves in a down-to-the-wire contest. Phoenix had the ball with just 0.6 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 97.

So what did then-Suns coach Jay Triano do? He unveiled a play that he had kept in his back pocket for years.

MORE: Chris Paul reacts to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk

While standing on the sideline near the Grizzlies’ bench, Dragan Bender threw a pass toward Tyson Chandler that floated directly above the rim, giving Chandler the opportunity to slam it through the bottom of the net. Wait, you can do that?

“You cannot goaltend a ball that isn’t going to count,” Triano told reporters after the game.

More than three years later, Triano’s words were once again ringing throughout Phoenix Suns Arena. Coach Monty Williams drew up a similar play on Tuesday night, and his players executed it perfectly to give the Suns a stunning 104-103 win over the Clippers and a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Look at this beauty:

OK, let’s break down what NBA TV’s Matt Winer called “The Valley Oop.” (Great work, Matt).

First, notice the positioning of DeMarcus Cousins. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue made a smart move by putting Cousins on Jae Crowder in order to make an inbound pass more difficult, but Cousins is squared up to Crowder, opening up the passing lane Crowder needs.

As for the action in the paint, Devin Booker sets a terrific screen on Ivica Zubac, allowing Deandre Ayton to break free. Could Nicolas Batum have bumped Ayton and recovered? Possibly, but he is understandably concerned with leaving Booker.

(NBA)

Once Ayton gets a step on Zubac running toward the basket, it’s on Crowder to put the ball in a spot in which Ayton can score. As you can see from the angle below, Crowder just narrowly avoids the backboard. The placement here is simply incredible.

“That’s definitely Jae’s game-winner,” Ayton said after the game.

deandre ayton suns play
(NBA)

Now, you may still be asking, “But why isn’t that a goaltending violation?”

As the NBA explained in its Last Two Minute Report from that December 2017 game, “Goaltending rules do not apply because (Chandler) makes contact with the ball off of a throw-in and not a live ball that has already legally been touched on the playing court.” Scott Foster, who served as the crew chief on Tuesday, offered the same explanation when asked about Ayton’s dunk.

Sometimes less than a second can be all the time in the world. Just ask any Suns fan.

Continue Reading

Sports

Clippers’ Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

Published

on

Clippers' Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

The box score from Tuesday’s Suns-Clippers game — a pivotal Game 2 win for Phoenix in the Western Conference finals — will show Paul George had a decent game.

Twenty-six points, on 10-of-23 shooting; six assists; six rebounds; and 5-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also scored his team’s last six points, all within the last minute, to help the Clippers to a 103-102 lead with just 8.2 seconds remaining.

The only stats that ultimately mattered in the Clippers’ 104-103 loss, however, were the final two free throws George — a career 84.7-percent free throw shooter — missed. They ultimately allowed Phoenix a chance at an unbelievable comeback victory, which may prove costly even as the series heads back to LA.

NBA MOCK DRAFT 2021: Who will Pistons, Rockets take with top picks?

Had George sunk both of those shots, the Suns would have needed a 3-pointer just to send the game to overtime. Had he sunk even one shot, they would have needed a 2-pointer. But he missed both, allowing the Suns to win on an inbound dunk with less than a second remaining:

Credit to Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and the Suns. That play will go down as one of the top plays in NBA playoffs history. But every heartbreaking loss needs a goat, and no one fits the bill better than “Playoff P,” who could have secured a win for his team with the simplest of basketball scoring plays.

Here’s the bright side for the Clippers, if there is one: They have already overcome 2-0 deficits in each of their first two series against the Mavericks and Jazz, respectively. That’s likely a cold comfort as George and Co. head back to LA, however. The scathing Twitter comments aimed at George likely won’t do anything to help, either:

Continue Reading

Trending