The USFL is back. What you need to know at the start of the games.

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The nicknames are familiar to those with long memories: the New Jersey Generals, the Philadelphia Stars, the Tampa Bay Bandits. So is the name of the league: the USFL

But its new management says that despite the nostalgic team and league names, this iteration of the USFL, which begins play on Saturday, wants to distinguish itself from the league that operated for three seasons in the mid-1980s. This predecessor launched the professional football careers of Heisman Trophy winners like Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie, and future Hall of Famers like Reggie White, Jim Kelly and Steve Young. Its colorful history culminated in a hollow-court win over the NFL before the league folded in 1986.

In its new incarnation, the USFL will play a 10-week, 40-game regular season that runs from April 16 to June 19, getting a head start on the XFL, another NFL alternative league that plans to relaunch. in February 2023.

Despite the eight teams’ city-specific nicknames, all regular season games will be played at the same location – Birmingham, Ala. The regular season will be followed by semifinals and finals on June 25 and July 3 in Canton, Ohio, site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The reason for the unique location is “primarily financial,” said Daryl Johnston, the former Dallas Cowboys fullback known as Moose, who serves as the USFL’s executive vice president for football operations. He noted that travel is a significant cost for new leagues.My most important thing is to get to year 2,” he said.

Johnston said the league hopes to move teams to their nominal home cities between the second and fourth seasons.

Fox is an investor in the league, and the games will air on various Fox and NBC networks and streaming platforms. In an unusual twist, the opening match between the Generals and Birmingham Stallions on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. EST will be broadcast simultaneously on two broadcast networks, Fox and NBC. The networks will operate from a single stream, but will have separate announcers and production teams.

Like other upstart leagues have, the USFL will experiment with certain rules that differentiate its game from its long-established counterpart. In addition to having the option to go for a point after the touchdown or a 2-point conversion, teams can line up from the 10-yard line to go for 3.

Overtime games will be decided by shootout-style competition. Each team will get three shots into the end zone from the 2-yard line. Whichever team achieves the highest salary will win.

As an alternative to a game kick, teams can try to convert a fourth and 12 game. If successful, they will keep the ball.

There’s no Walker or Donald Trump in the new USFL Michigan Panthers quarterback Paxton Lynch, who started four games for the NFL’s Denver Broncos in 2016 and 2017, is about as important than names. The Panthers had the No. 1 pick in the USFL Draft last month and selected Shea Patterson, a quarterback who finished his college career in 2019 at the University of Michigan.

Other players include Luis Perez (Generals), a former Texas A&M-Commerce quarterback who played in the AAF and XFL, and Jordan Ta’amu (Bandits) of the University of Mississippi and XFL .

The names of some of the head coaches may be more familiar than those of the players. They include Jeff Fisher (Panthers), who led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl in the 1999 season; Skip Holtz (Stallions), longtime college coach and son of Lou Holtz; and Kevin Sumlin (Gamblers), a former college coach at Arizona, Texas A&M and Houston.

Players will receive $4,500 per week and practice players will receive $1,500. There are also win bonuses of $850 per win.

No. The league requires players to be pulled out of high school for two years, one year less than the NFL. . “We offer an alternate route,” he said, from college play to pros.

Some of the original USFL owners sued the new league, claiming it had no rights to the league and team names. The new league said the lawsuit was without merit.

He has a shot.

Other recent efforts – the United Football League (four seasons), the Fall Experimental Football League (two seasons), the Alliance of American Football (less than a season), and the second iteration of the XFL (less than a season, although it plans to return next year under new management) – stalled fairly quickly, despite some flashy launches and loads of talent.

“There have always been players available to play football in the spring,” Johnston said. “We have a product that we know gets ratings. We are financially responsible.

“The most important thing are the partnerships we have for distribution. It can’t be better than Fox and NBC.

He also thinks this league has the right time, not starting immediately after the Super Bowl like some spring leagues have and like the XFL hopes to do in 2023. bit?” he asked.

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