The United States Football League has been brought back from the grave
The USFL announced its re-emergence Thursday with a return in the spring of 2022. The league plans a minimum of eight teams for its first season and will retain rights to key original team names such as the New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, Memphis Showboats and Los Angeles Express.
“I’m extremely passionate about football and the opportunity to bring back the USFL in 2022 was an endeavor worth pursuing,” said Brian Woods, co-founder of the new USFL. “We look forward to providing players a new opportunity to compete in a professional football league and giving fans everywhere the best football viewing product possible during what is typically a period devoid of professional football.”
The USFL originally debuted in 1983 and lasted for three seasons. The league launched the careers of Hershel Walker, Reggie White and many others due to competitive salaries that trumped what NFL players were currently making. No hard salary cap led to unsustainable payrolls that contributed to the league’s destruction. The league started with 12 teams and had a territorial draft, to load up rosters with familiar local collegiate stars to attract fans.
The league shut down in 1986, the USFL voted to move from a spring to fall schedule to eventually compete with the NFL — an attempt to force a merger between the leagues. The USFL won an antitrust lawsuit against the league as the NFL violated anti-monopoly laws, but the USFL won just $1 — and shut down in the ensuing months.
This version of the USFL will be intriguing as it is scheduled to compete with the rebranded XFL, which is also scheduled to begin play in 2022.