United Football League: 5 Things to Know about the UFL
Entering its third season, the United Football League’s season opener will be this Thursday night at 8:00 PM (EST) when the Omaha Nighthawks host the Virginia Destroyers. This will be the debut of the UFL’s newest team along with the two newest coaches.
But with the return of the National Football League, the MLB playoff hunt and college football, you may not be up to date with your UFL news and information. Heck, you may not even realize what the UFL is and what it is all about.
Not to fret my friend—I have you covered.
The UFL is truly under the radar for most football fans. Sure, you’ve heard of it, since it has been mentioned once or twice during an NFL broadcast, but you never really gave it a shot.
Think of the UFL like a good movie that gets no advertising. Once you see it for the first time and realize its quality you’ll think, “Wow! Why haven’t I been watching these games this whole time?”
1. 70 Former UFL Players Have Made NFL Rosters
Graham Gano played for the Las Vegas Locos in 2009
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Enough to man an entire team, 70 players from the first two UFL seasons have made it to the NFL ranks.
Some of these players were reentering the league, while others were getting the call for the first time.
The fact is that the NFL carries 1,700 players on their 32 rosters. But there are more than 1,700 players in the country who can play at this level.
The UFL provides a stage for those who couldn’t make an NFL roster but still want to show that they have what it takes.
We’ve all been in that job interview that isn’t going well and you want to tell the boss, “Just give me an opportunity and I will prove to you that I can do this job.”
The UFL is that opportunity for these players.
Undrafted free agents, former practice squad members and others all want more game film to show general managers and coaches.
So far, the UFL has done that for 70 men and will continue being that stage this season.
2. Three of the Most Experienced Coaches Are in the UFL.
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To be a great student you must have a great teacher—and the UFL has three of them.
The four-team league boasts some of the most recognizable names on their sidelines that fans would love to still see on their NFL teams.
With 51 years of NFL coaching experience, it’s hard to deny that the UFL has found the right men on their sidelines to lead the men that play between the white lines.
The Sacramento Mountain Lions are lead by Dennis Green, who has his most notable success as the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
He was there when the world was introduced to Randy Moss and helped lead the young team to a 15-1 record in 1998.
Jim Fassel now coaches the Las Vegas Locomotives, who are your reigning UFL Champions.
The former New York Giants head coach took the G-Men to the Super Bowl in 2000 before losing to the Baltimore Ravens. After 15 years of NFL experience, Fassel now coaches the team that many believe are the favorite to win the UFL’s Hambrecht trophy for the third year in a row.
Marty Schottenheimer returns to the sidelines this season as the Virginia Destroyers head coach.
With 20 years of NFL experience under his belt, he will lead one of the more experienced teams that the UFL has put together.
Many believe that Schottenheimer was on the cusp of taking the San Diego Chargers to the Super Bowl before being fired after a 14-2 season. His 200 career victories should inspire any of the players to listen and take in as much as they can from this legendary coach.
3. Interaction with the Fans
You ever send Adam Schefter a tweet and just pray that he answers it?
Or dream of the day that you can show up and meet your favorite football player and pass the ball around with them?
Well, with the UFL it’s not about prayers and dreams, because it actually happens.
The UFL has over a dozen Twitter accounts in addition to fan pages on Facebook and other social media sites.
Daily, you can see the the UFL (@TheUFL is their official Twitter name) respond to fans as well as re-tweet their excitement for the upcoming season.
The UFL has been great overall in interacting with fans on a consistent basis—something that the NFL seems to struggle with.
4. Players You May See on Sundays Soon
Trufant, who returned a blocked punt for a TD this past Sunday Night, spent two years on the Las Vegas Locomotives.
There are plenty of young players in the UFL whom you may very well see in the NFL at any given day.
Quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli and Chase Clement are two young players who are looking to learn and develop their game at a pro level in order to one day make the main stage.
John David Washington and Cory Ross share the same backfield for the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and are both exciting to watch on game day.
The list goes on and on—players that you may've seen in college, but haven't seen since.
The players who are dedicated and motivated are in the UFL still pursuing their dreams.
5. The UFL Has Great Quality Football
Ever watch a college game that isn't even competitive by halftime?
Or a game where Tom Brady is throwing for 500+ yards and embarrassing a defense without breaking a sweat?
They make great headlines and big numbers but aren't exactly great television for three hours.
Due to the dedication of the players in the UFL, the games are always close, and you can tell from the opening kickoff that this is great quality football.
These aren't your neighborhood friends acting like professionals, these are professionals playing football and trying to reach the next level.
The fact of the matter is, if you're a football fan and want to see a great game, then the UFL is what you want to tune into in the upcoming weeks.