USFL 2022: Full Schedule, Championship Odds, Notable Players on Rosters
The United States Football League (USFL) is back, and while this isn't the original USFL fans may fondly remember from the 1980s, it does represent a return to traditional spring football.
This version of the USFL is being supported by the National Football League. NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson traveled to Birmingham to conduct an officiating clinic for USFL officials. NFL Films is partnering with the USFL and Fox Sports on a documentary project covering the league's inaugural season.
The goal, it seems, is to position the USFL as a developmental league for future NFL talent—something the NFL hasn't truly had since the NFL Europe days.
"Certain players, depending on their college, need more time to develop," agent Kenny Zuckerman said, per The Athletic's Daniel Kaplan. "We love these kinds of leagues, and it just gives guys the ability to play more football and get more film, which gives some [a] better chance to get the golden ticket and play in the NFL."
Heading into opening weekend, though, fans may care less about the USFL's future and more about what they can expect on the playing field. Well, we're here to examine exactly that.
The New USFL, Season 1
The new version of the USFL has the potential to be big. While all games in the inaugural season will be played in Birmingham—negating local fanbases and home-crowd advantages—fans won't have to travel to get in on the action.
Games in the 2022 season will be broadcast on Fox, NBC, FS1 and USA, with select games streaming on Peacock. While the USFL will face competition from Fan Controlled Football—entering its second season—its placement in the spring will help sate football fans who dread the NFL offseason.
"There's an insatiable appetite for it," former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum said, per Kaplan. "So I think there's a real shot. You know, the demand is there. The supply is there. So I think the fundamentals of any economics are there, and how it's done and how it's executed."
The new USFL owns trademarks from the 1980s league and has named its eight teams after original USFL franchises. They are the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, Michigan Panthers, New Orleans Breakers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and Tampa Bay Bandits.
The USFL will feature former NFL players and coaches, and we'll get into some of those shortly. The championship odds, according to FanDuel, are as follows:
Michigan Panthers 9-2
Tampa Bay Bandits 9-2
New Orleans Breakers 11-2
Philadelphia Stars 6-1
Pittsburgh Maulers 6-1
Houston Gamblers 7-1
New Jersey Generals 7-1
Birmingham Stallions 7-1
Notable Players and Coaches
The USFL has taken a good first step toward becoming a developmental league for the NFL. Several former NFL coaches will helm USFL squads, including longtime NFL head coach Jeff Fisher.
Fisher will serve as head coach of the Panthers. The Bandits will be coached by former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. Kirby Wilson, who was the Las Vegas Raiders running backs coach in 2020, will serve as head coach of the Maulers.
The full list of coaches can be found at the USFL's official website.
NFL and college football fans should see a few familiar faces on the field, too. Perhaps the most notable name is Paxton Lynch, a 2016 first-round pick of the Denver Broncos who will quarterback the Panthers this season.
Former Mississippi and Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson is also with the Panthers. He spent time on the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad after being signed as an undrafted free agent that same year.
Kyle Lauletta will quarterback the Maulers after spending the 2021 season with the Cleveland Browns. The Richmond product also played for the New York Giants in 2018. Jordan Ta'amu will be the signal-caller of the Bandits. After a solid career at Mississippi, Ta'amu spent time on the practice squads of the Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers and Washington Commanders. He also quarterbacked the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL.
Offensive tackle Isaiah Battle was a fifth-round supplemental draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 2015, while linebacker Scooby Wright III appeared in 13 games for the Arizona Cardinals between 2016 and 2017.
A full recap of the USFL draft can be found here.
USFL 2022 Schedule
Here's a look at the opening-week schedule for the USFL and a quick preview of the 2022 season schedule.
USFL Week 1
Saturday, April 16
7:30 p.m. ET: Generals vs. Stallions - Fox, NBC
Sunday, April 17
12 p.m. ET: Gamblers vs. Panthers - NBC, Peacock
4 p.m. ET: Stars vs. Breakers - USA
8 p.m. ET: Bandits vs. Maulers - FS1
USFL Season Schedule
Week 1 - April 16 & 17
Week 2 - April 22, 23 & 24
Week 3 - April 30 & May 1
Week 4 - TBD
Week 5 - TBD
Week 7 - TBD
Week 8 - TBD
Week 9 - TBD
Week 10 - TBD
Full schedule and matchups can be found at the USFL's official website.
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