USFL set to return in 2022


Written by B. Keith Crear | SFL Photo-Journalist

In the early to mid-1980s, the United States Football League was the most popular spring football league. 40 years later, the USFL is planning a major comeback. 

Re-emergence of the USFL was announced Thursday, with a spring 2022 return date. In its first season, the league plans to have eight teams and retain rights to key original team names, like the New Jersey Generals and Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars. Los Angeles Express and Memphis Showboats. 

At a later date, more details about the USFL, including the cities, teams, head coaches, and game schedules, will be announced. Fox Sports will serve as the broadcast partner for the league. 

Originally, the USFL ran from 1983 to 1985. Hershel Walker, Reggie White, and others were launched to fame due to the league's competitive salaries, which far outpaced those of the NFL at that time.  A lack of a hard salary cap led to unsustainable payrolls that contributed to the destruction of the league. There were 12 teams in the league, and a territorial draft was used to pack the rosters with familiar local college stars to attract fans. 

In 1986, the USFL closed its doors after voting to move from a spring to fall schedule in an effort to compete with the NFL. In an antitrust suit against the NFL, the USFL won just $1 but was forced to close after the NFL violated antitrust laws. 

This new version of the USFL will be interesting to watch as it will compete with the rebranded XFL, which is also set to begin play in 2022. 

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