USFL Season Preview


Ethan Grant, General Assignment Reporter

The United States Football League (USFL) will kick off its inaugural season this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama. This new league means the long wait for football is over and gives many things for football fans to get excited about.

The USFL may sound familiar from years past; after all, this season will not be the first time the USFL has graced our television screens. The league originated in the 1980s, hosting three seasons in the spring before transitioning to the fall. Because the USFL changed its scheduling, it began to directly compete with the NFL. The conflict between the two leagues caused a drop in USFL ratings and led to much more significant financial issues for the league – ultimately leading to the league’s demise before the 1986 season. 

With the USFL now making its return, thus bringing back spring football, excitement has been through the roof at the prospect of more football, especially since eight of the league’s former teams have been reinstated for this season. All USFL teams will play their regular-season games in Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, for the entirety of the league’s first season. The eight teams are split into two divisions:


  • North
    • Michigan Panthers
    • Pittsburgh Maulers
    • Philadelphia Stars
    • New Jersey Generals
  • South
    • New Orleans Breakers
    • Tampa Bay Bandits
    • Houston Gamblers
    • Birmingham Stallions

Here is where each team stands with its current roster:


Michigan Panthers

    Head Coach: Jeff Fischer (formerly head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, 1994-2010 and St Louis/Los Angeles Rams, 2012-2016)

    Overview: The Michigan Panthers made a splash at the USFL draft after selecting Shea Patterson, the former quarterback of the Michigan Wolverines, with the first overall pick in the 2022 USFL draft. With the team’s remaining picks, the Panthers selected players such as running back Stevie Scott III and wide receiver Jeff Badet. These two players will likely bolster the offense and showcase the Panthers’ offensive potential. Even if the Panthers lack some depth, the future of professional football in Michigan appears to be bright. While the Panthers have some well-known players, including linebacker Terry Myrick, most of the defense leaves much to be desired on their resumes. On special teams, the Panthers have yet to sign a kicker. Even with these hurdles on the depth chart, there is a good chance that the Panthers will do well this season as Jeff Fischer and his offense will pose a significant challenge to opposing defenses.

    Needs: K, WR, LB 


Pittsburgh Maulers

    Head Coach: Kirby Wilson (formerly running back coach of Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007-14 and Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, 2019-2021)

    Overview: After a successful series of picks in the draft, the Maulers are set for a good run this year. They have decent depth on offense but the receiving corps could still use a boost. The defense is also in good standing with some familiar names like linebackers Blair Brown and Kyahva Tezino as the unit’s leaders. The Maulers have an exciting balance of what looks to be quality play on both sides of the ball and are poised to lead the North Division.

    Needs: WR, TE, DE


Philadelphia Stars

    Head Coach: Bart Andrus (formerly head coach of Amsterdam Admirals, 2001-2007)

    Overview: Philadelphia used their draft picks wisely and arguably has the best defense in the USFL as a result. With players such as cornerback Channing Stribling and defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun leading the defense, the Stars have a good chance to lock down opposing offenses. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the team’s stellar defense is balanced out by its lack of offense. Quarterback Bryan Scott is a wild card and the receiving corps may have to step up and dominate for the team to see on-field success. 

    Needs: QB, OL, P


New Jersey Generals

    Head Coach: Mike Riley (formerly head coach of Oregon State, 1997-1998, 2003-2014)

    Overview: The Generals are considered by many to be the ‘underdogs’ in the USFL this season. While the title may not hold much water (seeing as most of the league has little to no pro football experience), there is a severe lack of depth on the O-line, leading to increased issues for the offense. The O-line needs to be addressed sooner rather than later but every other position group has serious potential. With Luis Perez under center and Mike Weber in the backfield, the offense is set to be a solid contender. The defense also has some issues that need to be addressed, particularly the need for edge rushers and defensive backs.

    Needs: OL, DE, CB


New Orleans Breakers

    Head Coach: Larry Fedora (formerly head coach of the University of Southern Mississippi, 2008-2011 and the University of North Carolina, 2012-2018)

    Overview: New Orleans had a tremendous offensive draft this year. With players such as running back Larry Rose III and wide receiver Taywan Taylor in the mix, the offense will perform well this season. The defense, on the other hand, requires some attention. While some impressive names such as defensive end Davin Bellamy and cornerback Adonis Alexander lead the defense, many players still have room to improve.

    Needs: OLB, S, CB


Tampa Bay Bandits

    Head Coach: Todd Haley (formerly head coach of Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2011 and offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2012-2017)

    Overview: Tampa Bay is the opening favorite to be the champion of the USFL’s inaugural season. With a solid draft including selections like quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, wide receiver Jordan Lasley and offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty leading (on paper) the best offense in the league, the Bandits are in an excellent position. But that’s not all – the defense also has serious potential. The defensive line is solid but where Tampa Bay shines is the secondary. Former second-round NFL draft pick safety Obi Melifonwu joins cornerbacks Davante Davis and Christian Cambell. Having been an offensive coordinator for most of his career, Coach Haley is in a position to take the offense to the next level.

    Needs: OLB, P, TE


Houston Gamblers

    Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (formerly head coach of Texas A&M, 2012-2017 and Arizona Wildcats, 2018-2020)

    Overview: This year, Houston took a ‘gamble’ with its draft selections. Though there are some excellent players on both sides of the ball, the Gamblers’ depth leaves much to be desired. The main advantage that the Gamblers have is the receiving corps – which will be led by JoJo Ward and Isaiah Zuber. The defense has some talent but more depth in the secondary would boost the Gamblers’ chances of competing with the league’s more explosive offenses.

    Needs: TE, OL, S


Birmingham Stallions

    Head Coach: Skip Holtz (formerly head coach of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 2013-2021)

    Overview: Another team with an excellent draft, the Stallions, have had a good start thus far. With a solid quarterback and receiving corps, the offensive line is the only genuine concern to start with, and even then, it’s still solid. The defense is just as good, led by defensive lineman Seth Thomas who is coupled with Lorenzo Burns and Brian Allen in the secondary. This squad is set to give opposing offenses a difficult time.

    Needs: DT, OL, S, TE

The season is currently scheduled to run for ten weeks, with the top two teams from each division facing off in a four-team playoff. The victor of these games will then face off in the championship game. All postseason games will be held at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio – a notable change in scenery from the USFL’s regular-season games.

The official schedule for the 2022 season has been announced, with TV broadcast times being released through week three. The schedule is as follows: