United Football League Season Preview

United Football League Season Preview

The United Football League season is set to kick off on March 30, ushering in a new era of professional spring football. We have seen many iterations over the last half decade. The AAF, UFL, USFL, and XFL all tried to get off the ground at some point.  This time around, Fox and the former investors of the third reprise of the XFL have come together to form the UFL.

Here are the basics: there are eight teams, and they will compete in a 10-week season. They merged four teams from the XFL and four teams from the USFL that will now compete against each other. What this does is take all the top talent from both leagues and merge them, which hopefully provides us football fans with far better production on the field, something that felt like it was lacking in these other leagues. Here are the eight teams with their stadiums and head coaches:

USFL Conference

Arlington Renegades (Choctaw Stadium, Bob Stoops)
D.C. Defenders (Audi Field, Reggie Barlow)
San Antonio Brahmas (The Alamodome, Wade Phillips)
St. Louis Battlehawks (The Dome at America’s Center, Anthony Becht)

XFL Conference

Birmingham Stallions (Protective Stadium, Skip Holtz)
Houston Roughnecks (Rice Stadium, Curtis Johnson)
Memphis Showboats (Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, John DeFilippo)
Michigan Panthers (Ford Field, Mike Nolan)

Players to Watch:

There will definitely be players that you’ll recognize on some of these rosters. What’s fun about this league is that you could even pick your favorite team based on players you enjoyed watching in college or from short stints in the NFL.

A.J. McCarron is the quarterback for the Battlehawks. You’ll of course know him from his many years at Alabama and the national championships he won under Nick Saban. Matt Corral is a name to look out for, the former Ole Miss QB never got much of a chance with the Panthers in the NFL and could revive those hopes with a strong showing this season.

Other skill players to watch are Abram Smith who led the XFL a season ago in rushing and was a standout at Baylor. Wide receiver Amari Rodgers is one of the best receivers in the league. He was becoming a go-to target in Green Bay for the other Rodgers but trickled around after his time with the Packers. Cody Lattimer is another fun NFL name who was a pretty decent wide receiver in the league but has now transitioned to tight end.

Different Rules

The NFL just adopted the kickoff rule that will be used in the UFL, so it’ll be good to watch and learn. The rule is as follows: Instead of having players run at each other from 30 yards deep like a traditional kickoff, there’s a kickoff start line and set up zone where the front lines for each team line up, separated by 10 yards. This has resulted in fewer injuries, and more fun kickoffs.

Prediction to Win:

I am going with the DC Defenders who have the second-best odds to win the league. Between Smith and a couple other of former NFL vets who have legit experience, they have the pieces to make a title run this year.