Hey kids, remember a couple years back when the XFL had their inaugural season derailed by the pandemic (allegedly) and then the whole league disappeared like a fart in the wind?
Well, we here at Fancy Boys Club HQ feel as if by writing about the XFL, were an integral part of the league taking a swan dive right into an empty swimming pool. Now we are out to do it again.
Welcome to the USFL Report.
The USFL? Now hold on just a second there fella, wasn’t that the league that Donald Trump was a part of and didn’t it, like a vast majority of his enterprises, go into the crapper? And was it about 40 years ago, too? Yep. They had three seasons from 1983-1985. For the 1986 season “they” planned on moving the league from the summer to compete directly with the NFL. None of us are privy to any audio of their board of directors meeting before the 1986 season, but I think the conversation probably went like this:
Owner A: Let’s not play in the summer anymore. Too hot.
Owner B: Spring?
Owner A: No, fall.
Owner C: So you want to compete directly with the NFL?
Owner A: Yes.
Owner B: I’m out.
Owner C: Out.
Owner D: Out.
Owners E, F, G and H in a tenor-style chorus: OUT!
And BTW, Owner A was New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump.
Right after this alleged meeting of which we have no audio, the USFL folded faster than a Japanese kid doing origami.
Now, the USFL is back baby with a new range of fat cats ready to bankroll the new USFL and probably take the tax write-off they have been dreaming about. Not only has the USFL has a Phoenix-like rise (without fighting for water rights just to create a city way too large to exist in a desert), but they have also taken the original names of the franchises.
There are eight teams in two divisions: The New Jersey Generals, Birmingham Stallions; Houston Gamblers; Michigan Panthers; Philadelphia Stars; New Orleans Breakers; Tampa Bay Bandits; and the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Before we get to the team evaluation portion, let’s look at some of the unique rules the USFL will be playing under.
After your team scores a touchdown, you have 3 options, Option A is to kick the extra point from the 15-yard line and be happy with 7 points. Option B is to go for 2 from the via a play from scrimmage from the 2-yard line. Option C is to go for 3 extra points via a play from scrimmage from the 10-yard line. Imagine all that excitement just for extra points! No seriously, imagine it and do it now. It won’t be that exciting.
But what about the ensuing kickoff? Is there any excitement about that? Whoa nelly there is! You can just kick the damn ball down the field OR – hold onto your jockstraps – the team that just scored can opt for an onside kickoff attempt from the 25 yard-line. Now onside kicks in the NFL have been successful about 20% of the time… until last year when it dropped to 4%. As such, this part we do not think will be that exciting at all. Option B (or C if you count a traditional kick-off as an option) is to go for a 4th and 12 play from their own 33-yard line.
Now you may think “for the love of pigskins, how in the hell will that be a good option?” Risk-wise it’s probably better than the stupid onside kick. Why you ask? Because of another rule the USFL has adopted – the two forward passes. A team can throw two forward passes on one play if said team is behind the line of scrimmage. This may make for some really cool trick plays… or may cause a lot of pick 6’s. Either way, we approve of two forward passes!
Are there other rule changes? Why yes there is. Overtime. Now granted the NFL rules for overtime are what one would call dumb. If the first team scores a TD the game is over and the other team never gets a change to caress the pumpkin whatsoever. That is really dumb and the NFL has altered it for the 2022 season… just for the playoffs. Both teams will get a chance to get the ball and if both score a TD or a field goal? Then we go to sudden death.
Why did we just go through the NFL rules? Because the USFL rules are even dumber. Each team gets the ball at their opponent’s 2-yard line. Each team gets three chances to score from that spot. Each successful score nets 2 points. So, conceivably each team can get a total of 6 points per OT ‘session’ as each team does get the ball. As such, a league that is going to pitch itself for more exciting plays and a lot of scoring is going to subject their respective teams to two yards and a cloud of dust three times in a row to decide who’s the winner? And if they do tie, then they go to sudden death – One. Play. At. A. Time. We can just see it now – run a single play from the 2. Score. Now the teams all must go to the other side of the field. Commercial break. Run another play from the 2. Score. Commercial break. And so on and so on and so on. That sounds SO EXCITING (CAPS used to denote sarcasm).
On to the teams! WHEE (see above note re CAPS). In alphabetical order, here we go.
The Stallions head coach is none other than Skip Holtz of the Holtz head coaching tree that includes his father Lou and … well his father Lou. Skip’s coaching career has been, to be kind, spotty. But he did lead Louisiana Tech to a 10-3 record and won the Independence Bowl in 2019… then went 3-9 with them last year. The Stallions QB will be from their first-round draft pick Alex McGough from the QB-powerhouse school Florida International.
On a warm summer’s evening, on a train bound for nowhere, some dudes got together, and created this league. You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money, when sitting at the table, this team has a former assistant Oklahoma coach as its head coach, which means they’re done.
The Michigan Panthers head coach is Jeff Fisher. That should say enough about this team as Fisher, who had a fast start as an NFL head coach, turned into a dumpster fire at the end of his NFL coaching career. The Panthers pandered to the locals by drafting Michigan Wolverine QB Shea Patterson as their #1 draft choice… then inexplicably drafted former NFL QB Paxton “glass body” Lynch as their final draft choice.
New Jersey Generals
There is good news here – the Generals owner is not Donald Trump. Their coach is Mike Riley, who is known in San Diego Charger lore as one of the worst head coaches they have ever had. He did achieve some success as head coach of Oregon State. In 2008, they had a chance to become Pac-10 champs and go to the Rose Bowl, but they lost their final game to rival Oregon 65-38. Yes, that score is correct. The Generals have a D’Jaun, a Dejuan, a Dravon, a Deyon, a DeVante, a Darrius, a Darius, and a Destiny. Bound for USFL glory.
New Orleans Breakers
The aptly-named Breakers (New Orleans is basically in a hole surrounded by water) have Larry “no comments about headwear” Fedora. Fedora put his thinking cap on and had some moderate success as the head coach of North Carolina, turning it around to respectability. However, he went rogue a tad after the kickoff rules were changed, declaring he “fears that the game will get pushed so far to one extreme that you won’t recognize it 10 years from now. And I do believe that if it gets to that point, our country goes down too.” Whoo boy.
The Philadelphia Stars are probably overrated just on the basis of their name. Seems a bit egotistic to come out of the gate as the Stars if you ask me. Their head coach is Bart Andrus. Mr. Andrus is known to be the head coach of many college and European and Canadian football teams, including the Rhein Fire, Toronto Argonauts and the Feather River College Golden Eagles. Their QB is Case “The Cannibal” Cookus. I’m pretty sure that is not his true nickname, but given his last name, it probably should be.
The Maulers seems to have quite the violent name and thankfully have some speed on their team so they won’t be known as the Mauler Walkers. Their head coach is Kirby Wilson. Kirby Wilson has pedigree as the man has spent a lot of time in the NFL, mostly on the offensive side of the ball, so he actually may turn out to be a good head coach. One of the Maulers is Boogie Roberts. Any team that has a Boogie on their team is automatically going to be, in my mind anyway, good.
Tampa Bay Bandits
The Tampa Bay Bandits is a team considered one of the favorites to reach the USFL Championship game. Not sure why because their head coach is Todd Haley. If you as a football fan are thinking you have heard this name before, you have. He’s been around a lot mostly as an offensive coordinator, but did get his opportunity to be a head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-2011. He’s known for getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty his final game as head coach, allowing the Jets to score a TD and putting the game out of reach. His last coaching stint was the Offensive Coordinator of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida. Go Rams.
Well that’s it for the USFL Report. We shall see Easter weekend what sort of gridiron entertainment the league will provide. Oh, and one more thing – they already have competition. The XFL is planning a comeback for 2023. LOL.