USFL (2020s)

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The United States Football League (USFL) was a spring professional football league which was launched in 2022 as a revival of the 1980s USFL. After its second season in 2023 it announced plans to merge with rival XFL, taking the field as the United Football League (UFL) for the 2024 season.

The USFL's name and trademarks were acquired from the defunct league, which featured the original Birmingham Stallions franchise owned by Marvin Warner. The new league was wholly owned by National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, headed by Brian Woods with the Fox Sports Media Group. Fox and Fox Sports served as the league's lead broadcast outlets, with additional games aired on NBC and the USA Network.

The USFL negotiated to play its entire 40-game inaugural season in Birmingham, primarily at Protective Stadium, between mid-April and mid-June. The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau voted on October 21 to contribute as much as $2 million to support the proposal. The City of Birmingham and Jefferson County Commission each agreed to allocate up to $500,000 toward the cost.

Under the agreement, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex did not charge the league for use of the stadium nor keep gate receipts, but did retain revenues from concessions and parking, as well as some advertising and premium seating sales. The league negotiated a separate agreement with the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board for the use of Legion Field for practices and for eight games. Due to a conflict with the 2022 World Games, the league scheduled its 3-game playoff at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio on June 25 and July 3.

The USFL's eight charter teams were announced in November, including the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Pittsburgh Maulers and Pennsylvania Stars in a northern division, and the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits in a southern division.

During the season, the USFL's 360 players voted to be represented by the United Football Players Association, a labor union affiliated with the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based United Steelworkers.

In June 2022 the league announced that it would keep its headquarters offices in Birmingham for the 2023 season, but that the league's eight teams would expand play at four "hub cities". In early 2023 it was announced that the Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers would call Protective Stadium home. The Memphis Showboats and Houston Gamblers were sent to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The Pittsburgh Maulers and New Jersey Generals practiced and hosted games at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio; and the Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars made Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan their home. Canton was also announced as the site of a North Division playoff game, and as the host of the 2nd USFL championship game.

Additional USFL teams had been expected to be announced for the 2024 season, with each team playing its home games in its own city. In September 2023 the USFL and rival XFL announced their intent to merge. XFL officials registered trade mark protections for the terms "United Football League" and "UFL".

In December 2023 it was announced that New Jersey, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would lose their franchises in the new league, leaving the Stallions, Panthers, Gamblers and Showboats as the only 4 USFL teams to join the new league. They were assigned to the UFLs "USFL Conference". Arlington, Texas was chosen as a "hub city" for the new league, with players and staff holding practices there and traveling to their home stadiums for home games.


  • Johnson, Roy S. (October 18, 2021) "USFL, BJCC reach tentative MOA to bring relaunch season to Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Johnson, Roy S. (October 21, 2021) "Convention bureau commits up to $2 million to support USFL ‘bubble’ in Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Johnson, Roy S. (October 28, 2021) "USFL, BJCC ready to ‘finalize’ agreement to host inaugural season in Birmingham in spring 2022." The Birmingham News
  • Franklin, Austin (November 22, 2021) "Birmingham Stallions revealed as part of USFL relaunch."
  • Patchen, Tyler (January 12, 2022) "USFL receives funds, use of Legion Field from Birmingham City Council." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Johnson, Roy S. (January 22, 2022) "How the USFL came to Birmingham, and almost didn’t" The Birmingham News
  • Johnson, Roy S. (February 16, 2022) "USFL playoff, title games will not be played in Birmingham due to scheduling conflict." The Birmingham News
  • Hronec, Jordan (June 8, 2022) "United Steelworkers, USFL players file petition for representation election." Pittsburgh Business Times
  • Ourand, John (June 27, 2022) "USFL back for second season, says Fox's Shanks." Sports Business Journal
  • Woods, Ashlee (June 30, 2022) "A welcoming environment: USFL players call Birmingham home for regular season." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Johnson, Roy S. (October 12, 2022) "USFL Effect: Did $3 million from city, county, CVB pay off? Will league return to Birmingham?" The Birmingham News
  • Inabinett, Mark (January 25, 2023) "USFL announces a third hub city for its 2023 season."
  • Johnson, Roy S. (September 28, 2023) "XFL, USFL confirm ‘intent to merge’."
  • Moyle, Nick (October 18, 2023) "XFL files trademark applications for 'United Football League' and 'UFL'." San Antonio Express-News
  • Watson, Nathan (December 19, 2023) "Birmingham Stallions one of four USFL teams to survive merge with XFL." Bham Now

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