What is the USFL? All you need to know about the league looking to rival the NFL

USFL Official Football (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
USFL Official Football (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

The USFL is back to providing entertainment to NFL fans in the offseason. When we say it is back, it is because it is returning after a 37-year hiatus following its dissolution in 1985. The reason for the cease of operations was a pyrrhic victory in which the then-nascent league of just three seasons took the NFL to court over a monopoly and won but won nothing in damages, resulting in them becoming insolvent. Now, though, they are back, and the USFL is trying to be the league that keeps football on all year on television.

USFL: Teams, format, and rules

Teams

There are eight teams scheduled to play in this league. Since the current USFL has taken over the old trademarks, some old-time fans may recognize some of the names. They are as follows:

North Division

Michigan Panthers

New Jersey Generals

Philadelphia Stars

Pittsburgh Maulers

South Division

Birmingham Stallions

Houston Gamblers

New Orleans Breakers

Tampa Bay Bandits

Format

Each division consists of 4 teams. Each team plays the other three teams in their division twice for a total of 6 games. They also play all four teams in the other division once for 10 games per team.

The top two teams in each division then contest a semi-final, with the winner of each semi-final going on to play the championship game. Games begin on April 16th and continue until mid-June, followed by the playoffs. The USFL championship game is scheduled for July 3rd, 2022.

The regular-season games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, at Protective Stadium and Legion Field. The playoffs will be held at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

Rules

A touchdown remains worth six points. There is the standard one-point conversion from the 15-yard line and two-point conversion from the two-yard line. There is an additional three-point conversion possible from the 10-yard line.

In addition to the onside kick, teams now have another method of retaining possession after scoring. They can choose to convert a 4th-and-12 situation on the 33rd-yard line, which, if accomplished, rewards the team with the possession.

All first downs will stop the clock during two-minute warnings at the end of each half, unlike what happens in the NFL.

Overtime goes to a shootout like in soccer, where each team has three attempts to convert from the opponent's two-yard line. If scores are still tied after that, it goes to sudden death.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht