After 35 years, the United States Football League made the announcement that the league would return to action in 2022. The USFL was originally launched in 1983 before quickly sputtering out after the 1985 season. The league will join leagues like XFL and AAF as they try to become a seasoned league in the NFL’s spring/summer offseason.
The new league intends to feature a minimum of 8 teams. And it will retain rights to all team names and logos from the original USFL.
“I’m extremely passionate about football and the opportunity to work with FOX Sports and to bring back the USFL in 2022 was an endeavor worth pursuing,” co-founder of the new USFL/CEO of The Spring League (TSL) Brian Woods said. “We look forward to providing players a new opportunity to compete in a professional football league. Giving fans everywhere the best football viewing product possible during what is typically a period devoid of professional football.”
The USFL is back! The action begins in the spring of 2022 on FOX Sports.
— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) June 3, 2021
History of the USFL
The ideas behind the USFL were conceived in 1965 by New Orleans businessman David Dixon, who saw a market for a professional football league that would play in the summer when the National Football League and college football were in their off-season.
The idea came into fruition in 1983 and ran through for 3 seasons. The league initially featured 12 teams, which eventually expanded to 18 teams in 1984, and reduced to 14 the following season.
The League did see a variety of talents join the USFL in its initiation. They made a big initial splash when the New Jersey Generals signed Heisman Trophy running back Herschel Walker from Georgia. Walker was the league’s biggest star, and he rushed for 1,812 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1983.
Even apart from Walker, the USFL also saw Hall of Famers like Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young, and Gary Zimmerman started in the USFL. George Allen, Bill Polian, Sid Gillman, and Marv Levy also were involved in the league.
In 1985, the USFL had the top two highest paid players in pro football. pic.twitter.com/xOYTAUbHLv
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 3, 2021
Despite claims that this was a reactivation of the old league, no figures from the original league are involved in the new league. It is instead being backed by the principles of the extant developmental showcase The Spring League, Brian Woods, and Fox Sports.