Thursday, February 3, 2022

USFL memories

As we close in on the end of the 2021 NFL season, with Super Bowl 56 scheduled for February 13th, I'm taking a moment to mention that another pro football league is starting up in April. The USFL kicks off on April 16th, with a game that will be simulcast on Fox and NBC.

The Saturday night, primetime game between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions will be played at Protective Stadium in Birmingham starting at 7:30pm ET. NBC Sports will produce pregame, halftime and postgame shows; Fox Sports will handle the game coverage. The same commercials will run across both networks. Fox and NBC each have multiyear deals with the USFL, with NBC carrying 22 games this year (nine on NBC, nine on USA, four on Peacock) and Fox also carrying 22 (14 on Fox, eight on FS1).

This isn't the same USFL that operated in the 1980s, although the logo is very similar and many of the team names are the same. This USFL is playing all of its games in Birmingham, AL with some games at Protective Stadium and some games at Legion Field. Well, at least during the 2022 season.

I am interested in the new league. However, I wonder how much it is because of the original USFL. I was very interested in that league, and there's a story behind that. I did attend some USFL games in Jacksonville, after the Bulls joined the league. One game I attended featured two Heisman Trophy winners. The New Jersey Generals, with Herschel Walker in the backfield, beat the Bulls, with Mike Rozier at running back, when Bulls kicker Danny Miller's 41-yard field goal was called no good.

The field goal attempt looked good to me. It looked good to the other 73,226 people there. It looked good to the ABC announcers on TV. It even looked good to the official under the left upright. But it looked wide to the official under the right upright, and it was his call to make. So, since there was no instant replay under the rules, the Bulls lost the game.

Can you tell it meant something to me? It did. I enjoyed watching Herschel Walker play, after having seen him play at Georgia in college. Of course, he was on the visiting team, and I was cheering for the home team. Still, I enjoyed watching the Bulls play. I was disappointed when the USFL ceased operations.

This new league simply has a lot of the same names, nothing more. But, I'll give it a shot. I can watch Fox and NBC with an antenna, FS1 and USA with Sling TV Blue, and Peacock because I have a subscription (actually, it's included with Xfinity Internet service). If I like what I see, it may be a part of my Streaming Life for three months this spring and summer.

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