Wednesday, November 24, 2021

USFL 2.0 announces teams

Following up on this item... The new USFL has announced its teams, one of which will be familiar to Houstonians:

The new United States Football League is launching in April and the Houston Gamblers - the same name as the city's original USFL entry in 1984 and 1985 - are one of eight teams in the startup league.

Judging by the team's Twitter account, the Gamblers will utilize the same red-and-black color scheme and logo used by the original Gamblers.

The new USFL, which is owned by FOX Sports, will play its 10-game schedule in one location with teams expected to play in their own markets in future seasons.

The league's teams all have the same names from the original USFL, which lasted three seasons. Besides the Gamblers, the teams are: Birmingham Stallions, New Orleans Breakers, Tampa Bay Bandits, Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars and Pittsburgh Maulers.

Some quick observations:

  • They've tweaked some of the original logos, but not Houston's, because the Gamblers logo was a brilliant design to begin with. Almost 40 years later and anybody in this city can still easily recognize it. 
  • They've bringing back teams and locations from the original USFL as it existed in 1984. By the 1985 season, the Stars had moved from Philly to Baltimore, the Breakers had moved from New Orleans to Portland, and the Panthers had merged with the Oakland Invaders. (This was all done in preparation for the 1986 fall season that never happened.) 1984 was also the inaugural year for both the Gamblers and Maulers.
  • With the exception of Birmingham (which is where all the games are expected to be played in 2022), all of the teams they've resurrected are in existing NFL markets in the Eastern and Central time zones. They're not resurrecting any West Coast teams (i.e. Arizona Outlaws, LA Express, Oakland Invaders, Denver Gold). This suggests that 1) they want to focus on generating viewership in established pro football media markets, and 2) FOX plans early kickoffs that won't get a lot of viewership out west. 

I'm not expecting too much from this league, since it's basically just a rebranding of The Spring League (that didn't even pay its players last year). But it will give me a football team to watch and root for this spring.

Things will really get interesting if this league makes it to 2023 and the XFL reboots in 2023. Could the Gamblers and Roughnecks co-exist in a local spring football market?

The new USFL will begin play in April 2022. 

CBS Sports has some thoughts about the teams and logos.

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