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New league to bring football into spring season

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The UFL is a spring football league that is the result of two different leagues coming together, the USFL and the XFL. The first game is on March 30, 2024.

With the end of the 2023-24 NFL season football fans everywhere are looking for the next best thing, and for years all you could do was wait for the next season.

But not anymore. With the announcement of the United Football League, football fans now have something to watch in the spring. 

The UFL is a combination of two leagues that were competing for the title of spring football, but this year the USFL and XFL have decided to merge and make one league. 

The UFL has eight teams split into two conferences. The two conferences are named after the old leagues that the team came from, similar to the AFL-NFL merger. 

The USFL conference consists of the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks, Memphis Showboats, and Michigan Panthers. Of these teams, the best are easily the Birmingham Stallions because they won the 2023 USFL championship and had a regular season record of 8-2. 

The worst USFL conference team are the Michigan Panthers, who finished 4-6 in the regular season, only making the playoffs due to the atrocity that was the north division of the USFL last year.

The XFL conference has the Arlington Renegades, D.C. Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, and the St. Louis Battlehawks

Two of these teams, the Renegades and the Defenders, played in the XFL championship last year, being the Renegades and the Defenders. The winner of that game was the Renegades, and this championship has the ability to create one of the first rivalries in this young league due to the history of the championship.

The worst team in the XFL conference are the San Antonio Brahmas, finishing their last season 3-7 and in sixth place out of eight.

Sadly, eight teams were cut from the leagues when making the UFL, the most prominent being the Pittsburgh Maulers because they lost in the USFL championship to the Stallions, 20-12. A team cut from the XFL were the Houston Roughnecks who finished second in the league and first in the south division, with a record of 7-3.

Another thing with the creation of a new league is the addition of new rules. The biggest change is the almost elimination of kicking in the UFL. One of the ways they are doing this is by taking away the opportunity to get a one point field goal after a touchdown. Instead, they have opted to have three different conversions. A one-point conversion from the two yard line, a two-point conversion from five yards out, and the behemoth three-point conversion from the ten.

Another way that the UFL is eliminating kicks is by letting the kicking team take a fourth and 12 from their own 28. This is only allowed when the kicking team is losing or tied in the fourth quarter, presumably to inspire more fourth quarter comebacks. 

The overtime rules for the UFL are almost like a shoot-out in hockey or penalty kicks in soccer. Both teams have three alternating attempts to score from the five yard line in one play. These were first seen in the XFL and met with mixed reviews from fans.

Each team only plays ten games, split into ten weeks like in all other football leagues. One big difference is the lack of bye weeks, a practice seen in the NFL and in college football. With this, there are four games every week, with two on Saturday and two on Sunday. They are able to do this because college football and the NFL don’t start until after the UFL has completed their season. So, there are no TV scheduling conflicts.

Speaking of TV networks, the UFL will be broadcasted on ESPN, Fox and ABC. This makes the games a lot more accessible than the NFL has been with their Peacock, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video deals. 

The accessibility of these games could lead to the UFL becoming incredibly popular. They already have a large following across multiple platforms, and football fans that have always thought of the spring as a dead period for football. 

Another way that the UFL will be more accessible than their predecessor leagues is the use of home stadiums. Until this year, they would pick a stadium as a host site, automatically losing people who would have to travel long distances for teams they don’t really care about. Now, people who live near their home team can easily go to a game.

The first UFL game will be played Saturday, Mar. 30 at 1:00 p.m. in Choctaw Stadium, home of the Arlington Renegades, who will face off against the Birmingham Stallions.

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Lucas Prestipino
Lucas Prestipino, Copy Editor
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