USFL Announces Plans to Return, Lands Major TV Deal

The United States Football League (USFL) is making a comeback. On Thursday, the USFL announced that it will officially return in the spring of 2022. This comes nearly 40 years after the professional football league launched (1983), which consisted of 12 teams and featured some of the top young football stars in the country. When the USFL launches next year, there will be a minimum of eight teams with the league retaining rights to key original team names.

"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," Brian Woods, co-founder of the new USFL and founder and CEO of The Spring League (TSL), said in a press release. "We look forward to providing players a new opportunity to compete in a professional football league and giving fans everywhere the best football viewing product possible during what is typically a period devoid of professional football."

The USFL games will be seen on Fox Sports as it's the official broadcast partner of the football league. Fox Sports is also one of the minority owners of the USFL. "The relaunch of the USFL is a landmark day for football fans and FOX Sports," Eric Shanks, CEO and Executive Producer, FOX Sports, said in a news release. "Football is in our DNA and the return of this innovative and iconic league is a fantastic addition to our robust slate of football programming." Additional information, including cities, teams, head coaches and schedules, will be announced at a later time.

The original USFL played for three seasons, 1983 through 1985. The league was set to play in 1986 but ceased operations before the season was set to begin. At that time, the USFL was looking to play in the fall to compete with the NFL. The league filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, and the jury ruled in favor of the USFL, claiming the NFL had violated anti-monopoly laws. However, the victory in name only, and the USFL was awarded $1.

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The USFL featured some legendary football players such as Dough Flutie, Reggie White, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Steve Young and Gary Zimmerman. The Philadelphia Stars were the most successful team in the USFL, winning the league title in 1984 and 1985 (moved to Baltimore that season).