By Ron Johnson
As we prepare to wrap up the 2023-24 NFL Season, Spring Football will be right around the corner. After the insanity of last season involving both the USFL and XFL, we get some amazing news from the minds behind the success of the latest installment of the XFL, Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson.
After some careful negotiating, and some tough sledding, the USFL and XFL have merged to become one Spring Entity invested in helping the many Player 54s (The one left off the NFL Roster) get one more chance at greatness in the National Football League. As announced on Sunday during the Fox NFL Pregame Show, the United Football League is officially born and will consist of eight teams to start (four from the XFL, three from the USFL and one combined).
During the New Year’s Edition of College Gameday from The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, Garcia and Johnson joined the Gameday Crew to announce the eight locations that will get the opportunity to join this debut endeavor. They are followed below, as well as their original affiliation/new conferences and who will be the coach of the respective franchises.
- Birmingham Stallions (USFL): Skip Holtz
- Arlington Renegades (XFL): Bob Stoops
- Houston Roughnecks (USFL as Gamblers & XFL, now fully USFL): Curtis Johnson
- D.C. Defenders (XFL): Reggie Barlow
- Memphis Showboats (USFL): John DeFilippo
- Michigan Panthers (USFL): Mike Nolan
- San Antonio Brahmas (XFL): Wade Phillips
- St. Louis Battlehawks (XFL): Anthony Becht
Now while everyone, myself included, is asking questions about the teams not on this list (including the Seattle Sea Dragons), we are still excited to be a part of this journey into the unknown. Houston was considered an overlapping market between both leagues and possesses one of the strongest markets, which is why the Houston Gamblers of the USFL are now being rebranded as the Houston Roughnecks.
Following what may turn out to be a very entertaining Super Bowl in Vegas, the UFL will take center stage as players will report to training camp on February 24, 2024 in Arlington, Texas, which has become the hub for all football operations with the XFL. It will still be a 10-game regular season, and if it is anything like last year, there will be a lot of eyes on seeing how this works. The league will be divided into two conferences, the USFL and the XFL Conferences respectively, and even though they will be known as the Roughnecks, the Houston team will join their brothers in the USFL Conference.
The USFL Conference will be Birmingham, Houston, Memphis and Michigan, while the XFL Conference will be Arlington, D.C., San Antonio and St. Louis. Again, a bunch of us on the West Coast will be discussing in length why Seattle was not given the nod this time around, but I’m going to guess that the partnership wants to see if this merger will be as successful as last season’s. If that indeed is the case, and the success finds itself, I would not be surprised to see the Seattle franchise, as well as a couple of California ones, make an appearance in the upcoming seasons.
The season kicks off on Saturday March 30 with a true Clash of the Champions as the USFL Champion Birmingham Stallions will do battle with the XFL Champion Arlington Renegades. Schedule will most likely be released in the upcoming weeks along with the confirmation of IF the Inaugural UFL Championship Game (which will possibly be named the United Bowl) will be played in St. Louis or not. Stay tuned to Bleacher Brothers for all the late breaking news on all things United Football League.
And as always, LET’S BALL OUT!