Donald De La Haye (19) kicks the ball during the UFL game between the San Antonio Brahmas and Memphis Showboats in Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Syndication: USA TODAY

There’s a graveyard full of the many professional spring football leagues that have attempted to make a go of it and failed.

Professional sports handicapper Steve Fezzik thinks the UFL, currently in its first season, will join the XFL, USFL, WLAF, AAF, and the original UFL there very soon.

Fezzik was a guest on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast this week and made no bones about his prediction that this new spring league, born out of a merger between the latest iterations of the XFL and USFL, won’t last very long.

“The league is going to fail. I say that emphatically and I have the reason, Ross,” said Fezzik. “We all watch football, we’re creatures of habit. So we watch football all year long and then the Super Bowl comes along. And then we’re like ‘Where’s my football? It’s Saturday, it’s Sunday, the weather’s terrible outside, nothing’s going on, the NBA games don’t mean anything, there’s no tournament going on in college basketball, I need my football.’ So it’s the perfect time, mid-February, to launch a spring football league when it’s still wintertime. You make it regional, you make it teams in Texas and the Southeast. Great. That works.

“But you know what doesn’t work? Launching during mid-to-late March. March Madness. Baseball starting. NBA and NHL playoffs right around the corner. We have limited bandwidth. We can’t handle it and we’ve already gone five or six weeks without watching our football on Saturday or Sunday, so we’re not inclined. We’re not, like, ‘Hey, it’s 10 a.m., it’s noon on Sunday, I wanna watch my football game.

“And I think because of that, people moved on. They moved on to other sports and I think you’ve got to capture that audience with good stories in February, and if you don’t do that by mid-March, you’re done-zo and there’s too many other sports going on.”

UFL defenders were quick to point out that a February start was impossible for the league because the XFL-USFL merger wasn’t finalized until December, making it extremely hard to get everything set up by then.

However, Fezzik’s points still stand. The UFL kicked off its season at a moment when sports fans had a bevy of other options, all of which come pre-loaded with years of intense fandom, tradition, and nostalgia, three things the UFL can’t compete with. Opening weekend ratings were better than the XFL’s and USFL’s a year ago but down from both league’s debut seasons. The Week 2 average ratings dipped from 1.09 million to 842,000, which is still better than their predecessor’s numbers last year.

The real test will be next weekend when there’s no college basketball to compete with. The league also needs to get attendance figures up in every market except St. Louis. Ultimately, the league needs to start cultivating stars and storylines. It’s had a few breakout moments so far but the jury remains out, especially for sports fans who have seen this scenario so many times before.

And of course, UFL fans have to hope co-owner Dwayne Johnson doesn’t get bored or distracted by other things.

UFL fans would love nothing more than to prove Fezzik wrong, but we’ve got a long season ahead before we can make any kind of real predictions about the league’s viability and survival.

[Ross Tucker Podcast]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to