UFL helemts and logo Credit: UFL

While we already knew the XFL and USFL had merged, we finally got all of the details on Sunday.

The second iteration of the USFL, which was owned by Fox, joined forces with the third iteration of the XFL, owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital’s Gerry Cardinale, to become the United Football League (UFL). The hope is that, finally, they have cracked the elusive code on how to make a spring pro football league worth tuning in to watch.

Johnson and Garcia appeared on the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show to make the official announcement.

“I think in the UFL … these players are gonna play hard-nosed, intense football, passionate football,” Johnson said. He added that he hoped the league could act as a kind of minor league for the NFL, given that it’s made up of “54” players (referring to the NFL’s 53-man rosters).

“Imagine all those 54s out there, and you tell them you’ve got one more shot in the UFL and then to go on to the NFL potentially, how do you think they’ll play? They’re gonna ball out,” Johnson added.

The new league will begin play on March 30, 2024, and games will air on Fox, ABC, ESPN, and FS1.

‘NBC was previously a broadcasting partner of the USFL but they opted out of doing so for the new league due to golf event commitments.

While both leagues previously had eight teams apiece, only half of those franchises survived the cut to make it into the new league. The USFL announced that the Michigan Panthers, Houston Gamblers, Memphis Showboats, and Birmingham Stallions would be the teams to move forward. A leaked internal email revealed that the Arlington Renegades, D.C. Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, and St. Louis Battlehawks would be the four XFL franchises to survive.

Russ Brandon, who had been the CEO of the XFL, will now be CEO of the UFL. Meanwhile, Daryl Johnston, the USFL president of football operations, will hold the same title for the revised league.

It appears that the UFL is moving forward with a clear understanding that its best avenue for long-term success is as the NFL’s farm system and not as anything attempting to compete with that juggernaut. Given the big names and financial backers involved, it seems likely they could weather a few rough seasons to try and survive long enough that it becomes a mainstay of the American sports calendar.

Of course, we’ve said the same of the dozen or so spring football leagues that came before it. Good luck to you, UFL.

[Fox, UFL, THR]

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 sean@thecomeback.com.