Spring football is back.
As the NFL season ends with Sunday’s Super Bowl, the alternative leagues return with broadcast schedules, the USFL and XFL.
Let’s compare the two leagues:
XFL: Also plays a 10-week regular season with two playoff rounds. The season begins Saturday when the Arlington Renegades host the Vegas Vipers. The season ends on May 13 with the XFL title game.
USFL: Plays a 10-week regular season with two playoff rounds that begins on April 15. with the Philadelphia Stars against the Memphis Showboats and ends on July 2. with the USFL Championship game.
XFL: All teams practice in Arlington, but each team will have its own home stadium.
The Arlington Renegades will play at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.
The DC Defenders will play at Audi Field in Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.
The Houston Roughnecks will play at TDECU Stadium in Houston.
The Orlando Guardians will play at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
The San Antonio Brahmas will play at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Seattle Sea Dragons will play at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.
The St. Louis BattleHawks will play at The Dome in St Louis, Mo.
The Vegas Vipers will play at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Nev.
USFL: The eight teams will share four stadiums.
The Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars will play at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
The New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers will play at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
The Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers will play at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
The Houston Gamblers and Memphis Showboats will play at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.
Both leagues are filled with memorable former college stars and players who have varying levels of NFL experience.
XFL: Josh Gordon: A Texas native who attended Baylor University for college and was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft. Gordon become a standout receiver in the NFL garnering an All-Pro selection in 2016 while leading the NFL in receiving yards.
Vic Beasley: The eighth pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Georgia native had multiple All-American selections during his time at Auburn. During Beasley’s second season in the NFL, he led the league in sacks en route to becoming a 2016 All-Pro.
A.J. McCarron: A standout college quarterback who started for 2012 and 2013 national champion Alabama. McCarron also won the 2013 Johnny Unitas award given annually to the nation’s top upperclassman quarterback. McCarron was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ben DiNucci: Drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. DiNucci played with the team for two seasons and started his first career game on Sunday Night Football in October 2020.
USFL: Kyle Lauletta: The 2018 Senior Bowl MVP was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
John Franklin III: Won a BCS National Championship with the Florida State Seminoles in 2013. Franklin was also a part of the popular Netflix TV show ‘Last Chance U’ and won a Super Bowl LV ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Paxton Lynch: Born in San Antonio, Lynch was a star quarterback at the University of Memphis. A Denver Broncos first-round draft pick in the 2016, Lynch started four games over two seasons with the Denver Broncos before his released.
Scooby Wright: Made history in 2014 when he became the first sophomore ever to win Pac-12 defensive player of the year and also won the Bronco Nagurski, Chuck Bedinarik and Lombardi awards. Wright was drafted in the seventh round in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns.
XFL: The Arlington Renegades: Bob Stoops, a Hall of Fame coach who won 10 Big 12 conference titles and a BCS national title with Oklahoma and was given the nickname “Big Game Bob” for his team’s success in crucial games.
D.C. Defenders: Reggie Barlow won four conference division titles split among Alabama State and Virginia State; Barlow played for seven years in the NFL as a wide receiver and punt returner.
Houston Roughnecks: Wade Phillips has been an NFL coach for almost 50 years, most notably as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Phillips also won a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
Orlando Guardians: Terrell Buckley was a standout corner in the NFL for over a decade and won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2001. Buckley has coached cornerbacks at Akron, Mississippi State, Louisville and Ole Miss.
San Antonio Brahmas: Hines Ward was an All-Pro receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers helping lead them to two Super Bowls while garnering a Super Bowl MVP. Ward moved into coaching as an intern for the Steelers and then an assistant for the New York Jets.
Seattle Sea Dragons: Jim Haslett was a defensive rookie of the year for the Buffalo Bills and an AP NFL Coach of the Year for his work with the New Orleans Saints in 2000.
St Louis Battlehawks: Anthony Becht was a first-round draft pick in the NFL who had an 11-year career before joining the coaching ranks as a tight ends coach for the San Diego Fleet.
Las Vegas Vipers: Ron Woodson is a member of both the Pro Football and NCAA Football hall of fames. Woodson has a Heisman, and a NFL Defensive Player of the Year award as well as being on the NFL 100th anniversary All-Time Team.
USFL: The Michigan Panthers: Mike Nolan, a former head coach for the San Francisco 49ers when they drafted Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers. Nolan also had a stint as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2020.
The Philadelphia Stars: Bart Andrus made it to back-to-back World Bowls with the Amsterdam Admirals, winning the NFL Europe title in 2005. Andrus also coached the Stars to the inaugural USFL title game which they lost to Birmingham.
New Jersey Generals: Mike Riley was head coach of the Oregon State Beavers for 14 years across two stints winning Pac-12 coach of the year in 2008. Riley was the inaugural USFL coach of the year.
Pittsburgh Maulers: Ray Horton was a former NFL defensive back who won Super Bowl XXVII as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Horton won two more Super Bowls as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff.
Birmingham Stallions: Skip Holtz won the first USFL championship for the Stallions and previously was a head coach for several schools including East Carolina, South Florida, Louisiana Tech and the University of Connecticut.
New Orleans Breakers: John DeFilippo won Super Bowl LII as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. He then went on to be the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Houston Gamblers: Kevin Sumlin was most notably head coach for Texas A&M helping Johnny Manziel win the 2012 Heisman. Sumlin was voted the SEC coach of the year that same year and led the Aggies to an 11-2 regular season record.
Memphis Showboats: Todd Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
XFL: Will air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN+ and FX.
USFL: Will air on Fox, FS1, Peacock, NBC and USA Network.
XFL: Originally conceived by a joint partnership between the WWE and NBC, the XFL debuted on Feb 3. 2001. The initial launch of the XFL only lasted one season. The league shut down after playing the inaugural championship game.
The league was dormant for almost two decades until resurrected in 2020 by former co-founder and WWE chairman Vince McMahon. This iteration lasted only five weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league filed for bankruptcy.
The league was acquired from bankruptcy by a collective, led by former WWE superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and producer Danny Garcia.
USFL: The first iteration of the USFL was launched in 1982 by David Dixon the league only lasted three years marked by instability. The league had trouble maintaining owners and financing teams.
The league did find success drawing star players with Hall of Famers. Reggie White, Jim Kelly, Gary Zimmerman and Steve Young started their careers in the USFL. Despite its star power, the league shuttered permanently in 1986.
While sharing logos and its name, the new USFL has no connection to the original league with no principal owners or league officials involved.
USFL: The USFL will have a tiered extra-point system to allow one, two, or three points by either kicking, going for a two-point conversion from the two-yard line or going for three points with a play from the 10-yard line, respectively.
In addition to a traditional onside kick, teams can go for a fourth-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line, and if they successfully convert they will keep the ball. If the conversion fails, the other team will take over from wherever the ball was downed.
In overtime, each offense will have three attempts from the two-yard line, and each successful attempt will net two points. After the attempts, the team with the highest score wins if the score is tied the teams will enter sudden death attempts.
XFL: The XFL operates a 35-second clock and has abandoned PATs in favor of a tiered extra-point system with teams able to earn one, two, or three points after scoring a touchdown.
In an effort to see more kick returns, the XFL will have players line up five yards apart from each other.
Teams also have the option to keep the ball after scores by attempting a 4th-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line.
The league also allows double-forward passes. If the pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage teams will have the opportunity to throw a second pass forward beyond the line of scrimmage. But, once the ball passes the line of scrimmage a second forward pass is not allowed.
XFL: The league is owned by famed actor and former WWE Superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale’s Red Bird Capital.
USFL: Brian Woods and Fox Sports are partners in league ownership.
XFL: The standard contract offers a base salary of $59,000, $5,000 per game salary, $1,000 bonus for regular-season wins. The XFL offers $20,000 in additional benefits including dental, health, vision insurance, housing and meals.
USFL: The USFL CBA gives the players a weekly salary of $5,350 for active players, and inactive players earn $2,500. Teams will also contribute $400 to players’ housing and $150 to their 401K.
USFL: Pro Wells played at TCU for three seasons, earning a second-team All Big-12 selection in 2019 at the tight end position.
Keith Gipson Jr., from Killen, attended Mary-Hardin Baylor University where he was a 2019 D3football.com All-American and All-South Region First Team. member.
Trey Williams was a high school standout at Dekaney High School. Williams was a five-star recruit according to 247 Sports and went to play college at Texas A&M leading the team in rushing in his junior season. Williams would go undrafted and bounce around the league including two stints with the Dallas Cowboys
XFL: Paul Dawson, from Dallas, and attended Skyline High School. Dawson was e a standout linebacker at TCU where he was a unanimous All-American in 2014 and drafted in the third round in 2015 by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Sewo Olonilua, attended TCU where he was a running back, and was the 2018 Cheeze-It Bowl MVP. Olonilua also played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2020-2021.
Ranthony Texada, played for TCU from 2014 to 2017 where he was a standout cornerback. Texada was a two-time All Big-12 selection and was an SB Nation All-American in 2017.
USFL: Held their draft in which each round corresponded to a specific position with the first round being all quarterbacks and the second through fourth rounds being edge rushers/defensive ends, this process was repeated until every position had been addressed. The teams then could sign any remaining players to fill out their rosters. There was also a supplemental draft to further help teams fill rosters.
XFL: Built their roster from two drafts, the first of which followed a similar process to the USFL draft. The second was a supplemental draft that occurred in January 2023. The league also included players from the NFL Alumni academy who were guaranteed a spot in the XFL if they were not picked up by an NFL team.
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