If you’re missing football then have no fear, the Philadelphia Stars and their chonky mascot are here! The USFL kicks off tomorrow, pitting the Philadelphia Stars against the New Orleans Breakers in the season opener. Here’s all you need to know.
The league will kick off with eight teams vying for a championship over twelve weeks in the Protective Stadium and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. During the USFL era from 1983 to 1985, the Philadelphia Stars took three championships in 1983, 1984, and later as the Baltimore Stars in 1985. Although this version of the USFL has no links to the 1980’s league other than the names and teams, the Stars will be looking for similar success.
What makes the USFL different?
In a bid to separate itself from spring football leagues of years past, the USFL is taking a very XFL approach to its rules.
Teams will be allowed two forward passes, allowing for some really creative offensive play design.
The league will allow teams to try a 4th & 12 instead of an onside kick.
Say goodbye to two-minute warnings, and hello two automatic clock stops when the chains are moved.
As opposed to regular overtime, teams will partake in a three-play shootout. Chaotic.
And finally, the USFL will tempt gambling-friendly teams into a three-point extra point attempt from ten yards out.
Meet the Stars
The Stars, and their wholesome little mascot ‘blob’ are ironically the only team in the USFL not to be fielding a former Eagles player this season, which should be a criminal offense given that cult icon Clayton Thorson is literally playing in the league.
Anyway, they’ll be coached by Bart Andrus who has a long history in the CFL, NFL Europe, and even The Spring League – the USFL’s spiritual father.
Bryan Scott is the face of the franchise, being joined in the QB room by Case Cookus. Devin Gray is probably going to be their WR1, at least if we’re going off NFL reputation. He was originally apart of the Ravens’ practice squad.
The stars of the offense lie in the backfield though, with Darnell Holland and Matthew Colburn. Holland averaged 51.9 yards per game at Kennesaw state as a junior in 2017, while Colburn ended his tenure with Wake Forest with the sixth-most rushing yards in school history with 2,528.
On defense, Ahmad Dixon headlines the secondary. He was drafted by the Cowboys in 2014, while Mazzi Wilkins also has NFL experience, having also spent time with the Ravens.
Betting season opener
The Philadelphia Stars will face off against the New Orleans Breakers on Sunday and are 2.5 point underdogs. Considering very few people have any knowledge of USFL teams and there are no historical trends to point to, it might simply be a case of backing the Stars due to homer bias. It’s never a bad thing getting points after all.
However, the Breakers have the star power, if you pardon the pun.. Kyle Sloter played in 12 NFL preseason games, T.J Logan was drafted by the Cardinals, and Taywan Taylor is a name who will be familiar to many, having racked up close to 700 yards of NFL receiving. Adonis Alexander was also a late-round draft crush of mine and he’ll be marauding the secondary.
If you want to back the ‘more experienced players’, then bet the Breakers. However, I am backing Blob and the stars.