HomeSportsNBC, Fox Set to Simulcast USFL Debut in April

NBC, Fox Set to Simulcast USFL Debut in April

by Suzanne Halliburton
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Say hello to the USFL. It could be your new spring obsession. Thanks to NBC and Fox, you can easily see the April debut.

First, what is the USFL? It’s the United States Football League. And with nostalgia still so trendy in pop culture, the league is a revival of a 1980s short-lived spring/summer football experiment.

The USFL is the same league that launched the pro careers of Herschel Walker, Steve Young, Doug Flutie and Jim Kelly. Maybe it’ll do the same for other future stars. The current USFL players will be those looking for another chance at the NFL.

New Jersey General QB Doug Flutie and running back Herschel Walker. (Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)

USFL Launch Will Be First Simulcast Since Super Bowl I

The USFL also can serve as a football fix for a football-hungry country. The league launches April 16 with a game between the New Jersey Generals and the Birmingham Stallions. By then, it’ll be two months since the country watched the Super Bowl and another three months before the NFL kicks off preseason training camp.

Fox, which runs the USFL, is hoping that football fans, in general, tune in. As for the simulcast, it’s also history. That’s because it’s the first time two competing networks got together to broadcast the same game since Super Bowl I, when the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. That day, both CBS and NBC simulcast the game.

Fox Sports will do the game, itself. NBC will provide the pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage.

Here’s where the USFL is a bit different, at least for the first season. All games will be played in Birmingham, at either Protective Stadium or Legion Field.

The USFL features eight teams representing cities across the country. The other six include the Houston Gamblers. the New Orleans Breakers and the Tampa Bay Bandits. They’ll join Birmingham in the four-team South Division. Meanwhile, joining New Jersey in the North Division are the Michigan Panthers, Pittsburgh Maulers, and Philadelphia Stars. Each team plays a 10-game schedule. The top two teams in each division make the playoffs. There will be semifinals setting up a championship.

USFL Will Choose Players In February

The USFL will select its players during a meeting Feb. 22-23. Training camp follows a month later. Each team sports a 38-man roster, with seven players on the practice squad. Each player will earn a base salary plus bonuses for wins.

Both Fox and NBC will show USFL games. NBC will divide its coverage between the main network, USA Network and Peacock. Fox will carry the games on its main network and FS1. All 22 games will be televised.

The USFL will have the spring football season to itself in 2022. However, the XFL comes online next January. That’s the league co-owned by Dwayne Johnson. He pulled it out of bankruptcy in the summer of 2020. The XFL had a successful launch in February 2020. But like all the sports across the world, was sidelined by the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.