Ridaught: Spring football is back

Generic football

Spring football is back!

But I’m not talking about Gator football, which concluded with the Orange & Blue game last Thursday night.

The Blue dominated the Orange, 34-0, behind quarterback Anthony Richardson’s three touchdowns.

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Spring football begins next Monday for high schools across the state of Florida.

There will be a lot of new faces on the sideline this year, including Eastside, which announced this morning that head coach Alex Deleon was stepping down.

But that’s not the spring football that I’m talking about.

The United States Football League is back.

Some of you may not have been around during the ‘old USFL,’ which played for three seasons from 1983-1986.

No principals from the former USFL are involved in the current league’s ownership.

However, the teams who made up the previous entity are among the eight-team league, like the Tampa Bay Bandits, the New Jersey Generals, and the Birmingham Stallions. The new league obtained the rights to some of the former league’s team names.

Each team will have a 38-man active roster and a seven-man practice squad.

USFL players will make $45,000 for the regular season, rising to a maximum of $75,750 with all bonuses.

You also will recognize a lot of the head coaches, such as former Gator offensive coordinator Larry Fedora (New Orleans Breakers), Skip Holtz (Stallions), the son of Lou Holtz, and Jeff Fisher (Michigan Panthers), who coached the Titans and the Rams, among others, in the NFL.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the USFL is the technology it uses during its game broadcasts.

There are drones flying over receivers to show us a closer look at the great catches, players have cameras on their helmets, and players were mic’d up.

In an effort to give fans all-access, New Orleans Breakers linebacker Davin Bellamy was mic’d up and did some trash talking after his big game, a 23-17 win against Philadelphia.

As far as the games themselves, Birmingham scored late to beat New Jersey, 28-24, in the USFL debut on Saturday night.

The game was televised by both NBC and Fox. That’s the first time that has happened since the first Super Bowl in 1967.

During the ’80s, before he was the head coach at the University of Florida, Steve Spurrier brought his Fun ‘N Gun to the Tampa Bay Bandits. Spurrier’s “Bandit Ball” offense led them to three winning seasons and two playoff appearances.

Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is the head coach and general manager for the new version of the Bandits, who had their game moved to tonight at 7 p.m. against Pittsburgh.

But if there is one thing I don’t like about this version of the USFL, which is why I’m not certain it can survive, is the venue.

This year’s entire USFL regular season will take place in Birmingham, Alabama, with each team playing 10 regular-season games. The league is then set to have two semifinals and a championship game in Canton, Ohio.

But then again, it’s hard to argue about the opportunity to watch football during the spring and summer as the USFL schedule runs from April through June.


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