Old professional football league with famous Donald Trump ties that surprisingly return surprise


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The dream of spring football will never die.

The United States Football League – which launched the careers of many future NFL stars during its brief but eventful existence in the 1980s and helped introduce the world to a cheeky young tycoon named Donald Trump – has been revived. The new league starts in spring 2022 with at least eight teams and a transfer agreement with FOX Sports. It has also secured the rights to original team names like the New Jersey Generals that Trump owned.

FOX Sports is a minority owner of the company along with co-founder Brian Woods, CEO of the Spring League. Team cities, names, schedules and head coaches will be announced at a later date.

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The new USFL is the latest attempt to establish a sustainable spring league that piggybacks off the NFL calendar. All predecessors failed, although some were more successful than others.

The original USFL probably could have lasted. But Trump, who became the 45th president about 30 years later, convinced the league to postpone its season until the fall and compete directly with the NFL – a decision that bankrupted the USFL. And the second iteration of the XFL looked promising last year before the coronavirus pandemic faded back its first season.

The third spin of the XFL was supposed to restart in 2022, but that appears to be on hold. So the torch was first handed over to the new USFL.

Several NFL stars got their professional start in the old USFL, including Herschel Walker (Generals), Doug Flutie (Generals), Reggie White (Memphis Showboats), Steve Young (Los Angeles Express) and Jim Kelly (Houston Gamblers). White, Young and Kelly are Pro Football Hall of Famers.

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James Kratch can be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com.

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