UFL 2024 season preview: Teams, players, rules, broadcast info and more

Spring has sprung, and with that comes another season of spring football! In January, spring leagues the USFL and XFL merged to form one big spring league with the best teams from both leagues.

Starting on Saturday, March 30, the now aptly named UFL will have 10 weeks in their regular season, then the top two teams from each division play in the conference championship game. The UFL championship game takes place on June 16 in St. Louis.

So, before you sit down to watch the UFL on Saturday, here’s what you need to know about the league and the teams:

What teams came over in the merger?

With the USFL and XFL merging, but still wanting to keep eight teams, the UFL is broken into two divisions: the USFL and XFL divisions. On the USFL side, the defending USFL champion Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks (formerly Houston Gamblers), Memphis Showboats and Michigan Panthers make the merger, while on the XFL side, the defending XFL champion Arlington Renegades, St. Louis Battlehawks, San Antonio Brahmas and DC Defenders join the merger. It’s worth mentioning that the worst team record-wise to cross over to the UFL were the Arlington Renegades at 4-6, and they ended up winning the XFL title in 2023.

What are some of the fun rules involved in the game?

We’ll start with the most popular one, and that’s the kickoff rule. A rule now adopted by the NFL, kickoffs start at the 20-yard line, and every kick out of bounds results in the ball being brought out to the 30 yard line. In addition, every touchback is brought out 20 yards from the spot of the kick. Instead of having players run at each other from 30 yards deep like a traditional kickoff, there’s a kickoff start line and set up zone where the front lines for each team line up, separated by 10 yards. This has resulted in fewer injuries, and more fun kickoffs like this:

In addition to the kickoff rule, there’s the Alternate Possession Option in the fourth quarter. Instead of doing an onside kick, teams have the option of converting a fourth-and-12 from their own 28-yard line. This is down from being a fourth-and-15 that the XFL played with last year. The Philadelphia Eagles have tried to get this rule passed in the NFL, but to no avail. Instead of onside kicks, plays like this happen:

While we’re on the subject of kicks, the UFL has a rule after touchdowns that involve another offensive play, but the reward is tiered based on where the ball is snapped. If teams want to try from the 2-yard line, they get one point for a successful try. From the 5-yard line? Two points, and from the 10-yard line teams get 3 points for successful tries.

One of my favorite rules the UFL has is the forward pass rule. Teams will be allowed to throw two forward passes on each play, but the ball can’t cross the line of scrimmage at any time before the second pass is thrown. This allows teams to get creative with how they run trick plays and can result in some really fun moments, like this touchdown last year:

These rules have already been in discussion at the NFL level, and could make their way throughout the sport rather quickly. I hope the double forward pass gets tried out somewhere because that’s kind of cool.

The overtime rule is very similar to what the college game does, but instead of waiting until after two overtime periods, the UFL begins with that. Each overtime has alternating attempts for each team to score from the 5-yard line with no kicks allowed. It’s in a best of three format, or until a team doesn’t convert.

The UFL has some coaches you probably recognize

Bob Stoops. Skip Holtz. Wade Phillips. John DeFilippo. Those are just four of the eight head coaches who are going to be in the UFL, but the coaching staffs have been lauded throughout the sport. St. Louis Battlehawks head coach Anthony Becht has been praised for bringing an explosive offense to the XFL, and for a large portion of the previous season Reggie Barlow was the head coach of the most balanced team in the XFL, the DC Defenders (Gregg Williams is his defensive coordinator!). Bruce and Gino Gradkowski? Offensive coordinator and OL coach, respectively, of the Battlehawks.

With a lot of the coaches in the UFL having both college and NFL experience, they can pull from a lot of different areas and disciplines throughout the world of football. It makes for exciting plays and designs, some that I can’t wait to watch.

Naming some dudes that are in the UFL

  • St. Louis Battlehawks QB AJ McCarron
  • Arlington Renegades EDGE Vic Beasley
  • Arlington Renegades P Marquette King
  • DC Defenders WR Keke Coutee
  • DC Defenders S DJ Swearinger
  • San Antonio Brahmas QB Kurt Benkert
  • San Antonio Brahmas K Donald de la Haye (Also known as Deestroying)
  • San Antonio Brahmas WR Cody Latimer
  • St. Louis Battlehawks WR Hakeem Butler
  • Birmingham Stallions DL Taco Charlton
  • Birmingham Stallions QB Matt Corral
  • Birmingham Stallions QB Adrian Martinez
  • Birmingham Stallions WR Amari Rodgers
  • Birmingham Stallions LB Scooby Wright
  • Houston Roughnecks LB Reuben Foster
  • Houston Roughnecks QB Jarrett Guarantano
  • Memphis Showboats QB Case Cookus
  • Michigan Panthers QB Danny Etling
  • Michigan Panthers QB Brian Lewerke
  • Michigan Panthers WR Trey Quinn

This has been naming some dudes who are on UFL rosters.

Where can I watch the UFL?

Fox Sports will be broadcasting the first two UFL games on March 30, but after that broadcasting will be split between Fox Sports and ESPN, with night games being broadcast on ABC. Come playoff time, one game will be broadcasted on ABC, and the other on Fox, but Fox gets the UFL championship game.

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