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This Is So Stupid

My Belief In The USFL Has Been Shattered

5:24 PM EDT on July 31, 2023

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - JUNE 25: Head Coach Skip Holtz celebrates after defeating the New Orleans Breakers to win the USFL South Division Championship at Protective Stadium on June 25, 2023 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Stew Milne/USFL/Getty Images for USFL

The Birmingham Stallions have won both championships of the new United States Football League, which features several team brands from the short-lived 1980s league. Who can forget Birmingham's thrilling 33-30 victory over the Philadelphia Stars in 2022’s title game, or the scene on the field at Protective Stadium after ending the Cinderella run of the Pittsburgh Maulers earlier this month?

The Stallions are the USFL’s powerhouse. Previously I would have given the credit to head coach Skip Holtz, who has guided the team to a 21-3 record in two seasons. But after the news today, I am no longer so sure.

I hate to criticize another reporter without good reason, but I simply must in this case. I do not believe there is any way the last sentence is true. That Holtz thinks he can take a job in the offseason has shaken my faith in the league to its core. What about scouting? What about prepping for the new season? When I became a fan of the new USFL, I knew it was something I wanted to go all-in on (i.e., my uncle texts me Philadelphia Stars highlights sometimes). The USFL is the first major start-up outdoor football league since the original XFL to even finish a full season. That’s due to the dedication and focus of everyone in the league. It requires a full commitment, from fans, players, and coaches. Now the league’s most successful coach is going to spend the fall trying to rehab some middling midwest college football team? I feel like I’ve been tricked.

Do you think Michigan Panthers coach Mike Nolan or New Orleans Breakers coach John DeFilippo would be caught doing this kind of thing in the offseason? Nolan said last season that it was the most fun he’d ever had coaching. “I wasn't who I wanted to be, I didn’t like who I was,” Nolan said of his NFL stint. I like that kind of personal growth. There is no way you’d see Memphis Showboats coach Todd Haley have this kind of offseason, unless he has and I didn’t notice. Haley’s Twitter bio says he has a show on satellite radio, but I assume it’s a show all about the Memphis Showboats.

This can be fixed. Skip Holtz must loudly and publicly reaffirm his full commitment to the Birmingham Stallions. There is no place in the USFL for wafflers.

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