The day we’ve been waiting for has arrived. Today will determine the new USFL champion and the first since the revival of the league in 2022.
Can the winner of the upcoming matchup between Philadelphia and Birmingham be ranked alongside the 1980s champion teams? The league itself won’t do so, since it insists on its own independence from the past draft, but outside observers will surely draw parallels with the past version of the USFL in their minds. If so, it would turn out to be quite interesting – the 2022 finals would be the third time a team named the Philadelphia Stars (previously played in the 83 and 84 finals) and the fourth involving a team named the Stars (the Baltimore Stars played in the ’85 finals).
Barring any historical parallels, it would appear that the finals will be between Birmingham (9-1), who dominated the regular season, and perennially underdog Philadelphia (6-4).
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How Birmingham and Philadelphia played in the playoffs
In the semifinals, the Stallions trampled New Orleans with their integrity: The offense racked up yards passing and passing, and the defense punished their opponents for missteps. In the end, the Breakers simply couldn’t handle the pressure and folded in half, while Birmingham came back to haunt Birmingham.
And Philadelphia surprised in a big way, beating New Jersey, who, before the playoffs began, I would have ranked as favorites for the title, even above Birmingham. The Stars’ defense, dormant for most of the regular season, suddenly showed its teeth and managed to stop the Generals’ offense several times, preventing it from fully deploying the two-quarterback system that worked in the regular season.
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What time is the USFL Championship game?
The USFL championship game will be played between the Birmingham Stallions and the Philadelphia Stars. It is scheduled to start on Sunday, July 3, 7:30 pm EST in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. This game is being televised on FOX.
- When: Sunday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio
- TV channel: FOX and the FOX Sports app
Who won the USFL game today?
The traditional high-floor-low-ceiling motif emerged in the confrontation between starting quarterbacks Smith and Cookus. Smith generally played half as well as Case Cookus but had an enviable mental toughness that allowed his team to regularly pull out wins after falling behind by the big break. Smith served as a game manager who didn’t spoil things and could slug a 40-50-yard pass when he had the opportunity.
Cookus didn’t have as dense support from the defense or the outfield as Smith, so his lapses seemed deeper. But on a good day, only New Orleans’ Kyle Slaughter could match him in terms of height – Cookus’ inspired play allowed the Stars to score in batches and have shootouts in which opponents invariably ran out of ammunition first.
Philadelphia would have benefited greatly if their primary running back, Matthew Colburn (496 yards, 8 touchdowns), who missed the second half of the semifinal game due to injury, had been able to take the field in the finals. With the Stallions, passing remains a strength, as both C.J. Marable (421 yards, 5 touchdowns) and the diminutive Bo Scarborough (352 yards in 6 games) are willing to give opponents a run for their money.
In terms of receivers, Birmingham has a clear advantage with Marlon Williams (498 yards and 4 touchdowns) and Victor Bolden (415 yards), although the Stars have Maurice Alexander (punt return in the half) and Bug Howard (371 yards).
My prediction is that the game will end in a boring win for Birmingham at the expense of defense. Defenses win titles – I assume that will be the case this time.