USFL Opening Weekend Thoughts

Did you watch any of the USFL season opening games this weekend? What did you think?

I watched almost all of each game (and I will watch the rain delayed game tonight).

The quality of play is on par with what we saw with the AAF and XFL. With only three weeks of a training camp, I was not surprised to see some of the offensive lines struggling to get on the same page or subpar quarterback play although I was surprised at how bad former NFL first round pick Paxton Lynch looked. I was surprised at how bad the field goal kicking was.

It was football on Easter weekend. As I have said before, I am a fan of the idea of Spring football. I thought the overall TV production was great although I could do without the amount of time they use the drone and helmet cameras.

I loved hearing all the communication between the coaches and refs, the players – I really liked how they took us in the game. Each game was close and it was not gimmicky.

TV ratings were good for the opening game on Saturday night between New Jersey and Birmingham – shown on both FOX and NBC. According to reports, the preliminary ratings were 1.52 million on NBC and 1.43 million on FOX. If you combine those numbers, it is a similar TV audience number to what the AAF and XFL did for their first game (The XFL opener on ABC had 3.3 million while the AAF opener had 3.25 million viewers on CBS).

I saw a bunch of people on Twitter slamming the attendance for the Sunday game. The dozens in the stadium looked awful on TV but the weather was awful in the morning and the first game was delayed by about an hour which pushed the second game back and the third game of the triple-header got pushed to tonight because of more bad weather – a common thing in Birmingham.

Weather was a big issue for the Birmingham Iron of the AAF – they had great fan support but their attendance numbers were low because of the weather. When the Commanders played in Birmingham, there were several tornadoes in the neighboring county and it rained like mad…

When the USFL announced Birmingham as the hub city for year one, weather was the first thing I thought of. Why not pick a hub city with a Dome? They did have a good crowd on Saturday, which featured Birmingham – a team locals could root for. Playing all the games in one city tells you this is a made for TV league.

All in all, I thought the league looked and sounded good. Tell me what you thought of the USFL on Twitter @JasonMinnix.

Of course we will be talking about it, the NBA playoffs and more on The Blitz from 4-7p.