Alex McGough leads Birmingham Stallions into the new USFL


For Birmingham Stallions quarterback Alex McGough, success is in the cards.

At least, that’s what he hopes.

To learn the Stallions’ playbook, McGough (pronounced muh-GOO) has relied on a sizable deck of flash cards he’s created. He got the idea from his girlfriend, who he says used flash cards to study for nursing school.

“I write down each formation, each play and put the name of the play on the front of the note card and draw it on the back – and I either see the play or I see the routes and I try to tell myself what that is,” McGough told NBC Sports this week. “I have, like, 200 of them, and I usually go through them once a day and just look at them.

“Well, that’s if I get them all right. I have to get them all right, so I can stop.”

He color-codes each play, too.

“It’s an intricate process but it works for me, and it’s helped me learn a lot of things fast,” he continued. “I think this is, like, my fifth or sixth offense in four years, so I’m trying to learn this one as quickly as I can.”

Being a quick study has been essential for McGough and everyone involved in the new United States Football League.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the 2022 USFL Season – Teams, key dates, TV schedule, how to watch, and more

It’ll be roughly a month from the start of training camp March 21 to the inaugural game Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama. The first matchup on NBC, Peacock and FOX features McGough and the Stallions (coached by Skip Holtz, son of National Championship-winning coach Lou Holtz) against the New Jersey Generals (coached by Mike Riley, a former NFL head coach with the Chargers).

USFL 2022: New Jersey Generals vs. Birmingham Stallions

  • When: Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock
  • Where: Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Live Stream: Peacock

The Stallions, the Generals and the other six USFL teams are all based in Birmingham for this regular season. As a result, the players are constantly around each other – from staying in the same hotel through the standard routine of practice, workouts and film sessions.

Just like learning the playbook, teams have had to bond together fast.

“Coach (Skip) Holtz really preaches on that togetherness – you win games together, you don’t win them separate, you don’t win them alone,” McGough explained. “We’ve done a good job with that. I think the whole team is really playing for each other, and we know that in the three phases of the game, we’re together and we need them all to win.

“We’ve really come together and grown as one team.”

As it seeks to be America’s pre-eminent spring football league, the USFL has attracted a full spectrum of players.

There are the NFL veterans with some game experience under their belts. There are the NFL practice squad regulars who’ve had tantalizing glimpses of the top level. There are younger ones that are years removed from being college standouts but have carried on in other pro leagues (XFL, AAF, Canadian Football League, etc.). And there are hardy souls whose love of the game have taken them to Europe or even the 50-yard “indoor wars.”

McGough is in that second group. After closing his college career as Florida International’s all-time leader in passing yards (9,091) and passing TDs (65), he was a seventh-round selection of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s the only quarterback the Seahawks have drafted since they picked future Super Bowl champion, Russell Wilson, in 2012.

After spending the 2018 season on the Seahawks’ practice squad, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans over the next two years before returning to Seattle in December 2020. He played in two preseason games for the Seahawks last year, but was released before the start of the regular season.

McGough has never played in an NFL regular season game. Even so, he’s grateful for the learning experience he’s had at the top level – particularly lessons on knowing when to stay in the pocket instead of using his feet.

That said, he can run when the situation calls for it. He’s had that “dual threat” capability since his days at Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida, where he was exposed to the triple option and wing-T offense. And while he set passing records at FIU, he also posted a respectable 16 rushing touchdowns in his career there.

RELATED: 2022 USFL Season Week One Schedule: How to watch and live stream this weekend’s spring football games

It may help that McGough’s got some athletic genes. His mother played volleyball and basketball in college, while his father and younger brother were both offensive linemen in college. The latter, brother Shane McGough, played at FIU from 2017-20 (redshirt in 2016) and was Alex’s teammate in 2017.

On the extended side of McGough’s family, there’s also his uncle, Kelly Goodburn. Goodburn was an NFL punter for seven seasons (1987-1993) and won a Super Bowl ring with Washington in the 1991 season (XXVI).

McGough isn’t sure if, while building his own pro career, he asked Goodburn for specific advice. But Goodburn was very much an inspiration.

“It was always kind of like something in the back of my mind: ‘I want to be like Uncle Kelly. I want to be an NFL player. I want to win the Super Bowl,’” McGough said.

“It’s kind of just led me to follow my dream even more. (There’s) some days when you don’t really wanna train or wanna do this, but you remember that you want to be like him, you wanna have a ring, be an NFL player, be a professional football player. It’s been a motivator for me.”

RELATED: 2022 USFL TV Schedule – Dates and times for the 10-week inaugural football season

 That motivation has, in part, helped carry McGough from a childhood filled with everyday practices and weekend games to the NFL – and now, to the USFL.

He received a USFL contract from his agent, then took a few days to think it over before choosing to sign it. Then, two days before February’s USFL Draft, he was summoned to Birmingham to take part.

“I was confused – I was like, ‘Is everyone going?,’” McGough recalled. “Then I found out it was just eight of us. So I was like, ‘OK, what team am I gonna go to?’

“I only spoke to one team on the phone (before the USFL Draft). I cannot remember who it was – I just know it was not Birmingham. But I saw Skip Holtz in the lobby when I was coming in and I was like, ‘Man, I hope I’ll play for him,’ just because I remembered playing (against) him in college and scoring, like, 50 points against us every game.”

McGough got his wish. Now he’ll look to make the most of what he’s learned from those flash cards and lead the Stallions to a championship.

First and 10 with Alex McGough

10 quick questions to get to know the new talent of the USFL

2022 will bring you… What?

“I think it’s just gonna bring me happiness, you know? I think getting back to playing sports, getting back to playing football, enjoying my family, enjoying my time that I have with my girlfriend – being more in the moment. It’s gonna bring me happiness.”

Do you have a pre-game ritual?

“No, I do not.”

Do you have an after-game ritual?

“I usually always go to dinner with my parents and my girlfriend after the game. That’s really it. I don’t have a ‘wind down’ or a mental reflection, but I’ve always been around people that love me and I love.”

Favorite football player?

“Tom Brady was always my hero growing up.”

Favorite movie?

“Step Brothers is a great movie – one of the greatest of all time. Wedding Crashers. The Longest Yard’s a great one. But gosh, what is that movie called… Sunshine? The quarterback, what’s his name, what’s that movie called? (Writer’s Note: He’s referring to Remember The Titans.) Anyway, people call me Sunshine because of my long hair. But that’s a great movie.”

Favorite kind of music?

“I listen to country a lot. Cody Johnson and Morgan Wallen, those two are my favorite.”

Favorite food?

“Chicken wings.” (Writer’s Note: His favorite wing sauce is Buffalo.)

How would your family and friends describe you as a person?

“Probably very outgoing. Kind of eccentric, almost. I like to wear my expressions on my sleeve. … I’m very outgoing. I’m very weird, kind of in a sense of, I’m just gonna be as me as I can, no matter where I’m at, no matter what I’m doing. I think people love me for it.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

“I don’t even know if I would change anything. I like who I am. I like what I am. I’m good with me, you know?”

Name one thing about yourself that not everybody knows about you.

“I say this every time, but I play video games a lot. I don’t think a lot of people know that. I don’t think a lot of people would ‘see’ that, that I do that. … It kind of relaxes me. It gives me peace, almost. I have ADHD, and it kind of calms me down and lets me relax my brain for a couple of minutes.” (Writer’s Note: He enjoys playing Call of Duty and NBA 2K.)

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the 2022 USFL Season – Teams, key dates, TV schedule, how to watch, and more

2022 USFL Week One Schedule: How to watch and stream

Saturday, April 16

  • New Jersey Generals at Birmingham Stallions – 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and Fox

Sunday, April 17

  • Houston Gamblers at Michigan Panthers – 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock
  • Philadelphia Stars vs. New Orleans Breakers – 4:00 p.m. ET on USA Network
  • Tampa Bay Bandits at Pittsburgh Maulers – 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1

2023 USFL Week 8 Schedule: How to watch Gamblers vs Maulers, Stars vs Stallions start times, live stream info


Week 8 of the 2023 USFL season  features four games you don’t want to miss. First, on Saturday, June 3 it’s the Houston Gamblers (4-3) vs Pittsburgh Maulers (2-5) at 12:00 PM ET on USA Network and Peacock. Then at 3:00 PM, the Philadelphia Stars (4-3) will go head-to-head with the Birmingham Stallions (5-2) on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: Control what you can control – How journey through the fire led Generals RB Darius Victor to the USFL

On Sunday, June 4, the USFL excitement starts at 1:00 PM with a Memphis Showboats (4-3) vs New Jersey Generals match up. Then, at 4:00 PM the Michigan Panthers (3-4) face the the New Orleans Breakers (4-3) to cap off the night. See below for additional information on how to watch/live stream each game this weekend.

RELATED: 2023 USFL Season Schedule – Dates, times, locations, new teams, playoff format, scores and more

Saturday, June 3:

Houston Gamblers at Pittsburgh Maulers – 12 p.m. (USA and Peacock)

Philadelphia Stars at Birmingham Stallions – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)

Sunday, June 4:

Memphis Showboats at New Jersey Generals – 1 p.m. (FOX)

Michigan Panthers at New Orleans Breakers – 4 p.m. (FOX)

Where are the new locations for the 2023 USFL Season?

The 2023 USFL season will feature four host cities: Detroit, Memphis, Canton, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama.

  • The New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers will be hosted in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
  • The Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers will be hosted in Birmingham at Protective Stadium.
  • The Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars will be hosted in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field.
  • The Memphis Showboats and Houston Gamblers will be hosted in Memphis, Tennessee at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

RELATED: 2023 USFL Season –  Who are this year’s USFL head coaches?

How can I watch USFL games on Peacock?

Sign up here to watch all of our LIVE sports, sports shows, documentaries, classic matches, and more. You’ll also get tons of new & hit movies and TV shows, including Peacock Originals and current hits from NBC and Bravo. There’s always something new to discover.

What devices does Peacock support?

You can enjoy Peacock on a variety of devices. View the full list of supported devices here.

Check out these stories from NBC Sports’ Road to the USFL Kickoff Series:

USFL Week 8 Playoff Clinching Scenarios

2023 USFL Season Schedule: Dates, times, locations, new teams, playoff format, scores, and more


The 2023 USFL Season kicks off on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 with four thrilling games. First, the Philadelphia Stars will take on the Memphis Showboats at 4:30 PM ET followed by a New Jersey Generals vs Birmingham Stallions match up at 7:30 PM ET. On Sunday, the Michigan Panthers will go head-to-head with the Houston Gamblers at noon, followed by a Pittsburgh Maulers vs New Orleans Breakers match up at 6:30 PM.

RELATED: 2023 USFL Draft order – Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 10

Season 2 of the USFL features four host cities–Detroit, Memphis, Canton, and Birmingham. This is a significant change from last year when all 10-regular season games were contested in Birmingham, Alabama and playoff games took place in Canton, Ohio. Additionally, the 2023 season will also feature a new team. The Tampa Bay Bandits will now be called the Memphis Showboats. Memphis was one of the original teams featured in the first edition of the USFL.

See below for the full 2023 USFL Season Schedule as well as answers to any questions you may have before the upcoming season. Be sure to check back for the latest updates to the schedule.

RELATED: Control what you can control – How journey through the fire led Generals RB Darius Victor to the USFL

How many teams are in the USFL?

There are a total of 8 teams in the USFL that make up two divisions:

North Division:

  • Michigan Panthers
  • New Jersey Generals
  • Philadelphia Stars
  • Pittsburgh Maulers

South Division:

  • Birmingham Stallions
  • Houston Gamblers
  • New Orleans Breakers
  • Memphis Showboats

Where will games be contested during the 2023 USFL Season?

The 2023 USFL season will feature four host cities: Detroit, Memphis, Canton, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama.

  • The New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers will be hosted in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
  • The Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers will be hosted in Birmingham at Protective Stadium.
  • The Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars will be hosted in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field.
  • The Memphis Showboats and Houston Gamblers will be hosted in Memphis, Tennessee at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

RELATED: Just Keep Going – Stallions RB CJ Marable makes a policy of perseverance

How many weeks are in the USFL’s regular season?

There are 10 weeks in the regular season. Each team will go head-to-head with division rivals twice and face off against teams of the opposite division once.

How will 2023 USFL playoffs work?

After the 10 week regular season comes to a close, the top two teams from each division will go head-to-head in two playoff games in late June, with the winners advancing to the USFL Championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

2023 USFL Season Schedule:

*All times are listed as ET


Saturday, April 15
Philadelphia Stars 27, Memphis Showboats 23
Birmingham Stallions 27, New Jersey Generals 10

Sunday, April 16
Michigan Panthers 29, Houston Gamblers 13 
New Orleans Breakers 22, Pittsburgh Maulers 15


Saturday, April 22
New Orleans Breakers 38, Houston Gamblers 31 
Birmingham Stallions 42, Memphis Showboats 2

Sunday, April 23
New Jersey Generals 20, Pittsburgh Maulers 3 
Michigan Panthers 24, Philadelphia Stars 10


Saturday, April 29
New Orleans Breakers 45, Birmingham Stallions 31
Houston Gamblers 30, Memphis Showboats 26 

Sunday, April 30
Pittsburgh Maulers 21, Philadelphia Stars 13
New Jersey Generals 28, Michigan Panthers 13 


Saturday, May 6

Houston Gamblers 41, Philadelphia Stars 16
Memphis Showboats 29,  Michigan Panthers 10

Saturday, May 7

New Orleans Breakers 20, New Jersey Generals 17
Birmingham Stallions 24, Pittsburgh Maulers 20


Saturday, May 13
Pittsburgh Maulers 23,  Michigan Panthers 7
Houston Gamblers 27, Birmingham Stallions 20

Sunday, May 14
Philadelphia Stars 24, New Jersey Generals 21 
Memphis Showboats 17,  New Orleans Breakers 10


Saturday, May 20
Memphis Showboats 22, Pittsburgh Maulers 0
Birmingham Stallions 27, Michigan Panthers 13

Sunday, May 21
Philadelphia Stars 16, New Orleans Breakers 10
Houston Gamblers 16, New Jersey Generals 10


Saturday, May 27
Birmingham Stallions 24, New Orleans 20
Philadelphia Stars 37, Pittsburgh Maulers 31

Sunday, May 28
Memphis Showboats 23, Houston Gamblers 20
Michigan Panthers 25, New Jersey Generals 22


Saturday, June 3
Houston at Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Philadelphia at Birmingham – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)

Sunday, June 4
Memphis at New Jersey – 1 p.m. (FOX)
Michigan at New Orleans – 4 p.m. (FOX)


Saturday, June 10
Michigan at Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. (FOX)
New Orleans at Memphis – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)

Sunday, June 11
Birmingham at Houston – 2 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Philadelphia at New Jersey – 7 p.m. (FOX)


Saturday, June 17
Pittsburgh at New Jersey – 1 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Birmingham at Memphis – 4 p.m. (FOX)

Sunday, June 18
New Orleans at Houston – 4 p.m. (FS1)
Philadelphia at Michigan – 7 p.m. (FOX)

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