So far, so good in the USFL for Stallions coach Skip Holtz


Entering Week 5, the Birmingham Stallions are the USFL’s sole undefeated team.

They’ve won by overcoming second-half deficits in all four of their games.

They’ve won by putting up the points, averaging a league-best 24.8 per game.

They’ve won with both of their quarterbacks, Alex McGough and J’Mar Smith.

They’ve won with an ex-soccer player, Brandon Aubrey, being a steady kicker in a league where some kickers have been anything but.

And last week against the Tampa Bay Bandits, they won with defense – holding the Bandits to a single offensive touchdown and 158 total yards in a 16-10 victory.

The Stallions have shown their mettle in starting the season 4-0. But their head coach, Skip Holtz, feels there’s still work to do.

“I think we’re close in a lot of areas, but I think if we can ever put it all together and we can start clicking on offense and humming around on defense the way we are – I think we’re a talented football team that has a chance to be really good,” Holtz told NBC Sports Wednesday ahead of his team’s next matchup with the Philadelphia Stars (Sunday, 12 p.m. ET on NBC).

“When your defense is playing as good as it is, we just have to make sure offensively that we’re not the ‘Bad News Bears’ turning the ball over, throwing pick-sixes, putting the ball in danger and giving our defense a short field. If we’re going to [lose], let’s at least make somebody beat us.

“And I think offensively, we’re getting closer. We’re getting to the point where I start to feel like we can really open it up if we need to and we’re not going to turn the ball over.”

USFL Week 5 – Birmingham Stallions (4-0) vs. Philadelphia Stars (2-2)

  • When: Sunday, May 15 at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Where: Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Live stream:

The 2-2 Stars perhaps present both an opportunity and a challenge.

The Stars’ defense has allowed an average of 23.8 points (tied for league-worst) and 356.3 net yards (next-to-worst in league) per game. However, cornerback Channing Stribling leads the league with four interceptions.

And their offense remains more than happy to test the secondary (league-high 68.5% passing plays), even as Case Cookus has taken over as starting quarterback for the injured Bryan Scott.

With his offense seeking to rebound from its worst outing of the season, Holtz goes back to the need to protect the ball and give his defense – led last week by linebacker Scooby Wright (six tackles, one sack) – better opportunity to dictate things.

“When you have a defense like we have and a kicking game like we have, my mindset is, ‘Let’s not turn the ball over, let’s not put our defense in a bad position, and let’s make people go 80 yards against our defense,'” he said.

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Meanwhile, as Holtz and the Stallions try to refine their winning formula, the locals have responded to what they’re seeing from them on the field.

All eight USFL teams are based in Birmingham, Alabama for this first season. But only the Stallions have a true home-field advantage, drawing sizable crowds to Protective Stadium for their games each week.

They have effectively become their 12th man. We shouldn’t be surprised. Alabama is a football-crazy state after all. But while most of us think of the Crimson Tide and Tigers, the city of Birmingham itself has hosted numerous teams from alternative pro leagues since the 1970s – including the Stallions from the original USFL (1983-85).

From the new USFL’s Opening Night on Apr. 16 – when the Stallions won a 28-24 thriller over the New Jersey Generals – the “Magic City” has had their team’s back.

“We were struggling on offense in the first half and it seemed like they started cheering louder for the defense,” Holtz said of the crowd at that first game. “And the defense kept us in it until the second half when the offense got stuff going. I think we not only learned a lot about our team and their makeup and their competitive nature, but we also learned a lot about this fanbase.

“They were awesome and have been awesome ever since. The opening game obviously had a lot of buzz to it, but our crowds have been great each and every week and it’s been very loud. [It’s been] a very football-knowledgeable crowd.”

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It’s left Holtz optimistic about the future of the league, which plans to put all teams in their respective home cities in the years ahead.

It’s also added to his belief that coaching at the pro level has been “a breath of fresh air” after spending his entire coaching career at the college level.

Before joining the Stallions, Holtz was head coach at Louisiana Tech for nine seasons. But he was let go ahead of the Bulldogs’ 2021 season finale after his team went 3-8 in the season’s first 11 games.

Eventually, Holtz received a call from USFL president of football operations Brian Woods, who asked to talk with him about the new league. Holtz was impressed and decided it was time to give pro ball a try.

He hasn’t regretted it, especially with having players that are older, more mature, and able to focus solely on football – as opposed to those in college, who must balance the gridiron, the classroom, and campus life in general.

“Friday, when you get done in college, you take them to a hotel, you take them to a movie, have a team meeting that night, wake up the next morning, have a meeting, have a walkthrough, make sure everything doesn’t go in one ear and out another,” Holtz explained.

“With these (pro) guys, when you’re done with practice on Friday, they go home to their wife and kids. They study their playbook. They come back the next morning – they’re all business. You don’t have to worry about everyone clowning around and you’ve got to get them serious and re-centered for game day. They’re ready to play. It’s a real testament to these players and the leadership we have on this team.”

Like his players, Holtz sees the USFL as an opportunity. It’s somewhat of a different attitude than the one his father had when he transitioned from college to the pros.

Long before he led Notre Dame to the 1988 National Championship, Lou Holtz became head coach of the NFL’s New York Jets in 1976.

But Lou’s tenure was unsuccessful. His Jets went 3-10 before he resigned with one game left in the season. It was his lone coaching appearance at the pro level.

“(Lou) always says he went to pro ball with a ‘Let’s see if I like it’ attitude, not ‘Let’s go make this work,” Skip Holtz said. “And the biggest thing he told me is, ‘Enjoy it. Jump in with both feet and go enjoy it.'”

He’s taken his Dad’s advice to heart. And as he and the Stallions seek to build a winning tradition, he says he’s enjoyed building relationships with these players as much as anywhere he’s been.

To him, that’s the best part of all.

“Everyone has a story,” he said. “They all have a why. They’re all here for a reason. They’re here because they love this game. They’re here because they want another opportunity. They’re here because some of them may get an opportunity in the NFL. Others might play in the USFL for two or three years.

“But they love the game and that’s the thing where I’ve enjoyed so much about it… Being around guys that are so passionate about the game, and guys that are so professional about their trade.”

How to watch/stream USFL Week 5 – Panthers vs. Bandits, Stallions vs. Stars

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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