USFL players, coaches believe ‘we’re all here for a reason’

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Peter King is on vacation until July 18, and he lined up some guest writers to fill his Monday spot on Football Morning in America. Today’s guest is Paul Burmeister, a play-by-play voice and studio host for NBC Sports.

I was in Birmingham in early April, a couple weeks before the season started, to gather info and develop relationships. When asking about schemes and calls and plans with quarterbacks and coordinators and administrators, I would also ask, “What is the USFL?”

I liked best the answer from Daryl Johnston, the USFL’s Executive VP of Football Operations, former Dallas Cowboys fullback and current FOX NFL Analyst:

“It’s a fork in the road.”

Most of the USFL players had some type of experience in the NFL. They crave that elusive “one more chance.”

Some are former NFL draft picks who played in games, but most were undrafted free agents who spent time with a handful of teams during training camps and offseason workouts. Maybe two months on the practice squad here, two days there, two months out of work, waiting for a call to return or start somewhere else anew.

And there’s the key phrase: waiting for the call. Without that hope that lives within hundreds of NFL hopefuls, there would be no USFL. It’s the call that says, “We’d like to work you out.” Or, better yet, “We’d like to sign you.”

USFL Week Six - Pittsburgh Maulers v New Orleans Breakers
New Orleans Breakers quarterback Kyle Sloter. (Getty Images)

The USFL provided an alternative to these players. Instead of waiting around for a phone to buzz, and players spending their time lifting and running and hoping, the USFL offered a chance to actually play football. And the USFL paid players to do it. Who says no? Players are so committed to making it back that they’re willing to put on the pads, play football each week, put 10 games on film and, as Johnston told me, “Demand a re-evaluation.”

I revisited the topic with Johnston this week, with the regular season behind him and the two-week postseason ahead. His initial assessment of What is the USFL evolved over the season, and he now views the league as a way for players to face why they didn’t stick in the NFL. The USFL gave players a chance to resolve those issues.

“That was the big epiphany for me during the season: How can they stay in the NFL?” Johnston said. “What was the disconnect between their talent, and their ability to stay in the NFL? Note taking? Punctuality? And how can you fix it?”

This is in sync with the one mantra I heard over and over from players and coaches of all teams: “We’re all here for a reason.”

Here are a few of those players and their reasons:

Frank Ginda, LB, Michigan Panthers: Tackling machine who once led the nation in tackles at San Jose State and finished second in the USFL in tackles. NFL experience with Arizona, Miami and New Orleans says Ginda needed the USFL not to pile up tackles, but to show he could be an asset in pass coverage.

Chris Orr, LB, New Jersey Generals: Excelling as a physical, old school, Big 10 linebacker earned him a season with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. But what he told me was a “lack of hip-flippin’ and running” experience got him sent home. Orr said yes to the USFL to show he’s an athletic, sideline-to-sideline linebacker, not just an inside-the-box thumper.

Sal Canella, TE, New Orleans Breakers: At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, has the perfect build to detach from the line of scrimmage to play a hybrid WR role, which he did primarily in his career at Auburn. But does he have what it takes to line up next to the tackle and hold his own in the run game? A brief six-day stint with the Dolphins made it clear Canella needed to look for chances to “display toughness, and prove I’m willing to block.” Notably, Canella shined in the USFL playoff semifinals over the weekend, with 12 catches for 154 yards in a tough loss for the Breakers.

Kyle Sloter, QB, New Orleans Breakers: The most wide-ranging, winding, diverse road to the USFL of all started when Sloter was an undrafted free agent in Denver in 2017. By 2021, he had been on the active roster or practice squad of six different teams. Sloter also spent a chunk of time as a “street free agent,” meaning he was at home, in between opportunities, waiting for the coveted call. Teams are allowed to bring in such players to their own buildings and put them through a specified workout to see if they want to sign them. Including those tryouts and the six teams he was actually with, Kyle has been inside the building of 26 of the 32 NFL teams.

Mind boggling.

When I sat with Sloter to talk about this story, he said his motivation to play in the USFL was simple, but lofty: to prove he could be PLAY in the NFL.

Excel in the preseason? Done that.

Get signed to the practice squad? Many times.

Earn a season on the active roster? Box checked.

Starting games is all Sloter wants. I applaud his confidence and willingness to talk about his aspirations so openly.

The USFL provided the 10 regular season games to show it, and the Breakers led the league in passing offense.

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to face Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week features another exciting match-up as Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7 PM ET with Football Night In America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: When is the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline?

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs game

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!