The USFL’s inaugural season comes down to Sunday, when the Birmingham Stallions and Philadelphia Stars will duke it out in the championship. After a 10-week regular season, both the Stallions and Stars found themselves in Canton, Ohio, for the postseason and were able to defeat their respective division rivals to be the last two clubs standing.
Given that we’ve reached championship weekend, you can say that this was undoubtedly the most successful spring league that the football world has seen thus far. Previous leagues had folded midseason, so the USFL should consider this a tremendous win. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the USFL will be back for a second season in 2023. While the league will still hold office in Birmingham, Alabama (where it held all of its games for 2022), the plan is to have all eight teams play in two to four markets.
Before we go too far looking into the future of the USFL, however, let’s finish up this season. Below, you’ll find a full breakdown of the championship game along with a guide on how you’ll be able to watch the action unfold.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, July 3 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (Canton, Ohio)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Stallions -4.5 (-115), O/U 45
Philadelphia Stars vs. Birmingham Stallions
The Stallions have been the team to beat in the USFL from the jump, so it isn’t surprising to see them in the championship. They flirted with a perfect season until Week 9 before falling to the Houston Gamblers, but have bounced back nicely with two wins in a row, including a 31-17 victory over the New Orleans Breakers in the first round of the playoffs last week.
All three phases contributed to that win as they poured on 21 of their points in the second quarter. During that stretch, the offense marched on a 72-yard touchdown drive, the defense forced an interception that was returned for a score, and the special teams unit got in on the action with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well.
Throughout the regular season, they led the South Division with 23.4 points per game and were second in the USFL in points allowed (16.9 points per game). Birmingham has also shown a strong ability to get after the quarterback as it has 27 sacks on the year. Edge rusher DeMarquis Gates has spearheaded that attack with 6.5 sacks during the regular season. Gates also led the defensive effort in their playoff win against New Orleans, totaling six tackles to go along with a pick-six.
Birmingham’s defense will need to be just as stout in this title game as it will the high-flying offense of the Stars.
Philadelphia led the league in scoring (26.2 ppg) by a considerable amount. A large part of its success offensively has come from quarterback Case Cookus. In just seven starts, he passed for 1,334 yards (fourth-most in the USFL), completed 62.5% of his throws, and has 12 touchdowns to just five interceptions. While Cookus was stellar through the regular season, he did struggle against the Generals’ defense in the playoff opener. In that game, he completed just 50% of his passes for 133 yards and an interception. However, he did make up for those deficiencies in the passing game with 39 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
While the Stars’ offense has certainly shown it can pile up points, their defense was tied for the most points allowed per game (24.3) during the regular season.
The Stallions and Stars met just once during the regular season and it was Birmingham who came out on top with a 31-17 victory in Week 5.