What is the UFL? Teams, rosters, schedule, rules and more for the new 2024 football league

The USFL and XFL are no longer competing for spring supremacy. Instead, they are teaming up to form one spring football league that hopes to last longer than its counterparts.

The two leagues merged during the 2023-24 offseason with one goal in mind: to pool their resources and create a spring league that can become long-lasting.

Will the parties that comprise the UFL be able to make that happen? Only time will tell, but the 2024 season should tell fans a lot about the league’s future.

The good news for the league is that it has several solid springtime coaches and plenty of proven talent returning to the fold. That continuity should allow the on-field play to be high quality, even as players change teams and systems as a part of the crunch from 16 teams across two leagues to eight within one.

Here’s everything to know about the UFL as it prepares to play its first season.

STREAM: Watch all UFL games live on Fubo (free trial)

What is the UFL?

The UFL is the newest spring football start-up and will play its first full season in 2024. The league formed when the USFL and XFL merged after competing head-to-head for one spring season in 2023.

The UFL will follow the same format as the USFL and XFL before it did. It’s an eight-team league with a 10-week regular season and two-week postseason. The league is starting its season on March 30, about six weeks later than the XFL began in 2023 and two weeks earlier than the USFL.

This iteration of the UFL has no relation to the league that ran from 1961-64 or the spring league that existed from 2009-12. It’s simply the name that the USFL and XFL chose after their merger.

The UFL is co-owned by Fox Corporation, RedBird Capital Partners, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Dany Garcia. Fox previously footed the bill for the USFL while RedBird, Johnson, and Garcia were in charge of the XFL, so it’s expected that the two ownership groups will split the league’s costs down the middle after merging.

Garcia will serve as the chairwoman of the UFL, while Johnson continues to be a figurehead for the league. Former Bills president Russ Brandon will serve as the league’s president after holding that title with the XFL in 2023. Daryl Johnston will be the league’s executive vice president of football operations after serving in that same role in the USFL for its two seasons in 2022 and ’23.

What was the original UFL?

The UFL first existed from 1961-64, when it became the first football league to operate in both the United States and Canada. It was based in the midwestern United States and had teams in it such as the Canton Bulldogs and Akron Pros, but it folded in 1964.

The better-known UFL played from 2009-12 and was devised to be a potential competitor to the NFL. It placed teams in non-NFL markets like Hartford, Conn., Sacramento, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev. and hoped to capitalize on a potential NFL work stoppage during the 2011 NFL lockout.

The NFL players and owners resolved their CBA dispute in July of 2011, which took away any potential advantage the UFL could find as a competitor. As a result, the league played only parts of four seasons but saw the final one in 2012 cut short as the UFL folded.

While the original UFL didn’t survive, it helped kickstart the careers of Jay Gruden and Sean McVay, who worked together on the Florida Tuskers staff. Today’s UFL will hope to similarly develop coaching talent while also working to get some of its best players and chance to find success again in the NFL.

BUY NOW: Get the best prices for UFL games all season on StubHub

UFL team names for 2024

Below are the eight teams playing in the UFL during the 2024 season:

  • Arlington Renegades
  • Birmingham Stallions
  • DC Defenders
  • Houston Roughnecks
  • Memphis Showboats
  • Michigan Panthers
  • San Antonio Brahmas
  • St. Louis Battlehawks

The teams will be split into two divisions: the USFL division and the XFL division, as seen below.

USFL division XFL division
Birmingham Stallions Arlington Renegades
Houston Roughnecks DC Defenders
Memphis Showboats San Antonio Brahmas
Michigan Panthers St. Louis Battlehawks

The Houston Roughnecks are the lone team that crossed league lines for the divisional realignment. However, their team is comprised of the staff and players from the USFL’s Houston Gamblers. The UFL simply decided to keep the Roughnecks branding over that of the Gamblers.

UFL coaches, players, rosters for 2024

The UFL navigated a merger during the 2023-24 offseason, but its rosters for the 2024 season have been set. There are plenty of returning talents — most notably, quarterback Case Cookus of the Showboats — while the Stallions and Renegades are returning their championship cores this season.

Below is a breakdown of some of the notable players on each team and their head coaches for the 2024 UFL season.

Bob Stoops

(Getty Images)

Arlington Renegades

  • Head coach: Bob Stoops

Bob Stoops is entering his third season coaching spring football. He led the Renegades in 2020 before the XFL was shuttered by the COVID pandemic and coached Arlington to a surprising XFL championship in 2023.

Stoops’ record with the Renegades is just 6-9, but he brought the 4-6 team into the postseason last year and saw them get hot at the right time. In-season pickup Luis Perez proved to be a solid starter and helped Arlington upset the Roughnecks and Defenders to win the title.

Stoops, 63, enjoyed a storied 17-year career at Oklahoma, posting a 191-48 record and leading the Sooners to 10 Big 12 titles. Oklahoma won a national championship under Stoops’ watch in 2000, and he is one of the UFL’s most successful coaches.

The Renegades will rely on Perez to carry them at quarterback once again. They also have 2015 top-10 NFL Draft pick Vic Beasley and former All-Pro second-teamer Marquette King on the roster at edge rusher and punter, respectively. Arlington should have a good defense and an ability to win field possession battles because of that.

Birmingham Stallions

  • Head coach: Skip Holtz

Holtz is gunning to win three consecutive spring league titles, which could establish him as the best spring football coach in the sport’s history. Birmingham posted a 17-3 regular-season record under him and hasn’t lost a postseason game in four tries during his tenure.

Before joining the Stallions, Holtz coached collegiately at UConn, East Carolina, South Florida, and Louisiana Tech. He had a total record of 152-121 during those three stops and won six consecutive bowl games while with the Bulldogs.

Holtz has worked closely with quarterback J’Mar Smith, who played with him at Louisiana Tech and starred for the Stallions in 2022 before being outplayed by Alex McGough in ’23. McGough is now with the Packers, so Smith will be asked to step into the starting role again ahead of former Ole Miss star Matt Corral and dual-threat Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez.

The Stallions also return leading rusher CJ Marable, who spent time with the Patriots last offseason. Linebacker Scooby Wright, tight end Jace Sternberger, and former Clemson receivers Deon Cain and Amari Rodgers are among the other notable names on Birmingham’s loaded roster.

DC Defenders

  • Head coach: Reggie Barlow

Barlow’s first season in the XFL was a great one. He posted a 9-1 record with the Defenders and took home the league’s Coach of the Year honors thanks to his team’s stellar performance. DC came up short in its championship efforts, losing to the Renegades 35-26 in the league title game, but Barlow’s squad still showed well most of the season.

Barlow, 52, spent 15 seasons at Alabama State and Virginia State as a head coach before joining the XFL. He went 83-58 during his time at the programs and led Virginia State to a Div. II playoff appearance in 2017.

Barlow is returning offensive coordinator Fred Kaiss and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to his staff in 2024. That should make D.C. a threat to bounce back even as it faces challenges in a new league.

Star quarterback Jordan Ta’amu is also returning to the Defenders for the 2024 UFL season along with the XFL’s top rusher Abram Smith. Ta’amu will make use of former Philadelphia Stars star Chris Rowland and former NFL wideout Keke Coutee, as well.

D.C.’s top-tier defense will build itself in the physical mold of safety D.J. Swearinger, while former Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley will attempt to emerge as the team’s top cornerback.

Houston Roughnecks

  • Head coach: Curtis Johnson

Johnson coached the Houston Gamblers last season, but the Gamblers and Roughnecks merged into one during the offseason. The result? The Roughnecks branding is here to stay, but it’s the Gamblers coaching staff and players that largely remained in Houston.

Johnson spent the 2023 season in charge of the Gamblers and led them to a solid 5-5 record. Houston got hot at the end of the season, and Johnson seems poised to make them a sleeper in 2024.

The 62-year-old Johnson has plenty of NFL experience under Sean Payton with the Saints. He was a receivers coach from 2006-11 before taking the Tulane coaching job. He went 15-34 at that stop before returning to the NFL with the Bears and eventually rejoining the Saints as a senior offensive assistant.

Johnson — who won Super Bowl 44 with the Saints — has questions to answer at quarterback, Reid Sinnett, Jarrett Guarantano, and Nolan Henderson figure to fight for the starting job. Running back Mark Thompson figures to once again be the focal point of Houston’s offense given that arrangement.

Houston’s defense is its calling card, and 2022 USFL sack leader Chris Odom should be a viable pass-rushing threat. Reuben Foster, a 2018 first-round pick of the 49ers, could emerge as a star linebacker for the team, as well.

Memphis Showboats

  • Head coach: John DeFilippo 

DeFilippo coached the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers last season, but he was reassigned to the Showboats with New Orleans not fielding a team in 2024. The 45-year-old led the Breakers to a 7-3 record last season, his first at the USFL level.

DeFilippo has plenty of NFL experience, as he had one-year stints as the offensive coordinator of the Browns, Vikings, and Jaguars mixed in with various quarterback coaching gigs. He helped McLeod Bethel-Thompson enjoy a solid 2023, the veteran passer’s first in the USFL, so the expectation is DeFilippo’s offense will carry over to Memphis.

Case Cookus is set to take over for Bethel-Thompson at quarterback. He threw for 2,294 yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions with the Stars last season, so he could outperform these numbers with Memphis.

Cookus will be flanked by Darius Victor, the USFL’s third-leading rusher with the New Jersey Generals last year, and former Breakers receiving weapons Jonathan Adams and Sage Surratt. Star linebacker Vontae Diggs is also coming over from New Orleans and gives DeFilippo’s stop unit plenty of talent.

Michigan Panthers

  • Head coach: Mike Nolan

Nolan was a respected defensive coordinator in the NFL before he made the jump to the USFL in 2023. The 65-year-old led the Michigan Panthers to a 4-6 record but nearly helped them defeat the Pittsburgh Maulers in the North Division championship game with EJ Perry at quarterback.

Nolan’s stint with the Panthers was more successful than the 18-37 mark he earned during his four-year run as the 49ers’ head coach from 2005-08. He has experience with 11 different NFL teams in various defensive roles, so it’s no surprise he brought a strong defensive presence to Michigan while searching for a solid quarterback.

Perry is returning to the Panthers in 2024 and figures to be the team’s full-time starter after only taking on the role down the stretch of last season. Wes Hills and Matthew Colburn seem likely to pair with him in the backfield given their strong USFL experience and the departure of Reggie Corbin.

Defensively, Frank Ginda and Jerod Fernandez may comprise the league’s best linebacking corps. Defensive end Breeland Speaks will look to lead the league in sacks again after recording nine in 2024.

San Antonio Brahmas

  • Head coach: Wade Phillips

Phillips coached the Roughnecks last season, so seeing him in Brahmas colors for the 2024 season will be a bit jarring. That said, Phillips led the Roughnecks to a 7-3 record before their playoff defeat against Arlington.

Phillips also spent 43 years in the NFL, mostly working as one of the best defensive coordinators in the game. He was also a head coach full-time on three occasions and posted a 89-67 regular-season record during his career. His 1-6 postseason record left a bit to be desired, which is why his defensive prowess often was best suited for the coordinator job.

That said, Phillips is a proven success story at the UFL level and should help make the Brahmas competitive while trying to stoke a rivalry with his former team, the Roughnecks. Long-time NFL pass rusher Tarrell Basham should help his defense perform well, while former Steelers running back Anthony McFarland adds some speed to the offense alongside former Broncos second-round pick, wideout Cody Latimer.

The big question for the Brahmas will be at quarterback. Kurt Benkert, Chase Garbers, Quinten Dormady, and Tom Flacco (yes, he’s Joe Flacco’s brother) are competing for the starting job. It appears that Garbers will get the first crack at the job, but Dormady has the most proven spring league success thanks to his stint with the Orlando Guardians last season.

St. Louis Battlehawks

  • Head coach: Anthony Becht

The Battlehawks took a chance by naming Becht their head coach with little coaching experience ahead of the 2023 season. It paid off, as he led the Battlehawks to a 7-3 finish in the XFL’s North Division, though they missed out on the postseason because of a tiebreaker with the Sea Dragons.

Becht’s team played an all-around smooth game and had one of the league’s better offenses thanks to quarterback A.J. McCarron. While the veteran passer spent time with the Bengals last season, he specifically requested his release so he could play for St. Louis again. That was granted, and his return will land the Battlehawks among the favorites to win the UFL title.

McCarron will be able to throw to his tall receiving weapons Hakeem Butler and Marcell Ateman once again, while 5-8 sparkplug Jahcour Pearson joins his receiving corps after enjoying success in Seattle. Add Wayne Gallman in at running back, and St. Louis may boast the top offense in the league.

UFL 2024 schedule

The UFL will have a 10-game regular-season schedule in 2024. The season will run from March 30 through June 2 and consist of 40 regular-season games. There will then be three playoff games — two divisional contests and one championship game — that will take place in June.

The league has announced the dates, times, and TV channels for all of its contests in 2024. The games will air on Fox and the ESPN family of networks, which includes ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC. All of the contests will be available to stream on Fubo.

Below is a look at the full 10-week schedule and matchups for the 2024 UFL season:

Week 1

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., March 30 1 p.m. Birmingham Stallions at Arlington Renegades Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sat., March 30 4 p.m. St. Louis Battlehawks at Michigan Panthers Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., March 31 12 p.m. D.C. Defenders at San Antonio Brahmas ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sun., March 31 3 p.m. Memphis Showboats at Houston Roughnecks ESPN, Fubo Buy now

Week 2

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., April 6 12 p.m. San Antonio Brahmas at Memphis Showboats ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sat., April 6 8 p.m. Arlington Renegades at St. Louis Battlehawks ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 7 12 p.m. Birmingham Stallions at Michigan Panthers ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 7 4 p.m. Houston Roughnecks at D.C. Defenders Fox, Fubo Buy now

Week 3

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., April 13 1 p.m. D.C. Defenders at Arlington Renegades ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sat., April 13 7 p.m. Memphis Showboats at Birmingham Stallions Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 14 12 p.m. Houston Roughnecks at Michigan Panthers ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 14 3 p.m. St. Louis Battlehawks at San Antonio Brahmas ABC, Fubo Buy now

Week 4

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., April 20 12:30 p.m. Memphis Showboats at St. Louis Battlehawks ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sat., April 20 7 p.m. D.C. Defenders at Birmingham Stallions Fox*, Fubo Buy now
Sat., April 20 7 p.m. Michigan Panthers at San Antonio Brahmas Fox*, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 21 2 p.m. Arlington Renegades at Houston Roughnecks FS1, Fubo Buy now

* – game varies by region

Week 5

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., April 27 7 p.m. San Antonio Brahmas at Arlington Renegades Fox*, Fubo Buy now
Sat., April 27 7 p.m. Birmingham Stallions at Houston Roughnecks Fox*, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 28 12 p.m. St. Louis Battlehawks at D.C. Defenders ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sun., April 28 3 p.m. Michigan Panthers at Memphis Showboats Fox, Fubo Buy now

* – game varies by region

Week 6

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., May 4 12 p.m. Birmingham Stallions at Memphis Showboats ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sat., May 4 3 p.m. Houston Roughnecks at St. Louis Battlehawks Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 5 1 p.m. Arlington Renegades at Michigan Panthers Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 5 4 p.m. San Antonio Brahmas at D.C. Defenders Fox, Fubo Buy now

Week 7

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., May 11 1 p.m. Memphis Showboats at Arlington Renegades ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sat., May 11 4 p.m. St. Louis Battlehawks at Birmingham Stallions Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 12 12 p.m. Michigan Panthers at D.C. Defenders ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 12 3 p.m. San Antonio Brahmas at Houston Roughnecks ESPN, Fubo Buy now

Week 8

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., May 18 4 p.m. Memphis Showboats at Michigan Panthers Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sat., May 18 8 p.m. Houston Roughnecks at Birmingham Stallions ESPN2, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 19 12 p.m. D.C. Defenders at St. Louis Battlehawks ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 19 4 p.m. Arlington Renegades at San Antonio Brahmas Fox, Fubo Buy now

Week 9

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., May 25 12 p.m. St. Louis Battlehawks at Arlington Renegades ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sat., May 25 3 p.m. Birmingham Stallions at San Antonio Brahmas ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 26 2:30 p.m. D.C. Defenders at Memphis Showboats Fox*, Fubo Buy now
Sun., May 26 2:30 p.m. Michigan Panthers at Houston Roughnecks Fox*, Fubo Buy now

* – game varies by region

Week 10

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., June 1 12 p.m. Michigan Panthers at Birmingham Stallions ESPN, Fubo Buy now
Sat., June 1 4 p.m. San Antonio Brahmas at St. Louis Battlehawks Fox, Fubo Buy now
Sun., June 2 12 p.m. Arlington Renegades at D.C. Defenders ABC, Fubo Buy now
Sun., June 2 7 p.m. Houston Roughnecks at Memphis Showboats Fox, Fubo Buy now

UFL playoffs schedule 2024

The UFL playoffs will begin immediately after the 2024 season concludes. The first postseason round will be played on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. The UFL championship game will be played in St. Louis on June 16.

The semifinals will feature the top two teams in each division — the USFL and XFL divisions — squaring off against one another. The winners will go to the championship game.

Date Time (ET) Matchup TV/Live stream Tickets
Sat., June 8 3 p.m. Semifinals ABC, Fubo TBA
Sun., June 9 TBA Semifinals Fox, Fubo TBA
Sun., June 16 TBA Championship Fox, Fubo TBA

Rule differences between UFL and NFL

Both the USFL and XFL experimented with rule changes and differences between the spring and NFL games in recent seasons. The results have been successful, as can be seen by the NFL considering adopting the XFL’s kickoff method for its 2024 season.

But what does the UFL have planned this season? Here’s what to know about the rule differences fans will notice when watching spring football in 2024.

Tiered extra-point attempts

The UFL will not have a traditional PAT attempt. The league will allow its teams to attempt a one-, two- or three-point conversion after a touchdown, depending on where they are on the field.

Location Points
2-yard line 1
5-yard line 2
10-yard line 3

There will be no option to kick an extra point. That existed in the USFL, but the XFL’s method was fully adopted for the new spring league venture.

Kickoffs

The NFL is considering adopting the XFL’s kickoff rule, but ironically, the UFL is using a different method. They are adopting the kicking setup of the USFL, which places the kickoff at the kicking team’s own 20-yard line. That creates more return opportunities for teams after kickoffs.

Kickoffs out of bounds will give possession to the receiving team 30 yards from the spot of the kickoff (the 50-yard line) or where the ball went out of bounds, whichever is better for the receiving team.

A kickoff that isn’t touched by the receiving team can only be recovered by the kicking team if it’s more than 20 yards from the spot of the kick.

Onside kick alternative

UFL teams will be allowed to attempt an onside kick at any point in the game, but if a team is tied or behind in the fourth quarter, they can opt to attempt a fourth-and-12 from their own 28-yard line in lieu of an onside kick.

A.J. McCarron and the Battlehawks showcased exactly how exciting the rule change can be last season when he used a fourth-and-12 conversion to lead St. Louis to a come-from-behind win late in the fourth quarter.

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Overtime shootout 

Rather than play an overtime period, the UFL will utilize a best-of-three “shootout-style” extra period that both the XFL and USFL have used.

Under this format, teams alternate attempts to score touchdowns from the opponent’s 5-yard line. If the overtime goes beyond three attempts, it becomes sudden death.

The USFL saw its North Division title game between the Panthers and Maulers go into an overtime shootout. Pittsburgh came out on top to earn the right to go to Canton for the championship game.

Two forward passes

UFL teams can throw two forward passes on the same play provided the first pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage. The second pass must also be released from behind the line of scrimmage for the play to be considered legal.

Defensive Pass Interference

The UFL is adopting college football’s approach to defensive pass interference. The penalty for defensive pass interference can only be a maximum of 15 yards even if it occurs more than 15 yards down the field. If the penalty occurs within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, it is a spot foul.

Replay reviews and coach’s challenges

The UFL will use a centralized replay system. All plays will be subject to review by the replay official and coaches will be able to challenge one call during the game.

Coaches are allowed to challenge calls “involving a foul or potential foul” provided that they have a timeout available.

The replay center is allowed to correct errors on “any call or non-call related to player safety” throughout the game, per the UFL’s website. It can also look at “any officiating ruling in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime that is obviously incorrect and will have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.”

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