The new United Football League is a United States-based spring football league that plays an outdoor-arena brand of football from April to August. The new UFL has fourteen franchises throughout the southeast and midwest. Although the new UFL is not associated with the previous iterations of the United Football League, the previous versions also had a storied history.
The first iteration of the United Football League (UFL) began operation in 1961 and continued until 1964. The league served eight teams, primarily based in the Midwestern United States.
After the completion of the 1964 season, league operations decided to suspend league operations. Some of the more ambitious owners of the UFL formed the new Continental Football League. The more conservative owners, who wanted to continue as a regional Midwestern bus league, broke away to form the Professional Football League of America in February 1965.
It was founded as an alternative to the National Football League and American Football League. The league drew many of its players from the Big Ten college conference with Midwest-based franchises.
Among the league’s notable feats, it became the first football league to operate teams in both the United States and Canada when it launched the Quebec Rifles in 1964, and it revived the names of the Cleveland/Canton Bulldogs and Akron Pros, two early-era NFL teams.
The United Football League (UFL) launched again in October 2009 and played four more seasons, with the 2012 season being cut short in October 2012. The small league, which never had more than five teams playing at one time, played most of its games in markets where the National Football League (NFL) had no current presence. In addition, unlike most alternative professional football leagues, the second installment of the UFL played all its games in the traditional fall season, competing directly with the NFL, college football, and high school football.
The UFL occupied the second tier of professional football in the United States, behind the NFL. The league primarily consisted of players who had previously played for an NFL team. Although the league had no connection with the NFL and had never intended to foster any such connection, some speculated that it could have become a minor or "developmental" league for the NFL.
Early news reports had speculated that based on the UFL's initial plan, the league would become a "competitor" to the NFL. The UFL seemed poised to capitalize on fan disgust with the NFL should the established league lockout its players before the 2011−12 season. The thought was that the NFL would fail to reach an agreement with the NFL players' union after the end of their collective bargaining agreement. This would have led to the 2011−12 NFL season being delayed or canceled, leaving the UFL the only pro football available. The NFL did lock out their players, but the situation was resolved in July 2011, before the start of the NFL season. This negated any benefits the UFL might have hoped to reap from the labor dispute.
Throughout the league's history, the Las Vegas Locomotives were:
The most successful team.
Winning two of the three championships.
Appearing in (but losing) the third.
Bill Hambrecht and Tim Armstrong founded the 2009 United Football League. The UFL initially had plans to start with eight teams with $12–20 million rosters playing in targeted sites in the fall of 2008. T. Boone Pickens and Mark Cuban had originally been in discussion with the league as potential owners, but both backed out before the 2009 season.
The markets chosen for the 2009 season were New York City (Sentinels), Las Vegas (Locomotives), Orlando (Florida Tuskers), and the San Francisco Bay Area (California Redwoods).
The launch of the new UFL is led by founder Joe McClendon III and his desire for a strong and healthy alternative for American football players to the NFL. For years the NFL and Canadian Football League (CFL) were the only options available to recent college and high school football players seeking a professional football career, with only 1% of these players receiving an NFL opportunity and less than 200 being eligible to participate in the CFL each season because American player roster limits and with over 16,000 players that exhaust their amateur playing eligibility each year this creates a massive lack of opportunity.
America is the land of opportunity, and football is America's game. The new UFL will be where this opportunity and love for football meet.
With 14 franchises based throughout the U.S. South and Midwest, the UFL will provide over 300 players with a professional football opportunity.
UFL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
1961 Grand Rapids Blazers
1962 Wheeling Ironmen
1963 Wheeling Ironmen
1964 Canton Bulldogs
2009 Las Vegas Locomotives
2010 Las Vegas Locomotives
2011 Virginia Destroyers
2012 Las Vegas Locomotives
NOTABLE FORMER UFL PLAYERS
Daunte Culpepper, QB
Simeon Rice, DE
Brian Griese, QB
Jeff Garcia, QB
Ahman Green, QB
NOTABLE FORMER COACHES