This crazy experiment from the USFL might work

Build a new stadium in Birmingham, said the opponents, and it will be a really nice stadium that is empty most of the year.

Yes, about it.

From Saturday night, an entire eight-team professional football league will begin playing matches at the Protective Stadium when the USFL begins its season with a match between the Birmingham Stallions and the New Jersey Generals. The game starts at 18.30 and it will be broadcast nationally on Fox and NBC. Three more matches will be played on Sunday at Protective Stadium (11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.), and a total of 43 matches will be played at either Protective or Legion Field in a season running through June.

An entire league of football players. And they live in hotels in Birmingham. It’s a lot of beer, and just imagine the stories coming out of the lobby bar down at the Sheraton.

Is it all a little insane? Maybe, but all good ideas are filled with a touch of crazy. Personally, I do not care about the quality of football. Birmingham is about to be in the national spotlight in a positive way, and that exposure in major TV markets across the country is worth every penny to bring the USFL to the city.

Each match will be televised on national television and it is written in the contracts that each block of television will contain two commercials promoting Birmingham. Smile, Birmingham, you’re about to be in many living rooms around the country.

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Can you see now, no-sayers, what happens when Birmingham work together? Opportunities arise. Progress is being made. This is a city they used to call the football capital of the South. It feels like that again.

Maybe the USFL is back next spring. Maybe the league folds like all the others. If this is only temporary, then enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it. However, let me make this pitch to retain at least a portion of the USFL in the Birmingham area beyond this season.

Arizona has the Cactus League. Florida has the Grapefruit League. I do not see a reason why the Birmingham area could not be the permanent home of a spring football league.

The first USFL Finals will be played in Canton, Ohio, at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Yes, it’s a little disappointing that the USFL playoffs will be somewhere other than Birmingham, but that’s not because the USFL really wanted to get away.

Y’all, the USFL has to leave Protective Stadium because the World Games are coming to Birmingham this summer.

Birmingham, Alabama, please listen, because it’s really simple. The next few months will be a transformative time for a city whose moment in the spotlight is finally here. Embrace these events. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. For generations and generations, my whole life and beyond, the city of Birmingham has lived under a cloud of disgrace both nationally and internationally. However, it is old Birmingham.

The new Birmingham will make its debut this spring.

No one really knows what to expect on Saturday, and I’ve heard it includes the people who run the USFL, but it’s going to be a spectacle, this “bubble season” experiment, and it’s funny that it all happens in Birmingham. The teams use 38-man lists of players who still hold on to their dreams of getting into the NFL. It may not be the best version of the game, in other words, but it will still be compelling television for important demographic information.

Let’s call it what it is. This is a made-for-TV league that is going to go head-to-head with the NBA Playoffs. The success of the USFL will not be determined by the number of fans in the seats, but by the number of TV viewers around the country.

But tickets cost $ 10, and children ages 10 and under enter free. Go to as many games as possible. I used to call Birmingham Minor League Sports Capital of the World in columns, but I was only halfway to joking. However, it is 100 percent official now.

Even Birmingham’s coach for this thing is a descendant of a football original. The stallions are led by Louis Leo Holtz, Jr., who most people just know as “Skip” Holtz, son of Lou.

Want a local story about Birmingham’s coach? Holtz begins his time with the USFL after being fired by Louisiana Tech for winning 1-4 against UAB since the Blazers’ return to football.

A few more local angles … New Jersey General Coach Mike Riley played for Paul Bryant in Alabama in the 1970s. When it was time for Riley to sign a quarterback for the Generals, he teamed up with Luis Perez, who played quarterback for the Birmingham Iron from the failed Alliance of American Football.

The AAF still owes Birmingham money, and therefore it is right to be naturally concerned that yet another upstart spring league is coming to town. This one is owned by Fox Sports and they have invested a lot of money to make it work. I hope it does.

The Iron Bowl is the state of Alabama’s football Christmas, but spring games are when football teams resurface and are presented to fans as new hope. So it’s this Easter weekend with Crimson Tides’ spring game, and then the launch of an entire professional football league in Birmingham, that bears the name of the long-dead USFL.

On Saturday, an attempt will be made to attend A-Day in Tuscaloosa, and then reach Birmingham in time for the start of the USFL football season. Admittedly, these are the actions of a degenerate football lover, but then it’s the football target group this spring.

In Alabama, it describes the majority of the population, but Fox Sports rates greater. If this is a country with football junkies, then this weekend might best demonstrate the addiction.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for Alabama Media Group, and author of “We Want Bama: A Season of Hope and the Creation of Nick Saban’s ‘Ultimate Team'”. You can find him on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

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