Tough living in the shadow of something greater.  The United Football League or UFL is trying yet again to generate interest in Spring football.  You would think fans would gravitate towards this league after a six-week break from the NFL, the Super Bowl, and all that college football.  But is that happening?

The UFL is a merger of the USFL and the defunct XFL, with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson as a driving force.  This league has eight teams:

Birmingham Stallions

This team has won the USFL championship a couple times and are a powerhouse in this season.  Good for Alabama to have a pro team; of course they have the Crimson Tide too.

Credit: Gregory Shamus; Getty Images

Houston Roughnecks

The word to describe this team is "Reincarnation."  Anyone remember the Houston Oilers?

Memphis Showboats

The home of Elvis and Graceland.  Why am I not surprised?

Houston Roughnecks v Michigan Panthers
Credit: Getty Images for UFL

Michigan Panthers

I suppose there's only so many predators to use for mascots.  The SEC have three college teams using Tigers.

Arlington Renegades

Cue up the Styx song...

Credit: Matthew Stockman; Getty Images

D.C. Defenders

Seriously?  Anyone here with a political bone in their body is probably rolling their eyes at this one.  This team may become more hated than the New England Patriots

San Antonio Brahmas

I had to look up and remind myself what a Brahma looked like.  With the floppy ears, it's the bloodhound of cattle breeds.

Of the eight teams in the UFL, three are from Texas.  The game is a religion in the state.  My father repeated a saying he heard: Remember the Sabbath and keep it Football!

St. Louis Battlehawks

What is a Battlehawk?  A web search revealed it is a variant on the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk attack helicopter.  Okay, I can go along with it as a mascot.  After all, wasn't there a question of what a Seahawk is.

Postscript: After this article was posted, I received a nice note from the Director of Media Relations.  Montana has a connection to the Battlehawks in linebacker Callahan O'Reilly from Bozeman and Montana State.  He is on Injured Reserve right now, but hopefully will be back in action soon.  Quoting the Media Director Brian Stull "With Callahan part of the team, we consider Montana to be part of Battlehawks Nation!!"  Thanks much for the message, Brian.

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I like to watch a little football when I can, while working on other things.  There are some minor differences in the UFL rules, and the coaches, referees and other personnel are mic'd up so we hear the interactions.  I watched a game with the Battlehawks last weekend and noticed a lot of fans in the lower part of the stadium, so this team is getting some traction.

My father liked to watch football, but he didn't follow teams or stats and knew few players.  He just liked watching those big men hit into each other.

Maybe it's just the infancy of the league, trying to grow into acceptance.  I think the NFL went through the same phase.  Like the first season of a new TV show, looking for that style that will carry it into new seasons.

What if the UFL fails on its own?

My suggestion is honestly to fold these teams into the NFL as expansions.  This would raise the total teams to 40.  Then extend the season by several weeks and play a majority of the teams each weekend.  This would allow more bye weeks for players to recover from injuries.

So for now, I'll still tune in when able, and like Dad I will watch for the action.  Now if Montana puts together a pro team, I'll root for them.  Incorporate the team and I'll probably invest a bit.  No, I'm not bias...

Are you following the UFL?  Have a fav team?  Or are you patiently(?) waiting for the NFL?  Let me know.

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