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Will Birmingham play in the United Football League?

September 16, 2021
     United Football League logo
The proposed United Football League announces they are placing a franchise in the Magic City for their inaugural season next year. The team will be called the Birmingham Steeldawgs.

No further information was provided in the release, such as the venue or owner, but that will be revealed later in the fall.

The name seems to be a nod to the city's longest running pro football team, the arenafootball2's Birmingham Steeldogs. The Steeldogs franchise played for eight years, 2000 to 2007; seven as the Birmingham Steeldogs and the final year as the Alabama Steeldogs.

The Steeldawgs will be joining teams in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Houston, Jackson (MS), Kansas City, Little Rock, Pittsburgh, Richmond, St. Louis, and Virginia Beach. More cities could be joining in the near future.

The UFL will be an outdoor league, playing an eight-man arena football style in the spring. Each team will play 18 games and the season will run from March until late July, with a neutral site championship game to be held in August.

While the name is new, the league is not. The UFL was named the National Gridiron League until April of this year.

     National Gridiron League logo
The NGL was founded by Joe E. McClendon in 2019. He tried to create an indoor league that year but was not able to complete the process. In 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and the league was dormant. Reportedly, before the COVID-19 shut down the league was to hold a training camp in Evansville, Indiana. Players arrived at the hotel expecting to have rooms reserved, only to find out there were none and McClendon was nowhere to be found.

This year, the league was to have a bubble season in Ft Wayne, Indiana playing outdoors. McClendon told his players that the city was going to help pay for their housing, but the city said there was no such agreement. Tensions ran high in Ft Wayne where a loud protest by the players at a shopping mall, led by McClendon, got so out of hand that the police were called. Later, in a player’s meeting, McClendon was caught on video in a physical altercation with a player. The situation got so bad for some players that they started GoFundMe pages.

Oddly, the United Football League claims to be related to both of the two previous United Football Leagues.

The first United Football League played from 1961 to 1964, primarily in the Midwestern United States and drew players mostly from the Big Ten conference. Their biggest claim-to-fame was being the first football league to have teams in both the United States and Canada, when it added the Quebec Rifles in 1964. After that season, the league was basically split in two; the more ambitious owners formed the new Continental Football League, while the more conservative owners wanted to continue as a regional Midwestern bus league and formed the Professional Football League.

The second United Football League also lasted four years, from 2009 to 2012 and had teams from coast to coast. The league had typical ups and downs, but as usual, financial shortfalls doomed the league and their last season was cut short.

September 22, 2021
The UFL releases the 2022 schedule. Birmingham is part of the schedule but the venue is still unknown.

2022 Proposed Schedule
  Birmingham Steeldawgs
Date Opponent
  04/02/2022     Chicago Blue Bombers
04/09/2022   at St. Louis Stampede
04/16/2022   Kansas City Kapitals
04/23/2022   at Atlanta Wildcats
04/30/2022   Pittsburgh Pioneers
05/07/2022   Mississippi Mudcats
05/14/2022   at Baton Rouge Red Sticks
05/21/2022   Houston Bighorns
05/28/2022   at Virginia Beach Destroyers  
06/04/2022   Arkansas Twisters
06/18/2022   at Richmond Iron Horses
06/25/2022   at Pittsburgh Pioneers
07/02/2022   Richmond Iron Horses
07/09/2022   at Houston Bighorns
07/16/2022   Baton Rouge Red Sticks
07/23/2022   at Kansas City Kapitals
07/30/2022   at Chicago Blue Bombers
08/06/2022   St. Louis Stampede

February 13, 2022
The United Football League's website no longer lists the Birmingham Steeldawgs as members of the league.

The reason is unknown, since no official announcement was made.

The league has restructured from four divisions, and is now divided into two conferences.

Also, three new teams were added; Charleston Pirates, Louisville Firebirds, and Oklahoma City Wranglers.
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  Arkansas Twisters logo   Atlanta Wildcats logo   Baton Rouge Redsticks logo   Charleston Pirates logo   Chicago Blue Bombers logo  
  Arkansas Twisters   Atlanta Wildcats   Baton Rouge Redsticks   Charleston Pirates   Chicago Blue Bombers  
  Houston Bighorns logo   Kansas City Kapitals logo   Mississippi Mudcats logo   Oklahoma City Wranglers logo   Pittsburgh Pioneers logo  
  Houston Bighorns   Kansas City Kapitals   Mississippi Mudcats   Oklahoma City Wranglers   Pittsburgh Pioneers  
  Richmond Iron Horses logo   Louisville Firebirds logo   St. Louis Stampede logo   Virginia Beach Destroyers logo      
  Richmond Iron Horses   Rochester Firehawks   St. Louis Stampede   Virginia Beach Destroyers      
March 2022
At some point in the month, the United Football League quietly pushed back their inaugural season to 2023.
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Last update: May 04, 2023