The journey to the 2023 USFL Championship Game has ended, with the final two teams now competing against each other. The North Division representative was decided in the big game Saturday night when the Pittsburgh Maulers defeated the Michigan Panthers 31-27 in an overtime thriller. After a 1-9 campaign in 2022, the Maulers can make an incredible turnaround from worst to first.
The Birmingham Stallions will face off against the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL championship after winning the South Division championship. The 2023 USFL playoff breakdown includes the final regular season standings, playoff results/schedule, and highlights of the upcoming championship matchups.
Playoff Results & Schedule
Saturday, June 24th
USFL North Division Championship: Pittsburgh 31, Michigan 27, OT
Sunday, June 25th
USFL South Division Championship: Birmingham 47, New Orleans 22.
USFL Championship Game
Saturday, July 1st
Pittsburgh vs. Birmingham: at Canton, Ohio, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Analysis of the USFL Championship Game.
The USFL’s best offense takes on the league’s top defense when the Birmingham Stallions face the Pittsburgh Giants in the USFL Championship Game on Saturday, 8 p.m. ET in Canton, Ohio, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Stallions finished with the league’s best regular-season record at 8-2, then defeated the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL South title game, 47-22 in front of Birmingham’s hometown fans at Defensive Stadium.
Led by quarterback Alex McGough, Birmingham aims to defend its USFL title from last season. The Stallions, coached by Skip Holtz, have a record of 20-3 and are averaging 28.7 points, the highest in the league, in the 2023 season.
The Maulers (5-6) clinched the North Division title with a 31-27 overtime win over the Michigan Panthers on Saturday. Pittsburgh finished 1-9 in the division last year, and with new head coach Ray Horton, the Maulers now find themselves one win away from the worst-to-first transition.
The series is based on seasons.
The Stallions won the only contest between these two teams during the regular season, a 24-20 victory over Pittsburgh in Week 5 in Canton. However, Pittsburgh’s defense kept McGough from ruining the game. The Florida native finished with just 157 passing yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Moula quarterback Troy Williams finished 21 of 33 for 217 passing yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions in that contest. Williams also ran for 63 yards. Dion Cain’s 91-yard kickoff return for a score in the fourth quarter was the difference in the game.
Key matchup: QB Alex McGough vs. Pittsburgh secondary
The Muellers finished the regular season as the USFL’s top team in takeaways, with 20. Pittsburgh’s defense forced McGaugh to throw two interceptions in the previous matchup and will likely need to do more of the same to have a chance at the title game.
In particular, McGough’s ability to stretch plays with his feet and keep the chains moving is a vital part of Birmingham’s offense. McGough accounted for 394 yards and five touchdowns in his team’s runaway win over the Breakers.
The Maulers must devise a scheme that keeps McGough in the pocket, whether he uses defensive spies on the quarterback or camouflage blitzes that confuse the mobile signal caller and slow his decision-making.
Here are the key statistics.
Birmingham averaged 37 points in the playoffs in the last two years. In a close loss to the Stallions earlier this year, the Maulers held Birmingham to 281 total yards and an average of 4.7 yards per game.
The Maulers finished a league-worst 29.7% in the red zone during the regular season but converted 3 of 4 red zone opportunities in the win over Michigan.
Birmingham rushed 30 times for a season-high 245 rushing yards against New Orleans. The Maulers held Michigan to 40 rushing yards last week.
The final regular season standings have been announced.
x-Pittsburgh Maulers — 4-6, 4-2
x-Michigan Panthers — 4-6, 3-3
o-Philadelphia Stars — 4-6, 2-4
New Jersey Generals — 3-7, 3-3
Ex-Birmingham Stallions — 8-2, 4-2
x-New Orleans Breakers — 7-3, 4-2
o-Houston Gamblers — 5-5, 2-4
o-Memphis Showboats — 5-5, 2-4
x-clinched a playoff berth
o- Eliminated from playoff contention
Eric D. Williams is an NFL writer for Fox Sports. He has reported on the NFL for over a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN, and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter.
The 2023 USFL Championship will be the culminating game of the 2023 United States Football League (USFL) season. The championship game will feature two teams, determined by the final regular-season standings, competing for the league title and bragging rights as the top football team in the USFL. This year’s game is expected to be a very exciting matchup between two great teams with a winner-take-all attitude.