The Generals opened the fledgling spring league’s inaugural season at +750 to win its championship, and CBS Sports had them dead-last in their preseason power rankings (yes, these actually existed). But they don’t play the games on paper! And YOUR New Jersey Generals are now sitting all alone atop the USFL’s North Division (which consists of teams assigned to, but not playing in, cities in the northern part of the United States).
The Generals downed the Pittsburgh Maulers, 21-13, on Saturday for their third straight win. They are now 3-1 with their lone loss coming to the undefeated Birmingham Stallions (who actually play in Birmingham) in the season opener.
The Maulers are really bad (and also don’t play in Pittsburgh). They are winless, former Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta is now the starter and they also cut a guy because he didn’t like chicken salad. But no matter. The Generals are rolling along behind their two-quarterback system and the league’s top rushing attack. They have some questions at kicker — Nick Rose missed two fourth-quarter field goals that would have put the game away — but don’t let that get you down. It’s never too early to think about a parade down the Canyon of Heroes (or at least in front of the oil drums in Moonachie).
The USFL is drawing solid ratings despite having no fans in the stands at their single-site games in Alabama and very little mainstream buzz. So while it still has several months left in its first season, there is a good chance FOX will keep it going and there will be a Year 2. That said, it’s hard to imagine the Generals will ever actually get to MetLife Stadium (or Red Bull Arena). No one around here cares and no one is going to go to the games. Plus the single-site approach is cheap and it fits what the USFL truly is: A big TV show for degenerate gamblers and channel-flippers played on a sound stage that doubles as a football stadium.
But anyway, go Generals. Snap the metropolitan area championship curse.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]