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USFL will return with eight original team names

The Football Night in America crew runs through a wild Week 11 around the NFL as top teams were taken down and stars dazzled.

The USFL really will be back.

On Monday, the Fox-owned football league announced that the original eight team names will be used for the eight teams of the reboot that comes nearly 40 years later.

And even though the eight teams will play in one location (travel costs, zero), the teams will carry the names of the cities in which they won’t be playing.

The North Division will have the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers. In the South Division, the four teams will be the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits.

Actually, one of the seven team names could be geographically correct. The games, per published reports, may be played at UAB’s stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.

The decision to play the games in one place shows that the league won’t be placing much, if any, of a premium on fan presence or ticket revenue. It’s about TV and, ultimately, it’s about giving gamblers a reason to gamble.

Basically, it’s a floating craps game that will hover over one city, giving bettors who are used to wagering on football during football season more football on which to wager.

That’s why an alternative league (or two) in the spring can work. It’s also why the ground is fertile for an alternative pro league on Tuesday or Wednesday nights during football season. Which is one of the reasons why the NFL should consider playing games on those nights, each and every week.