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USFL Maulers Get New Look, Move Closer to Pittsburgh



Pittsburgh Maulers

The Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL will look a lot more like a Pittsburgh team in 2023, and they’ll be a lot closer to home, but they still won’t be playing in Pittsburgh.

The Maulers were part of the USFL’s revival in 2022, but the league played all of its regular season games last spring in Birmingham, Alabama.

The team is expected to play the 2023 season in Canton, Ohio, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. A press conference announcing the move is scheduled for Wednesday.

The USFL is going from one hub city for its eight teams to four. Birmingham and Memphis will host the four South Division teams, while Detroit and Canton will host the North Division.

The Maulers will likely be paired with the New Jersey Generals in Northeast Ohio, while the Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars are expected to play at Ford Field in Detroit. The 2022 USFL title game was also held in Canton.

Last season, Maulers wore the purple and orange color scheme that the 1980s Maulers of the original USFL had worn.

This year, they’ll be wearing black and gold, the team announced on Tuesday.

“It falls in line with what Pittsburgh expects and has and has modeled,” new head coach Ray Horton said in a video posted to the team’s social media accounts.

Horton, a longtime Steelers assistant coach is taking over for Kirby Wilson, another former Steelers assistant coach, who stepped down after the 2022 season. Wilson led the Maulers to a 1-9 record and a last-place finish. They scored a league-low 147 points last spring.

The original 1984 Maulers also had a tough first season, going 3-15 and tying for third place in their division. That team never got a second shot, as the USFL moved to a fall schedule to compete head-to-head with the NFL. The original Maulers shared Three Rivers Stadium with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It’s unclear if these Maulers will ever call Pittsburgh home, though Canton is only a two-hour drive from Downtown Pittsburgh. The league kept seven of the eight teams from 2022, moving the Michigan Panthers home to Detroit and getting Pittsburgh closer. The Tampa Bay Bandits suspended operations and were replaced by the Memphis Showboats for 2023.

The league has indicated a desire for all teams to eventually play in their home markets. The XFL, which will will go head-to-head with the USFL this spring, has eight teams in separate markets once again this spring in that league’s return after a two-year hiatus.

The 2023 USFL season is expected to start this April and run through July. The exact schedule and format has not been released.