Winner of USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers-Michigan Panthers Game to Receive No. 1 Pick
There will be something extra than pride to play for when the Michigan Panthers and Pittsburgh Maulers take the field Sunday afternoon.
The two worst teams in the league, both 1-8, will have extra motivation to win their final game of the 2022 spring season.
The winner of the Panthers and Maulers game will receive the No. 1 pick in the 2023 USFL draft.
In an attempt to prevent tanking, the USFL changed its rule from the worst team in the league crowned as owning the top pick to making a game with two teams a combined 2-16 worth something.
USFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Daryl “Moose” Johnston decided that the move would be necessary.
“We’ve got an unusual situation in our final week of the regular season in the USFL,” Johnston said. “Under normal circumstances, the loser of this game would be awarded the first draft pick in the upcoming draft. But we’re going to change the rules right here, so this weekend whoever wins the game actually gets not only the first pick in the 2023 draft but the first pick in every round of the 2023 draft.”
Johnston noted that the USFL is “making sure there’s no shenanigans going on.”
The 2023 season is still up in the air for the league, brought back to life after a three-year run in the 1980s.
The first season back for the USFL has provided new experiences including a three-point attempt after a touchdown, a drone camera, and experimenting with the clock.
Preventing tanking is something the NFL has been criticized for in the past, but the USFL has a chance to spark something new due to the convenience of the schedule.
There is a lot on the line for Michigan and Pittsburgh, with the winner earning its second win but the rights to pick first if the USFL holds its own for another year of spring football.