United States Football League
2023 USFL Championship: Key matchups, how to watch, playoffs, more
United States Football League

2023 USFL Championship: Key matchups, how to watch, playoffs, more

Updated Jun. 27, 2023 8:38 a.m. ET

The march to the 2023 USFL Championship Game has reached its conclusion, with the final two teams now set to face off.

The North Division's representative in the big game was decided on Saturday night, when the Pittsburgh Maulers outlasted the Michigan Panthers, 31-27, in an overtime thriller. Now the Maulers have a chance to complete an incredible worst-to-first turnaround after a 1-9 campaign in 2022.

They'll face the Birmingham Stallions, who will look to defend their 2022 championship after trouncing the New Orleans Breakers, 47-22, on Sunday in the South Division Championship.

Here is the 2023 USFL playoffs breakdown, including final regular season standings, playoff results/schedule, and what to look for in the championship matchup.


All times Eastern

Division championships
Saturday, June 24
USFL North Division Championship: Pittsburgh 31, Michigan 27, OT
Sunday, June 25
USFL South Division Championship: Birmingham 47, New Orleans 22

USFL Championship Game
Saturday, July 1
Pittsburgh vs. Birmingham: At Canton, Ohio, 8 p.m. (NBC)


The best offense in the USFL takes on the top defense in the league when the Birmingham Stallions face the Pittsburgh Maulers 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 best regular-season record in the league at 8-2, then beat down the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL South title game, 47-22 in front of Birmingham’s hometown fans at Protective Stadium.

Led by playmaking quarterback Alex McGough, Birmingham seeks to defend its USFL title from last season. The Stallions are 20-3 under head coach Skip Holtz, averaging a league-best 28.7 points a game during the 2023 season.

The Maulers (5-6) have been the surprise team in the league, winning the North division title with a 31-27 overtime victory over the Michigan Panthers on Saturday. Pittsburgh finished last in the division last year at 1-9, and with new head coach Ray Horton, the Maulers now find themselves one win away from a worst-to-first turnaround. 

Season series

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 wrecking the game. The Florida native finished with just 157 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Maulers quarterback Troy Williams finished 21 of 33 for 217 passing yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions in that contest. Williams also ran for 63 yards. 

Deon 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 Maulers finished the regular season as the top team in the USFL in takeaways, with 20. Pittsburgh’s defense forced McGough into two interceptions in the earlier matchup and will likely need to do something similar to have a chance in the title game.

Specifically, McGough’s ability to extend plays with his feet and keep the chains moving has been a key part of Birmingham’s offense. McGough was responsible for 394 yards and five touchdowns in his team’s runaway win over the Breakers.

The Maulers will have to devise a scheme that keeps McGough in the pocket, whether it’s using a spy on the quarterback defensively or disguised blitzes that confuse the mobile signal caller and slow down his decision-making

Key stats

Birmingham has averaged 37 points in the playoffs over the last two years. The Maulers held Birmingham to 281 total yards and an average of 4.7 yards per play in a close loss to the Stallions earlier this year.

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 ran 30 times for a season-high 245 rushing yards against New Orleans. The Maulers held Michigan to 40 rushing yards last week.

— By Eric Williams


North Division

  1. x-Pittsburgh Maulers — 4-6, 4-2
  2. x-Michigan Panthers — 4-6, 3-3
  3. o-Philadelphia Stars — 4-6, 2-4
  4. o-New Jersey Generals — 3-7, 3-3

South Division

  1. x-Birmingham Stallions — 8-2, 4-2
  2. x-New Orleans Breakers — 7-3, 4-2
  3. o-Houston Gamblers — 5-5, 2-4
  4. o-Memphis Showboats — 5-5, 2-4

x-Clinched playoff berth
o-Eliminated from playoff contention

Eric D. Williams is an NFL writer for FOX Sports. He has reported on the NFL for more than 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 @eric_d_williams.


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