Inaugural UFL Championship Game artifacts on display in Canton

Exhibits Published on : 7/3/2024
While “football” and “fall” have become almost synonymous in American sports culture, several leagues have played earlier in the calendar year.

Launched in March 2024 as the “premier platform for spring football,” the United Football League (UFL) formed with the merger of the recent XFL and USFL spring leagues.

Fans might remember the original USFL, also a spring league that played in the mid-1980s, as the springboard for the careers of future Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM KELLY, SAM MILLS, REGGIE WHITESTEVE YOUNG and GARY ZIMMERMAN.

The UFL opened its inaugural 10-game regular season March 30 with a matchup between the reigning USFL and XFL champions: the Birmingham Stallions and Arlington Renegades, respectively. With eight teams overall, the league was split into two conferences named for their former leagues.

Birmingham quickly established itself as the team to beat, winning its first eight games with quarterback Adrian Martinez at the helm. In seven starts, Martinez led the UFL with 528 rushing yards and finished third with 1,749 passing yards, becoming the league’s first Most Valuable Player.

On June 16, the Stallions appeared in the inaugural UFL Championship Game, in St. Louis against the San Antonio Brahmas. Leading the Stallions to a dominant 25-0 victory, Martinez was crowned UFL Championship Game MVP. He accounted for three touchdowns – one passing and two rushing.

A game ball and a jersey Martinez wore in the UFL title game have been placed on display in the Hall of Fame’s “Pro Football Today Gallery.”