Surging USFL Generals Are Area’s Best-Kept Secret

What is the best kept sports secret in the New York/New jersey area?

Try the New Jersey Generals.

Those are the same New Jersey Generals of the mid-1980s that featured Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie. They even had Donald Trump as their owner.

These Generals will enter their game against the Philadelphia Stars Sunday winner of eight consecutive games (8-1) and have an undefeated record in the league’s North division.

 They will play the same Stars team the following week in the opening-round of the league playoffs in Canton, Ohio – in case you don’t recognize it, Canton is where the NFL Hall of Fame is located.

This group of Generals has an identity problem, and it is no fault of their own. All of the league’s games have been played in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s great for the home Stallions, who are also in the playoffs.

Yet, attendance for games overall hasn’t been bad, and it has naturally tailed off since the opening week.

ABC and FOX have been a major reason for their continued existence, and their weekly ratings share hovered around the 20 million mark. Again, it isn’t bad.

However, if these Generals were playing their home games, you would come. Spring football in New Jersey could work. 

You may have been one of the fans who watched the short-lived XFL Guardians, who arguably brought some excitement in the spring.

These Generals have been led by running back Darius Victor, who has been among the league’s top three rushers all season, and has helped them grind out an average of 160 yards per game.

The Generals are one of the few teams in professional football history who successfully implemented a two-quarterback system with Luis Perez and De’Andre Johnson. Perez is a castoff from the Guardians, and he is one of the more recognizable names from the old franchise.

KaVontae Turpin has established himself as a premier return man, and he has the league’s only punt return – a 71-yarder – for a score.

Turpin also leads the team in receptions and yards and has emerged as a top-flite and consistent receiver and should get some NFL looks. In addition, Darrius Shepherd is a consistent receiver who gives the Generals a productive tandem.

Linebackers Chris Orr (team-leading 74 tackles) and Chris Orr (63) have paced the defense, and Shalom Luani (team-high four interceptions) and Dravon Askew-Henry have led a shutdown secondary. Overall, the defense has allowed a league-low 17.6 points per game.

Head coach Mike Riley has already formed a blue-collar, hard-working environment that has produced a tight-knit, supportive chemistry among his players. There is a growing consensus that Riley can lead the Generals to the inaugural league title.

Remember these names. Some of them may show up on NFL rosters this August, but more importantly, they can be back on the Generals’ roster next spring. Oh, Duane “The Rock” Johnson is relaunching the XFL next year at some point, and New York/ New Jersey could land a franchise. 

Keep an eye on the Generals the next few weeks. They are fun to watch, and there is a good quality of football.

Next spring, the USFL hopefully will be back, and the Generals will be back at the Meadowlands. 

You know you will try and get a ticket to be there.


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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