The Birmingham Stallions of the USFL have the ultimate home-field advantage. They play every game in Birmingham. And they haven’t lost one there yet.
They had a close call on Saturday against the New Orleans Breakers. It took a 29-yard field goal that barely was good to win the game, 10-9.
The video isn’t entirely clear. The ball went over the upright. From one angle, it looks like it passed inside the imaginary line that continues above the structure. From another angle, it doesn’t.
Stallions coach Skip Holtz was happy to defer to the officials.
“They didn’t come over and ask me,” Holtz said, via the USFL website. “All we can do is go with what the officials signaled on the field. He’s got a lot better view of it than I do.”
Breakers coach Larry Fedora had a different approach. “I just won’t answer that, how about that?” Fedora said regarding the ruling.
It would have been fitting if the attempt had failed, since the game featured five missed kicks. The teams also combined for six turnovers.
And while this may delight the old-school football crowd that finds good defense more interesting than good offense, the NFL didn’t become what it now is with 10-9 games. Yards, points, passes, catches, lead changes. That’s what makes football exciting.
Besides, it’s entirely possible that the two teams don’t have stout defenses. It’s possible that the offenses just aren’t good enough.
Whatever the cause, the USFL will need more points if it hopes to have more than a season or two, especially with the XFL coming back in 2023.