USFL Championship: Stallions top Stars in thriller
The Birmingham Stallions are your inaugural United States Football League champions, holding off the Philadelphia Stars in a wild contest at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
It seemed only fitting as the Stallions were the best team throughout the regular season. But the Stars didn't go down without a fight, battling all the way to the end before falling, 33-30.
Here are the top moments from Sunday's action.
Birmingham Stallions 33, Philadelphia Stars 30
Setting the stage
A new era of professional football was born when the USFL kicked off in April, and after 10 weeks of regular-season action and one round of playoffs, things came to a close with the title game.
The Stars went three-and-out on their opening drive, while the Stallions used their first possession to take a three-point lead after a big gain from Bobby Holly set them up for an early field goal.
Philadelphia was quick to fire back with a field goal of its own, tying the score at 3-3.
Things didn't stay tied for long, however, as Birmingham found the end zone as the first quarter came to a close, thanks to the fancy footwork of Stallions running back Bo Scarbrough.
With the score, the Stallions took a 10-3 lead headed into the second quarter.
Stars QB Case Cookus dropped a dime of a back-shoulder toss to wideout Jordan Suell to bring Philly within one point early in the second frame, 10-9.
On the ensuing drive, Stallions QB J'Mar Smith got in on the action, connecting with Marlon Williams on a 41-yard bomb to give Birmingham a healthy lead once again, 17-9.
The Stallions added another field goal ahead of the break to extend their lead, 20-9, after a monster run from Scarbrough put Birmingham deep in enemy territory.
The Stars came out swinging in the second half. They made the most of their single third-quarter drive, as Cookus pulled off a truly acrobatic throw on a crucial third down to bring Philly within five points, 20-15.
He then broke down the play on the sideline.
The Stallions had a chance to extend their lead early in the final frame, but a missed field goal kept it a one-score game.
The Stars then marched down the field to take the lead, their drive aided by a personal foul against Cookus. The QB then found Devin Gray for a TD as Philly took a 23-20 lead.
It was another misstep for Birmingham, as Stallions QB Alex McGough was picked off near the red zone, giving the Stars the ball right back midway through the frame. Philly wasn't able to capitalize on the turnover, however, and punted it away after going three-and-out quickly.
McGough redeemed himself with a short touchdown pass to Victor Bolden that gave the Stallions back the lead, 26-23, with just over three minutes left to play.
The Stallions then put themselves in great shape, scoring quickly when Scooby Wright took an interception back 47 yards for a touchdown to make it 33-23.
The Stars managed to pull within 33-30 on a touchdown pass by KJ Costello.
And then Philly got to try the alternative to an onside kick allowed in the USFL. Instead of kicking it, the Stars could attempt to convert a fourth-and-12. The Stallions held, however, and went on to take the crown.