An Honest Assessment Of The 2024 UFL Championship | Birmingham Stallions

Birmingham Stallions 2024 UFL Season In Review

Over the past few years, spring football has been dominated by the Birmingham Stallions. The entire scene has revolved around their greatness and what theyโ€™ve been able to accomplish. After making their way into the UFL this past offseason, this trend did not change.

For the first time in the 2000โ€™s, a professional football franchise won three Championships in a row. Birmingham completed the three-peat, putting their stamp on a tremendous season, taking down the San Antonio Brahmas 25-0 in a game that was never all that close.

The success of this organization revolves around the culture that HC Skip Holtz has built – alongside the incredible talent that GM Zach Potter attracts. Despite the hurdles and challenges that this team continues to face from year to year, they find ways to win. Their โ€œ1-0โ€ mentality is the superglue that keeps them united; and itโ€™s a key reason why the Stallions are the standard for what spring football should look like.

Letโ€™s take a look back on this exceptional 2024 season in the UFL, and what Birmingham was able to accomplish even with some lows.

Quarterback Controversy Early

Right off the bat, we went into the UFL season with one of the most intriguing storylines weโ€™ve seen yet in this scene. This offseason, Birmingham acquired two big names at the quarterback position: Matt Corral, and Adrian Martinez.

Heading into the year, Matt Corral was named the starter. That said, Skip Holtz was very vocal about playing both – and he did. While Adrian got hurt in week one and we saw Corral complete the second half comeback against Arlington, they both split time in week two.

It was such a unique scenario due to the circumstances. In week one, Corral looked like the better option. Then, in week two, it was Martinez who impressed as the Stallions took down the Panthers.

It was at this point that both QBโ€™s went to Holtz with the request that only one of them would play in each game. This led to Holtz giving Martinez the opportunity in week three against Memphis – and he took full advantage of it. Adrian threw for 334 yards, rushing for 44 and totaling three touchdowns in the blowout win.

Then, Skip would make another change in week four. In what was a sloppy, rainy game vs. DC (which included a 90+ minute rain delay), Matt Corral led Birmingham to a last second victory against the Defenders at home.

However, after seeing what Adrian had been capable of a week ago, it felt like he was set to be the starter moving forward. This would prove to be the case. Skip stuck with Adrian the rest of the way, as he earned UFL MVP honors leading the Stallions to a 9-1 record.

Adrianโ€™s performances would peak from weeks five through eight. He continued to put up tremendous numbers, and showed his ability to make clutch plays in a week seven clash against the mighty St. Louis Battlehawks.

Week Nine Wakeup Call

While the Stallions were riding hot having clinched the playoffs in week six, they had a bit of a reality check in week nine. The team felt like they werenโ€™t playing with as much intensity down the stretch of the year. Having already clinched a postseason berth, there wasnโ€™t a ton to play for.

This came to a head against San Antonio. Adrian Martinez and Birmingham looked all out of sorts, struggling to get into any sort of rhythm offensively. The Brahmas seemingly figured out how to slow Adrian down, keeping him contained behind the line of scrimmage – while maintaining intense coverage in the secondary. San Antonio would end up being the only team to beat the Stallions in 2024.

Interestingly enough, the issues we saw from Birmingham in week nine would translate into the next two games. They had to play back to back games against Michigan, in week ten and then the USFL Conference Championship.

The Panthers schemed for Martinez quite well, which was especially on display in the playoffs. Adrian was having such a difficult time, that Skip Holtz decided to pull him from the game. Matt Corral went in for Martinez, and led the Stallions to what ended up as a second half shutout as the team punched their ticket to the Championship.

This left Skip Holtz, and the entire Birmingham Stallions organization, with quite the dilemma. Their starter, who was just named MVP of the league, was benched in a must-win game. The question remained: where would Skip go at QB in the Championship against San Antonio?

Revenge On The Brahmas

The Championship game would prove to be a rather uninspired affair. In fact, the Birmingham Stallions shut out the Brahmas in St. Louis, completely flipping the script compared to what had happened just a few short weeks prior.

Skip Holtz decided to stick with Martinez, and he played well. Adrian ended up earning UFL Championship MVP honors, scoring three touchdowns en route to the victory. His decision making looked much more fluid compared to week nine, as the Stallions waltzed their way to a 25 point blowout.

While Birmingham put together an outstanding final outing of the year, the true MVP of the postseason was their defense. To fully understand the magnitude of what they accomplished in the final two games, we have to back up to the chaos that the season itself featured.

Elite Defense Despite Drama

The Birmingham Stallions boasted one of the best defenses that spring football has ever seen in 2024. This unit was filled to the brim with depth and talent across the board. Every single position group was stacked – and with John Chavis at the helm for a third straight season, things were going according to plan.

In fact, Birmingham had statistically the best defense in the league for large chunks of the season. However, week seven would present a rather strange challenge. John Chavis got sick, and had to miss a bit of time. Birminghamโ€™s DBโ€™s coach, Corey Chamblin, ended up taking over for the time being.

Thatโ€™s when things got even weirder. Even when Chavis got healthier and looked to come back, it was decided upon that he would not return to the team. Chamblin retained his role of Defensive Coordinator, and the Stallions brought in Anthony Blevins as a Defensive Assistant.

For a couple of weeks, the Stallions defense seriously struggled. They didnโ€™t look at all like the group we saw to begin the year. For example, in week eight, they allowed 28 points to the Houston Roughnecks – the worst scoring offense in the entire league.

However, the playoffs would tell an entirely different story. After the Michigan Panthers posted 18 points in the first half, the Stallions would proceed to not allow a single point for the next six quarters. They shut the Panthers out in the second half, and that momentum carried into the UFL Championship as the Stallions stifled every attempt from Chase Garbers and the Brahmas.

Birminghamโ€™s defense allowed just nine points per game in the playoffs, after allowing only 18 PPG in the regular season (2nd). Despite having to change Defensive Coordinators late in the year, Birmingham once again showcased their resiliency, by pulling it together when it mattered most.

Special Teams Turnover

A storyline that wasnโ€™t talked about enough this year: the special teams injuries. A few weeks into the season, both Chris Blewitt and Colby Wadman – the teamโ€™s starting kicker and punter – were on the injured reserve list.

This led to Birmingham bringing in both Ramiz Ahmed and Drue Chrisman. The two performed quite well, filling in at a high level. Ahmed even hit a game winning field goal during his first appearance of the year against DC.

Eventually, the Stallions got Blewitt and Wadman back. Even though these major changes occurred during the season, the output from the special teams unit never took a dip. This not only speaks to the excellent talent that GM Zach Potter was able to sign – but, it also shows how vital Special Teams Coach, Chris Boniol, is to this organization.

Things worked out quite well for Ahmed, actually. Once Birmingham let him go to return Blewitt to the roster, Ramiz was picked up by the Washington Commanders of the NFL.

Standout Talent

QB Adrian Martinez: Obviously, MVP-Martinez was the heart and soul of this team for most of the year. His dual threat capabilities is what made this team so dangerous, as he led the UFL with 528 rushing yards, averaging 9.8 YPC. Adrian threw for 1,749 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2024, to just three interceptions.

RB Ricky Person Jr.: Person proved to be a revelation a season ago, joining Birmingham midway through that season. Ricky made the roster in 2024, and was an absolute beast in the red zone, leading the UFL with six rushing TDโ€™s. He also was the spark that the team needed in the Championship game, rushing for over 100 yards. Ricky has since signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

WR Deon Cain: While his production dropped off a bit towards the end of the season, Deon Cain was clearly WR1 in Skip Holtzโ€™ offense this year. He posted 436 receiving yards and three touchdowns this year, as one of the toughest wide outs to slow down in open space in the league.

TE Jace Sternberger: Even though Jace wasnโ€™t targeted as much as he should have been, he still had a tremendous year, earning All-UFL honors. Sternberger racked up 454 receiving yards and four TDโ€™s, averaging 18.2 yards per reception.

Defense

DT Carlos Davis: Carlos Davis burst onto the spring football scene this year, following in the footsteps of his brother, Khalil. Davis was a monster up front, with 23 tackles, four TFLโ€™s, and seven sacks (2nd). He also earned All-UFL honors this season.

DT Jordan Thompson: The three year spring veteran had another fantastic campaign with Birmingham, earning his third straight Championship ring. Jordan posted 25 tackles, six TFLโ€™s, and four sacks in 2024. He set the tone early in the season, and was one of the top PFF graded defensive tackles in the UFL.

DE Taco Charlton: The former first round pick for the Dallas Cowboys was a tremendous addition to this defensive line. He had six sacks this season, to go with 14 tackles and five TFLโ€™s.

LB Kyahva Tezino: Tezino, formerly an All-USFL LB with the Pittsburgh Maulers, proved to be a leader defensively for Birmingham. With all of the injuries and turnover at the linebacker position, Tezino was a consistent force in the middle of the field. He led Birmingham with 70 tackles. Kyahva added three TFLโ€™s, 0.5 sacks, and five PBUโ€™s to his resume this year. Tezino arguably shouldโ€™ve won UFL Championship MVP, with 9 tackles and two forced fumbles in the shutout.

S A.J. Thomas: Thomas was an offseason addition that ended up leading the UFL in interceptions with three, while making plenty of big plays for Birmingham all year long. A.J. worked his way into a starting role with Birmingham as the season went on, with his elite play.

There are so many defensive players we could name that deserve recognition. DE Dondrea Tillman – whoโ€™s been with the Stallions for three years – was spectacular. He led the team with 42 quarterback pressures, and just signed with the Denver Broncos.

DB Daniel Isom had a few big performances, particularly in the USFL Conference Championship against Michigan. DE Jonathan Garvin, DB Lorenzo Burns, DB Nevelle Clarke, and DB Ike Brown are all honorable mentions who made plays all year long.

Final Thoughts

As we head towards the 2025 season, the Birmingham Stallions are facing a bit of uncertainty. Theyโ€™ve won three straight Championships with Skip Holtz at the helm, but there is no guarantee that heโ€™ll be back next season. Additionally, Matt Corral and/or Adrian Martinez may not be back on the roster in 2025.

With that in mind, thereโ€™s no doubt that this franchise will be in good hands moving forward, no matter what happens. The culture in Birmingham is elite. Zach Potter is one of the best in the business at what he does, and the Stallions simply donโ€™t sign or develop anyone that isnโ€™t a winner.

What Birmingham ultimately proved is that their USFL Championships were no fluke. This organization is cream of the crop, and will continue to be for many seasons to come.

What are your thoughts on the Birmingham Stallions 2024 season? Is there anything the team should do this offseason to improve? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

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