How professional football in Houston just got a lot more interesting

The '80s football team is back. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Allsport/Getty Images.

Back in the '80s, Houstonians were in pro football bliss, with the Houston Oilers and bruising future Hall of Fame running back/human train Earl Campbell, and the high-flying run-and-shoot Houston Gamblers, led by Jim Kelly (also a future Hall of Famer).

Now, fans of that super-short Gamblers era (three seasons) can don their red and black jerseys, as the Gamblers are back as part of a return of the United States Football League. The USFL announced the Gamblers and seven other teams across the U.S. will kick off a new season in April 2022.

USFL organizers plan to launch the league in the spring that promises "high-quality, innovative professional football to fans," per an announcement.

No word yet on where the Gamblers will play home games, but ABC13 notes that published reports point to all first-season games being played in Birmingham, Alabama. Broadcast partners currently considered are USA Network, Fox Sports, Fox, and NBC.

Other teams in the USFL are the New Jersey Generals, Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers, Birmingham Stallions, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits.

Continue on CultureMap to learn more.

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After a tough start to the season, the Houston Rockets are starting to show some positive signs with two encouraging wins over the Thunder and the Hawks recently.

What's even more exciting, is that rookie Jabari Smith Jr. has quietly put together some impressive performances as of late, and the rest of the young nucleus appears to be developing as well. Watching the Rockets beat the Hawks in a chippy game where Houston felt disrespected, points to some real growth for this squad.

Are these signs the Rockets are getting over the hump and showing some good things under coach Stephen Silas?

Be sure to check out the video above as we discuss the signs of development we're seeing, and if Coach Silas will still be coaching the team when the season starts next year.

Catch The Wheelhouse weekdays from 3-7 PM on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

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