Week Seven in the UFL is shaping up to be one of the most polarizing weeks of the 2024 season so far. With not only the unofficial “game of the week” being the St. Louis Battlehawks v.s. the Birmingham Stallions, all teams in the USFL and XFL are set to go head-to-head this week with both conferences currently 5-5 against each other. While many may try to “overdramatize” the meaning of this game and specifically A.J.’s return to Alabama, after talking to McCarron the even-keeled Quarterback views this as just another game with the ultimate goal of winning and bringing a championship to the people of St. Louis.

It’s no secret what A.J. McCarron means to the state of Alabama. The 33-Year-Old Quarterback has earned Three National Championships while serving as the Crimson Tide Starter for Two of those seasons. An Alabama local who played his High School Football at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile, McCarron views this as another game despite what exterior voices in the media have said. McCarron who frequents Birmingham due to exterior business ventures, along with his doctors being in the city does acknowledge the return as a bit of a homecoming game, however, does his best to block out the distractions and focus on the task at hand especially during the season.

“I guess just because it’s playing back in Bama for the first time, But it’s just another game. That’s all I want it to be.”Battlehawks Quarterback A.J. McCarron on Tuesday’s Media Call

McCarron returns to play in the state of Alabama for the first time since November of 2013 during the Auburn-Alabama “Iron Bowl” which resulted in the famous “Kick Six”. Since his college days, McCarron has carved out a nice career over Nine NFL Seasons, and now Two XFL/UFL seasons. Since his emergence into the spring football “scene” McCarron has been nothing short of one of the league’s most effective Quarterbacks throwing for 3456 yards, 37 Passing Touchdowns, while adding 2 more on the ground in 15 games, while leading St. Louis to a 11-4 record as the team’s starting QB.

Not only has McCarron revived his own playing career with his play on the field for the Battlehawks he’s also revived the city of St. Louis’ passion for football. With the “Dome” drawing over 31,000 fans per contest going back to 2023, St. Louis has easily become the “jewel” of the UFL, despite the success of the Birmingham Stallions who’ve amassed a 27-3 record since 2022.

“I’m excited for AJ, AJ’s been on the biggest stage his whole career, winning national championships and being a part of big games, and, honestly, that’s when AJ rises most to the occasion is when his back’s against the wall, when a big play needs to be made. We’ve seen it over the last two years. If we need a drive, if we need an end-of-the-game play, AJ’s on it. He’s got the poise and composure. He’s got the mental toughness. He’s physically tough as well. These are the matchups, I think, he lives for, Look, I’d love to see this stadium packed because AJ’s basically going home.”-Bruce Gradkowski St. Louis Battlehawks Offensive Coordinator on Tuesday’s Media Call

For fans of spring football, the success of Birmingham, combined with the “star-power” of McCarron may be the formula to hopefully raise the attendance of the Birmingham market and hopefully further the positive attention the league continues to garner. This Saturday McCarron has the chance to embrace his homecoming, when he and the Battlehawks take on the budding dynasty of the Birmingham Stallions at 4pm on FOX.

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Patrick Rifino

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