In a surprising move, the United Football League (UFL) Executive Vice President of Football Operations Daryl Moose Johnston, has announced that the winner of the upcoming game between the Houston Roughnecks and the Memphis Showboats will be awarded the first pick in every round of the next UFL draft.

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This decision has instantly transformed what would have been a meaningless game into a high-stakes battle for the opportunity to significantly improve their rosters for the upcoming season.

The concept of a “tank game” is not new to Johnston, who implemented a similar strategy during the first season of the United States Football League (USFL). In that instance, the Michigan Panthers and the Pittsburgh Maulers found themselves in a similar situation at the end of the season.

The Michigan Panthers emerged victorious, securing the first pick in every round of the following year’s draft.

By introducing this incentive, Johnston has effectively ensured that both the Roughnecks and the Showboats will be a must watched game. In Spring football, players are playing for game tape so even a meaningless game still has incentives for them. This is more for the fans to have an interest in catching the final game of the UFL regular season.

The winner will have the opportunity to select the most promising prospects in each round, potentially setting themselves up for a successful season in 2025. We have seen this season how a loss of the top pick, D.C. Defenders Abram Smith, has effected their season.

The game, scheduled for Sunday, June 2, at 7:00 PM ET, will be broadcast on FOX. The Showboats are currently favored by 2 points, with an over/under of 44.5 points. The moneyline odds are +120 for the Roughnecks and -142 for the Showboats.

It remains to be seen which team will rise to the occasion and secure the coveted first-round picks. Regardless of the outcome, Johnstons decision has added an extra layer of excitement and meaning to what promises to be a interesting contest between the Houston Roughnecks and the Memphis Showboats.

Who ever wins could have some marketing gold going into the 2025 season.

author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.

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