Birmingham Stallions QB Alex McGough named USFL MVP


Alex McGough stepped in at quarterback for the Birmingham Stallions when starter J’Mar Smith was injured in Week 1. He led the Stallions to an 8-2 regular season and a South Division Championship, and now he has a chance to bring home the big silver trophy when his Stallions take on the Pittsburgh Maulers in the USFL Championship Game on Saturday (8 p.m. ET on NBC).

And now, as a result of these remarkable achievements, McGough has been named the USFL’s MVP.

“In one of the most accomplished seasons in professional spring football history where [McGough] accounted for a modern USFL record 25 touchdowns in just 10 games, we’re proud to announce that Birmingham Stallions quarterback Alex McGough is the 2023 USFL Most Valuable Player,” said Daryl Johnston, President of Football Operations, on Friday.

After Johnston named McGough MVP, he then announced that Michigan Panthers defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks was the 2023 USFL Sportsman of the Year. The Sportsman of the Year Award honors a player who best exhibits a combination of on-field excellence and a commitment to community service.

Westbrooks, a 32-year-old with NFL experience, focused on youth outreach in the Greater Detroit area during the season, spending time with Detroit PAL, a non-profit partnership with the Detroit Police Department and community volunteers that help youth find their greatness through sports and enrichment programs.

“We’re honored to name Michigan Panthers defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks as 2023 USFL Sportsman of the Year,” Johnston said. “We couldn’t be prouder of our eight team nominees, and we are grateful to all our players who volunteered to serve in our USFL communities and demonstrated that championship spirit on and off the field.”

As for McGough, stellar play in the second half of the season essentially turned the MVP race into a one-man competition.

Over the span of 10 regular-season games, McGough helped give the defending champions the best overall offense in the league, personally accounting for 2,507 total yards while also accounting for 78.1% (25 of 32) of Birmingham’s offensive touchdowns.

The Stallions’ top pick in 2022, McGough began last season as the starter but was hurt in the opening game. He essentially didn’t see the field again until the Championship Game in Canton, when starter Smith was injured. McGough came off the bench and led the Stallions to victory to claim the USFL title. In 2023, the roles reversed. Smith was the starter, but after being injured in the first game, McGough came off the bench and started the rest of the way.

The former FIU star completed 67.4% of his passes for 2,105 yards and set modern USFL records with 20 touchdown throws and a QBR rating of 108.3. McGough also proved to be an elusive scrambler, rushing for 403 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries, a difficult package for opposing defenses to stop.

While awards in the USFL only account for the regular season, McGough carried the momentum into the postseason. In the South Division Championship, he accounted for five touchdowns against the New Orleans Breakers while leading the Stallions to 47 points, a record in the modern USFL era.

McGough becomes the first Stallion to win USFL MVP and the first quarterback to be honored since 1984 when Jim Kelly of the Houston Gamblers won the award:

USFL’S MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS

  • 1983: RB Kelvin Bryant, Philadelphia Stars
  • 1984: QB Jim Kelly, Houston Gamblers
  • 1985: RB Herschel Walker, New Jersey Generals
  • 2022: WR KaVontae Turpin, New Jersey Generals
  • 2023: QB Alex McGough, Birmingham Stallions

Last year’s MVP, Turpin, a playmaker as a wide receiver and kick returner, signed with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys on his way to a Pro Bowl season.


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