DETROIT (WOOD) — After 40 long years, the state of Michigan will once again play host to the USFL.

On Sunday, Ford Field will be the site of two games for the spring football league. The USFL has not had a game in Michigan since the league’s first edition in the 1980s.

The return of the USFL to the state bodes well for the league now in its second season. After playing the entire first season in Birmingham, Alabama, playing games in new stadiums is bound to bring in more fans, including one of Michigan’s favorite athletes.

Charles Woodson, the former Wolverine who won the 1997 Heisman Trophy and would go on to have a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, said that the league has impressed him so far just two games into the season.

“I think the most impressive thing is that it’s around again for a second year. These leagues this time of year have tried and have failed and haven’t been able to sustain any amount of success,” Woodson said. “Love the direction of the league and where it’s going, and I think it’s good for players to have this opportunity.”

Woodson, now a television analyst, is also happy to see the hometown Panthers having a great start to the year. Michigan is one of three teams that remains undefeated, and they’re led by a stout defense and one cocky running back that has made quite the impression on Woodson.

“I was just saying earlier that (Reggie) Corbin, talking about, ‘Give me the ball, let me go kill him.’ I thought that was pretty exciting,” he said.

The Panthers have already stood out as one of the USFL’s top teams in 2023. They have the second-largest margin of victory, trailing only behind the reigning champion Birmingham Stallions. The team has also already matched their win total from 2022.

There are a few standout individuals on the team this season as well. Corbin is the league’s leading rusher at 160 yards already. And the Panthers have swept the first two Defensive Player of the Week awards in Breeland Speaks and Frank Ginda.

The domination has come even with the first two games being on the road. Now, the Panthers will have home field advantage.

“People love, love football, man. They want to see their teams do well. So whether it is the Lions or the Wolverines, Pistons, or whoever it is, they wanna see their sports teams do well,” Woodson said.

And the fans will once again be able to cheer for a football team at Ford Field in the spring.

“I think there’s something that people here in Michigan can grab a hold onto because they are kind of one of the pioneer teams of the league, and I think that makes it fun for everyone. I’m sure there are some people walking around saying, ‘Hey man, I remember the Michigan Panthers back in ’83.’ So it’s good to see them back now in 2023,” he said.

The Panthers will take on the New Jersey Generals in hopes of continuing their winning streak at Ford Field starting at 4 p.m. The Philadelphia Stars and the Pittsburgh Maulers will faceoff at noon from Detroit.