February 25, 2008

Happy 25th, USFL!: (or what could've been).

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 04:23 PM - 15 comments

I fondly remember going to the Silverdome to see the Michigan Panthers play a game. They had one of the best color schemes of all times... Gold, Powder blue, Maroon. Sure wish I could get me one of those jerseys.

posted by bigrotty at 05:33 PM on February 25, 2008

Sweet freakin' blast from the past. There was so much talent in that league. I would love to see an analysis of the combined Pro Bowls and HOF's that spent time in the USFL. Everytime a new pro football league rears its head, (and yes even the XFL) I have such high hopes. I completely forgot that Doug Flutie played in the USFL. Just today I saw this great highlight on TV. Maybe you've seen it? When he was in college, he threw this awesome Hail Mary pass that his receiver caught in regulation to win a game. It was amazing! He had to evade a near sack to get the pass off. I'm gonna go scour youtube for that clip.

posted by vito90 at 05:42 PM on February 25, 2008

I completely forgot that Doug Flutie played in the USFL. Just today I saw this great highlight on TV. Maybe you've seen it? When he was in college..... Are you saying Flutie played in college, too? I wonder what school he went to?

posted by THX-1138 at 05:53 PM on February 25, 2008

My dad was a season ticket holder and he & I went to just about every home game the Birmingham Stallions played in '83 & '84. Then I left town, but I still freakin' LOVED the USFL, and it broke my heart to see them move to a fall schedule and destroy themselves. If it hadn't been for the USFL, I'd have never gotten to see Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, and Reggie White (not to mention Joe Cribbs...who once owned "Joe Cribbs' Superstar Car Wash" out on Highway 280...) play football in person. Birmingham has a long, sad history of minor-league football teams (Go, Vulcans!) but not only were the Stallions GOOD (two-time Eastern Conference champs) they were popular -- the games were well-attended. Damn, I miss the USFL. If they'd made a go of it, we'd now have quality year-round football. Guess I'll hafta start rooting for our new team now.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 06:08 PM on February 25, 2008

[this is good]

posted by ajaffe at 08:40 PM on February 25, 2008

I remember Showboats BBQ, in team colors, natch. Ah, what could have been, indeed! There isn't a hopeless football grail this city won't chase. It is interesting to think of the NFL being in such a weakened position that a rival league could poach first round talent. My memory of those times is not that good.

posted by Adept at 08:57 PM on February 25, 2008

http://www.oursportscentral.com/uniforms/usflunis.html A link to the uniforms. They cerainly had great team names.

posted by gfinsf at 02:17 AM on February 26, 2008

I remember that league being awesome. I was a bigger Tampa Bay Bandits fan than Buccaneers fan at the time, which wasn't very difficult at the time. Steve Spurrier was the QB for the bandits. I have memories of Bobby Hebert quarterbacking some team, Michigan I think, and Herschel Walker running for the New Jersey Generals.

posted by erkno11 at 08:50 AM on February 26, 2008

< i wonder what school he went to?>> He is a Boston College Eagle through and through.

posted by Howard_T at 09:27 AM on February 26, 2008

Man, if Flutie to Phalen doesn't make the top 3 best sports highlights on ESPN, something is very wrong. Maybe it's because I watched it live, but that was amazing. I had no allegience to either team. I don't really know why I was watching it!

posted by hawkguy at 09:45 AM on February 26, 2008

Hebert quarterbacked the Michigan Panthers, who also had Anthony Carter at WR. That was a hell of a tandem right there. BitterOldPunk, I recall Cliff Stoudt's wife running into the restaurant I worked one day, desperate for a TV so she could watch the Stallions take on the (?) Denver Gold (?). I sat there with her and two friends in our deserted lounge, watching the game until halftime, when she headed back to their beach house. Turns out, the Stoudt family used to vacation about 15 minutes from the Sheraton Beach Resort where I worked. After the season, she brought Cliff by to meet me and drop off some Stallions gear. I'd never met a pro football player at the time, and remember thinking, Holy crap, if this guy's a pansy-ass QB, how big must the other guys be? Thank you for playing Brush With USFL Greatness! And yes, his wife was totally smokin' hot. Friggin' quarterbacks.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:26 AM on February 26, 2008

I remember a young fella who started his professional football career with the Memphis Showboats. The young man was handed a fat contract and did what any young man might do. He went shopping. There was a salesman in a clothing store who got into a bit of trouble for taking advantage of the young guy with the newly acquired bankroll. He sold him (among other things I'm sure) something like $400 worth of socks. That young man was future Hall-of-famer Reggie White. The thing to do at the games was to bring a pair of socks to wave and help cheer on the defense.

posted by RobertL at 10:39 AM on February 26, 2008

Great post. I wrote about the USFL back in January of 2006: http://www.runner-up.org/2006/01/10/the-usfl/ Here's an excerpt: Despite that, the influence of the USFL has been significant. The league was the first to allow two-point conversions in professional football, and also pioneered the use of instant-replay technology to challenge officials’ rulings on the field. Both innovations have since been adopted by the NFL. In addition, the owners of the new franchises (including Donald Trump, who owned the New Jersey Generals) were willing to take chances on young players, and as a result, some of the USFL’s superstars went on to illustrious careers in the NFL. These included Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie, Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young and Bobby Hebert. Many NFL coaches also got their first chance to coach professionally in the USFL, including Jim Mora, Steve Spurrier, and Lindy Infante. As well, veteran NFL coaches like George Allen and Marv Levy (who also coached in the Canadian Football League) were attracted by the new league.

posted by jmcnally at 10:49 AM on February 26, 2008

Two corrections are in order: First, from the original article: "The USFL had all the green lights to making it, unlike the World Football League, the American Football League, and (cue to snicker aloud) ... the XFL." Ummm, the American Football League did make it. It's now called the AFC of the NFL. The old AFL was the most successful of any alternative league in American sports history. The entire league merged with, and heavily influenced, the older, stuffier NFL. And from jmcnally: "Despite that, the influence of the USFL has been significant. The league was the first to allow two-point conversions in professional football . . ." Bzzzt! No, it was the AFL that first allowed two-point conversions. The AFL also put names on the backs of football jerseys for the first time, and did allow players to mess around with the form, like Edward McDaniel for the Dolphins, who used "Wahoo" on his back. FYI.

posted by afl-aba at 02:32 PM on February 26, 2008

He is a Boston College Eagle through and through. I think maybe my sense of humor is a bit rusty. I was trying to make a bit of a funny alluding to vito's comment. Ya' see, we were both going for the "really, man has landed on the moon?' sort of vibe. Speaking of the XFL, I hear that some of those rasslin' matches are staged.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:37 PM on February 26, 2008

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