United States Football League
History of the USFL
In 1982 some wealthy entrepreneurs, including Donald Trump , founded the United States Football League, with which they wanted to compete with the established National Football League (NFL). The team owners managed to sign a contract with TV station ABC , which had missed out on the award of the NFL rights. In the spring of 1983, the league began playing with 12 teams. The league quickly enjoyed a large audience. This was mainly because, contrary to the football tradition, the USFL played in spring instead of autumn and thus bridged the time until the start of the NFL season (and in the colleges ).
In 1984 the league expanded to 18 teams and managed to convince some talented college players and other players to give the mainstream NFL a rejection. This included numerous players and coaches who later also had success in the NFL: quarterbacks Steve Young , Jim Kelly , Doug Flutie , running backs Kelvin Bryant and Herschel Walker , defensive end Reggie White or head coaches Jack Pardee , Jim E. Mora and Marv Levy .
The sporting success spurred the team owners, especially the ambitious Donald Trump. Since the spring date appeared to be a second-rate way out, the owners decided in 1984 with a narrow majority to challenge the NFL directly and, from 1986, also hold their championship in the fall.
However, it came to a conflict with the TV broadcasters who worked closely with the NFL. In addition, the venues were not even available to some teams, because in many places NFL teams or colleges had the privilege of autumn and winter. The USFL therefore sued the NFL for violating antitrust law and creating a monopoly . The process was won in principle, but only symbolic compensation of only 1 US dollar was awarded, but neither free access to the stadiums nor equally lucrative TV contracts like the NFL. The USFL therefore started playing for a fourth season neither in the spring of 1986 nor in the fall. Some of the staff switched to the NFL, where many players were able to successfully assert themselves.
The USFL was the last serious attempt to confront the NFL with a similar competitive league, especially since it now learned from its mistakes and prevented it from being accused of forming a monopoly with some TV stations. Other suggestions brought about by the USFL were also adopted by the previously conservative NFL.
The NFL took up the idea of playing football in spring with its own offshoot, the World League of American Football, in 1991. WLAF teams were also set up in some ex-USFL locations such as New Jersey , Birmingham (Alabama) , Orlando (Florida) or San Antonio (Texas). With the Jacksonville Jaguars , Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals , some of the USFL markets were later supplied directly by NFL teams.
The owner of the NFL team Oakland Raiders , Al Davis , who had relocated his team to Los Angeles in the 1980s , even testified in the USFL trial against his own league because it did not agree with his "wanderlust".
- Arizona Wranglers
- Birmingham Stallions
- Boston Breakers / New Orleans Breakers / Portland Breakers
- Chicago Blitz
- Denver Gold
- Houston Gamblers
- Jacksonville Bulls
- Los Angeles Express
- Memphis showboats
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- Oakland Invaders
- Oklahoma Outlaws / Arizona Outlaws
- Orlando Renegades
- Philadelphia Stars / Baltimore Stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- San Antonio Gunslingers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
- Washington Federals
- 1983: Michigan Panthers - Philadelphia Stars 24:22
- 1984: Philadelphia Stars - Arizona Wranglers 23: 3
- 1985: Baltimore Stars - Oakland Invaders 28:24