Monday, November 16, 2009
Many people may have forgotten about this (or some of you youngsters may never have been aware of this), but in the early 1980's, the NFL faced some stiff competition from another football league ... one that originally played in the Spring. This same league battled the NFL fiercely for college football stars, and in many cases won. This league had a national TV contract with ABC and ESPN, and this league had big-time owners - owners like Burt Reynolds and Donald Trump.
But this league lasted less than 1/2 a decade. What were the reasons? Expanding too rapidly? Probably. Moving the sport to the fall to compete directly with the NFL? definitely. Improper marketing techniques? You bet.
But, I loved this league. It worked really well in Philly ... mainly, because at the time the Eagles were in the midst of an awful stretch. The team almost moved to Phoenix at the time, yet many of the "phans" didn't mind, as long as the USFL's Philadelphia Stars were in town. This team was the most successful team in the USFL, making it to the finals every year. There was even talk that the Stars could beat many NFL teams, including Philly's own Eagles.
You can find some more information on the USFL here, in case you're interested.
Also, there's a website that has the entire history of the league, including box scores of games - check it out here!