Okay, finally ready to kickoff the season!!
The USFL has always intrigued me, I chose 1984 because I was able to get a great deal of data to research creating the card set. There are several USFL websites with stats, I have the 1985 Sporting News guide with game narratives, the most valuable though was obtaining all the 1985 media guides which gave me many player bios. I have also watched a ton of 1984 USFL games on Youtube just to get a feel for play. Another great resource was a book called “The United States Football League” by Paul Reeths, it is a comprehensive history of the USFL and had great narratives on each team which really set the stage for me and this replay.
The 1984 USFL season features some pretty household NFL names including Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Greg Landry, Bobby Hebert, Joe Cribbs, Herschel Walker, Gary Clark, Nate Newton, Reggie White, Sam Mills just to name a few. A couple of NFL busts like Chuck Fusina and Cliff Stoudt ended up numbers 1 and 2 in passer rating in 1984 (Jim Kelly finished third). Landry finished fourth and an interesting name, to me at least, John Reaves finished 5th. First time I carded Reaves was his rookie season in 1972 with the Philadelphia Eagles (he stunk). During the 1984 USFL season Reaves threw for the second most yards, 4,092, with 28 TD passes leading Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandit offense.
The top two defenses in the league, the Philadelphia Stars and Arizona Wranglers made it to the Championship Game with the Stars prevailing 23-3 at Tampa Stadium. Chuck Fusina was the championship game MVP, while Jim Kelly won the league MVP.
There are many crazy stories associated with the USFL such as the infamous nationally televised game between the Houston Gamblers and San Antonio Gunslingers which was played at San Antonio’s Alamo Stadium when all of a sudden the lights went out. The initial story was that it was an “accident” but it turned out the owner of Gunslingers, Clinton Manges, had some shady business dealings in San Antonio. In some way shape or form, Manges had crossed the guy in charge of power at Alamo Stadium and the guy shut down the power while they were on national television in their first game. The Gunslingers also had a lead executive who thought they had to provide uniforms for the visiting team and was quite relieved to learn that they did not so it would save them some money.
Anyway, I am sure many of you will have your own favorite stories from the USFL, so I am looking forward to sharing this replay with all of you. I will try not to disappoint!!
I look forward to following this replay Mark!