The Virtual U.S. Football League

The Virtual U.S. Football League
Sports Control…Wranglers sign quarterback Rick Neuheisel...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

'88 Chronology-Desert Sands

Event Date: January 4th, 1988

Event Description: Wranglers Sign Ex-'Slinger

Source: Herald-Journal

Eventually, Rick Neuheisel wants another shot at making an NFL roster. 

For now though, he's happy being back in the USFL, but this time with the Arizona Wranglers.

The former UCLA quarterback signed a deal Thursday with the Wranglers, his first football gig since being cut by the Chargers after the NFL strike ended.

“I kept telling my agent, whatever gets us back into pro ball, that's what we're going to do,” Neuheisel said. “No other NFL or USFL teams approached me, and the Wranglers gave me a call. I worked out for them back in November, and they've been keeping in touch this whole time. Signing with the Chargers was a chance that I was willing to take. I really thought that I would stick with the team after the strike, but it didn't work out that way.”

With Doug Williams now back in the NFL, Neuheisel should move into the starting quarterback position. But he will have competition from veteran Glenn Carano, former Arizona State product Sandy Osiecki and second-year man Alfred Jenkins.

“Right now I'm just thinking about helping out Arizona any way possible," Neuheisel said.  

more to come......

'88 Chronology-Off-Season Transactions-Atlantic Division

Event Date: January 4th, 1988
Event Description: Off-Season Transactions
Source: League Office
BALTIMORE AMERICANS— Named Ted Marchibroda head coach;
Signed QB’s Babe Laufenberg (NFL-New Orleans ’86), Ed Rubbert (NFL-Washington ’87), RB Walter Holman (NFL-Washington ’87), RB Alan Reid (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), K Ali Haji-Sheik (NFL-Washington ’87), WR Nolan Franz (Bandits ’87), WR-KR Ted Wilson (NFL-Washington), OL Mark Carlson (NFL-Washington ’87), OL Willard Scissum (NFL-Washington ’87), DT Dan Benish (NFL-Washington ’87), DE Alec Gibson (NFL-Washington ’87), LB Jon Kimmel (NFL-Washington ’87), DB Mike Mitchell (NFL-Washington ’87),
traded rights to DL Pete Catan to Chicago in return for draft pick considerations in 1988;
acquired LB Malcolm Hairston from Orlando for draft considerations;
acquired LB Sanders Shiver from Memphis in return for draft and cash considerations;
waived QB Brian Ransom (Showboats ’87) and FB Booker Moore (Michigan ’87); 
placed QB Scott Brunner on Reserve-Retired List;

MICHIGAN PANTHERS — Signed WR Eric Truvillion (NFL-Detroit ‘87), RB John Williams (NFL-Indianapolis ’87), RB Stan Edwards (NFL-Detroit ‘87), QB Dave Yarema (USFL-Michigan Camp ’87), OL Tom Turnure (Invaders ‘87), TE Don Echols (NFL-Cleveland ’87), NT-FB Ira Albright (NFL-Buffalo ’87), LB Carlton Rose (NFL-Washington);
granted free agency to QB Sean Salisbury (NFL-Indianapolis), RB Mike Hagen (NFL-Seattle), RB Joe Armentrout, WR Derek Holloway (NFL-Tampa Bay), WR Willis Jacox (CFL-Saskatchewan), TE Mark Raugh, OL Tom Toth (NFL-Miami), OL Ron Coder, NT Mark Garalczyk (NFL-St. Louis), DE Jerome Davis (NFL-Detroit), LB David Marshall (NFL-Miami), LB Matt Finlay (CFL-Calgary-Toronto), LB Kyle Borland (NFL-L.A. Rams), DB Leon Bell (NFL-Cincinnati);
rescinded rights to RB Booker Moore, WR Ken Higgins, TE Ulysses Norris and LB Mark Dusbabek under terms of the Allocation Selection Draft;
re-signed WR Derek Holloway (NFL-Tampa Bay ‘87), WR Willis Jacox (CFL-Saskatchewan ‘87), OL Tom Toth (NFL-Miami), DE Jerome Davis (NFL-Detroit ‘87), LB David Marshall (NFL-Miami ‘87), DB Leon Bell (NFL-Cincinnati ‘87);

NEW JERSEY GENERALS— Signed K-P Bernie Ruoff (CFL-Hamilton ’87), RB Bobby Johnson (CFL-Saskatchewan ’86), WR Byron Williams (CFL-British Columbia ’87), WR Walter Broughton (NFL-Buffalo ’87), OL Eric Coss (NFL-Jets ’87), OL Bill Dugan (NFL-Giants ’87), TE Sam Bowers (NFL-Chicago ’87), DL Ben Rudolph (NFL-Jets ’86), DE Ross Browner (NFL-Green Bay ’87), LB Dan DeRose (NFL-Giants ’87), DB Donald Brown (NFL-Giants ’87);
granted free agency to K John Teltschik (NFL-Philadelphia), P Rick Partridge (NFL-Buffalo), RB Herschel Walker (NFL-Dallas), TE Joey Hackett (NFL-Green Bay), TE Derrick Ramsey (NFL-Detroit), OL Doug Marrone (NFL-Miami), OT Doug Mackie (NFL-Atlanta), NT Manny Weaver (NFL-Atlanta), LB Jerry Kimmel (NFL-Giants), DT Frank Mattiace (NFL-Indianapolis), LB Jim Dumont, S Mike Ulmer (NFL-Philadelphia), DB Mike Thurman (CFL-Edmonton), DB Ken Johnson (NFL-Green Bay);
rescinded rights to QB Scott Brunner, RB Ken Talton, LB Mike Corvino, DT Tom Porrell under terms of the Allocation Selection Draft; 
re-signed OL Doug Marrone (NFL-Miami ’87), LB Jerry Kimmel (NFL-Giants ’87), DB Mike Thurman (CFL-Edmonton ’87), DB Ken Johnson (NFL-Green Bay ’87), LB Frank Mattiace (NFL-Indianapolis ’87);
acquired rights RB Leon Perry and C-T Todd Thomas from Portland for draft considerations and a player to be named later; 
waived RB Leon Perry;
acquired LB Ron Crosby from Pittsburgh in exchange for QB Jim Crocicchia, and WR Daric Zeno and a player to be named later;
placed OG Dave Lapham and FB Kevin Long on Reserve-Retired List;

PHILADELPHIA STARS —Fired head coach Ted Marchibroda, named Vince Tobin new head coach (NFL-Chicago ’86);
Signed K Eric Shubert (NFL-New England), RB Tony Collins (NFL-New England ’87), TE Vyto Kab (NFL-Detroit ’87), G-C Bob Landsee (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), OG Rick Kehr (NFL-Washington ’87), DT-DE Elois Grooms (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), DT Doug Scott (CFL-Montreal ’86), LB Carlos Bradley (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), LB Rogers Alexander (NFL-New England ’87), DB Mike Ulmer (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), S Troy West (NFL-Philadelphia ’87), DB Garcia Lane (NFL-Kansas City), DB Ron Shegog (NFL-New England ’87), LB Matt Battaglia (NFL-Philadelphia ’87);
granted free agency to K David Trout (NFL-Pittsburgh), QB Tim Riordan (NFL-New Orleans), RB Allen Harvin (NFL-Washington), RB Michael Clemons (NFL-Kansas City), WR Victor Harrison (NFL-New Orleans), WR Clarence Collins (NFL-St.Louis), TE Steve Folsom (NFL-Dallas), OL Bill Dugan (NFL-New York Giants), DE John Walker (NFL-Kansas City/CFL-Saskatchewan), DL Buddy Moor (NFL-Atlanta), LB George Jamison (NFL-Detroit), LB George Cooper (NFL-San Francisco), DB Jon Sutton (NFL-New Orleans), DB Scott Woerner (NFL-New Orleans), S-WR Jim Caver;
rescinded rights to OL Graeme Miller, DL James Luebbers, LB Micah Moon, and DB Marion Body under terms of the Allocation Selection Draft;
re-signed QB Tim Riordan (NFL-New Orleans ’87), RB Allen Harvin (NFL-Washington ’87), WR Victor Harrison (NFL-New Orleans ’87), RB Michael Clemons (NFL-Kansas City ’87), LB George Cooper (NFL-San Francisco);
acquired rights to DB Garcia Lane from Memphis in return for a #2 college draft selection and a conditional draft pick in 1989;

PITTSBURGH MAULERS — Signed QB Scott Campbell (NFL-Atlanta ’87), QB Dan Manucci (NFL-Buffalo ’87), RB Charles Gladman (NFL-Tampa Bay ‘87), FB Walt Easley (Maulers ’86), OL Joe Silipo (NFL-Buffalo ‘87), OL Bob Gruber  (NFL-Green Bay ‘87), WR Thad McFadden (NFL-Buffalo ‘87), TE Theo Young (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87), K David Trout (NFL-Pittsburgh ‘87), P Rick Partridge (NFL-Buffalo ’87), NT Dave Opfar (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87), DT Michael Minter (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87), DE Aaron Moog (NFL-Cleveland ’87), LB Will Cokeley (NFL-Buffalo ’87), LB Craig Bingham (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87) DB Kelvin Middleton (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87), DB Russell Hairston (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87), DB Dave Edwards (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87);
granted free agency to QB Brian McClure (NFL-Buffalo), QB Bruce Mathison (NFL-Seattle), RB Joe Dudek (NFL-Denver), RB Walter Holman (NFL-Washington), RB Jaime Covington (NFL-NY Giants), OT Tony Brown (NFL-Buffalo), OL Scott Barrows (NFL-Detroit), OL Don Maggs (NFL-Houston), OT Kari Yli-Renko (CFL-Calgary), K Eric Shubert (NFL-New England), DL Robert Brannon (NFL-New Orleans), DE Bob Buczkowski (NFL-Los Angeles Raiders), LB Putt Choate (NFL-Green Bay), DB Larry Friday (NFL-Buffalo), DB Mark Harper (NFL-Cleveland), DB Don Wilson (CFL-Edmonton); 
rescinded rights to QB-P Stan Gelbaugh, FB Jeff Rodenberger, OL Todd Thomas and DB Tim McGee under terms of the Allocation Selection Draft;
re-signed QB Brian McClure (NFL-Buffalo ’87), OT Tony Brown (NFL-Buffalo ’87), DB Larry Friday (NFL-Buffalo ’87), DL Bob Buczkowski (NFL-Raiders ’87);
waived QB Dan Manucci; 
traded RB Amos Lawrence to Jacksonville for draft pick considerations; (posted on blog Oct. ’87);
traded the rights to QB Reggie Collier (NFL-Pittsburgh ’87) to the Orlando Renegades for the rights to RB Eddie Meyers (NFL-Atlanta camp ’87) and QB David Woodley (Renegades ’87);
traded the rights to DB Rock Richmond to Portland in exchange for draft and cash considerations;
traded LB Ron Crosby to New Jersey in exchange for QB Jim Crocicchia, and WR Daric Zeno and a player to be named later;
placed TE Eason Ramson and QB David Woodley on Reserve-Retired List.

more to come…...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bulls Head Coach Poll

'88 Chronology-NFL Calling

Event Date: January 3rd, 1988

Event Description: Infante Offered NFL Job

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Tom Braatz, Green Bay Packers vice president, offered the club's coaching position to Jacksonville Bulls head coach Lindy Infante on Tuesday and said he wanted a reply by today.

"There are no major hurdles left. It's a matter of timing at this point," Braatz said Tuesday as the Packers' search for a new coach dragged into its third week.

Infante has also been pursued by the San Francisco 49ers, and Jacksonville Bulls’ owner Fred Bullard has given Infante permission to exit his current contract if it furthers his professional aspirations.

Braatz said the Packers needed to name their new coach this week, so they could begin scouting and preparing for the draft in April.

The Packer coaching job opened last week when Forrest Gregg was fired.

more to come......

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stallions Head Coach Poll

'88 Chronology-Changing of the Guard

Event Date: January 2nd, 1988

Event Description: Stallion's Head Coach Steps Down

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Today Birmingham Stallions head coach Rollie Dotsch announced he is stepping down effective immediately due to health concerns. 

In s statement released by the team today Dotsch thanked the team, owners and fans for allowing him the opportunity to lead the Stallions  since their inception into pro football in 1983. 

Dotsch also thanked the Birmingham community for support during this time and indicated that he felt he needed to focus on long-term health.

Assistant head coach Hank Kuhlmann will lead the team through their off-season workouts until a permanent head coach is found.

We wish coach Dotsch a restoration to full health as our thoughts and prayers go out to him, his family and the Stallions football family during this time.

more to come......

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pittsburgh Maulers '88 QB Poll

'88 Chronology-Happy New Year!

Event Date: January 1st, 1988

Event Description: Maulers Mimic Steelers

Source: Reading Journal

A former Steelers quarterback is going to the U.S. Football League to try and revive his pro career.

The Pittsburgh Maulers announced that Scott Campbell has signed with the team. 

Campbell joins another ex-Steeler quarterback, David Woodley, in the USFL ranks. Woodley played for the Orlando last season, earning one win as a starter in a difficult 4-14 campaign for the Renegades.

In Pittsburgh, Campbell will likely be fighting for the starting job alongside Woodley and John Congemi, who finished the season as the starter for the Maulers. Congemi had off-season shoulder surgery, but his recovery is ahead of schedule, according to the team.

Former Pennsylvania quarterback Jim Crocicchia was also acquired this off-season. Second-year man Brian McClure returned after a brief fling with Buffalo during the NFL strike.

Campbell was in the NFL for four seasons, most recently with the Atlanta Falcons in before being released in early December.

After being drafted in the seventh round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Steelers — where Campbell lasted just over two seasons — he was traded to Atlanta.

During his NFL career, Campbell completed 49.3 percent of his passes for 2,983 yards, 19 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. He last played in an NFL regular-season game on Dec. 6th completing 17-of-30 passes for 253 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 21-10 victory at Dallas. 

more to come.....

Friday, February 27, 2015

'87 Chronology-Free Agent Wars

Event Date: December 14th, 1987

Event Description: CFL Signing

Source: Times Daily

The Arizona Wranglers added one of the CFL's all-stars from last season by signing running back Willard Reaves, the Winnipeg Journal has reported.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Cal Murphy confirmed the 28-year-old move to the U.S. Football League.

“Yes, it’s true. Willard’s agent phoned me late afternoon and said they had decided to accept a contract offer from Arizona,” Murphy told the Journal late Saturday night.

“We weren’t positive that proposal would be accepted, but in the past couple of hours, Willard’s agent, confirmed they had discussed the situation and would be accepting the offer from Arizona.”

“Obviously, Willard departs with our best wishes and our focus immediately shifts to finding a suitable replacement, if that is possible.”

Reaves (5-11, 200) attended Northern Arizona University. In 1987, he rushed for 1,471 yards with nine touchdowns and 27 receptions. He's also coming off late-season knee surgery to repair a damaged knee, the report said.

The Wranglers obtained the rights to Reaves from the Birmingham Stallions in exchange for a second round draft pick in the 1988 USFL college draft. 

more to come.......

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

'87 Chronology-Bayou Boy

Event Date:December 10th, 1987

Event Description: Risher Joins Breakers

Source: Times-Picayune

The New Orleans Breakers have signed quarterback Alan Risher, the team announced today.

Risher, a 6-2, 190-pound, native of New Orleans, played four seasons at Louisiana State University. In 33 games with the Fighting Tigers, he completed 381 of 615 passing attempts for 4,585 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Additionally, Risher spent time with the USFL's Wranglers, and in the NFL with Tampa Bay and most recently the Green Bay Packers during the work stoppage.

The Breakers also have second-year man Doug Hudson on the roster and are looking to add a third quarterback via the college draft.

more to come......

'87 Chronology-Storm Hits

Event Date: December 7th, 1987

Event Description: Storm Ticket Sales

Source: Lawrence Journal-World

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

'87 Chronology-Wheeling and Dealing

Event Date: November 23rd, 1987

Event Description: ‘Gades Trade

Source: Observer-Reporter

Reggie Collier, the much sought after free agent quarterback, was signed Friday by the Orlando Renegades.

Collier received a three-year contract with an option year, according to officials in Orlando. They wouldn't disclose salary figures, but based on his estimated annual salary of $225,000 while he was in the NFL, his total package with the Renegades probably is about $1.6 million.

''It's the best thing that has happened to me in the last three years,'' Collier said at an afternoon press conference after two tumultuous seasons in the NFL and CFL. ''I'm really happy to be here.''

In return for the rights to Collier, the Maulers get quarterback David Woodley and the rights to free agent running back Eddie Meyers. Meyers is looking to sign on with the USFL after failing to secure an NFL roster spot this year.

Collier, who will be 27 next May 14, has seemed a man with too many positions during his three years as a pro. At 6 feet 3 and 207 pounds, he was a gifted passer and runner and rejected proposals that he move to another position.

''We signed Reggie to be a quarterback only,'' Lee Corso, coach of the Renegades, said while trying to stop rumors from circulating that Collier also would be tried at another position, such as wide receiver or defensive back. “Why on earth would we do that after the way he played when he was with us before?.”

When Orlando opens training camp next spring, Collier will be competing for the starting QB job against recently signed CFL veteran Homer Jordan and two others, second-year man Kyle Mackey and a draft choice who will be added before training camp starts.

Lee Corso has said he will keep three quarterbacks for the 1988 season. 

In other USFL news:

The Birmingham Stallions signed running back Bill Johnson on Thursday.

The six-foot-two, 230-pound Johnson started four games this season for the Cincinnati Bengals, rushing for 205 yards and one touchdown while adding 13 catches for 103 yards.

He was granted his released last month by Cincinnati after being told he was being relegated to backup duties and special teams play.

Johnson began his career in the USFL with the Denver Gold in 1984. He spent two seasons with Denver before moving on to Cincinnati after the 1985 USFL season.

more to come......

Monday, February 23, 2015

'87 Chronology-Comings and Goings

Event Date: November 22nd, 1987

Event Description: Collier Heads Home

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Reggie Collier is headed back to the United States Football League.

Collier announced via his agent on Saturday that he had agreed to terms with the Orlando Renegades. Collier had a stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers which lasted through the NFL strike. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound quarterback also spent time in the CFL before being released by the Ottawa Riders in early August. Prior to that, Collier has spent time with the Birmingham Stallions, Washington Federals, Renegades, and Dallas Cowboys. 

In return for the rights to Collier, the Maulers now have the negotiation rights to former Army tailback Eddie Meyers

Meyers has spent the last five years fulfilling his obligation to the U.S. Marine Corps. Meyers was in training camp with the Atlanta Falcons, but failed to earn a spot on their final roster.

Currently, Orlando lists no quarterbacks on its current roster; David Woodley has been traded to Pittsburgh as part of the deal to acquire Colliers’ rights, and free agent John Reaves jumped to the Tampa Bay Bucs during the NFL strike.

In other USFL news; 

Just three days after the USFL free agent combine and the New Jersey Generals have signed running back Bobby Johnson formerly of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Johnson entered the CFL in 1986 as an undrafted free agent. He went on to lead Saskatchewan in rushing with 869 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson spent just one season with the Roughriders.

Johnson will have the unenviable task of replacing Herschel Walker who signed with the Dallas Cowboys this off-season.

more to come.....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

'87 Chronology-November Owners Meeting

Event Date: November 3rd-6th, 1987

Internal Memo: USFL Owners Meeting

Re: Fall Agenda

The owners considered and took action on the following; 
  1. Approved the NFL Free Agent Plan as presented by the competition committee. USFL teams will excercise the right of first refusal regarding free agents who participated in the “NFL replacement games”. Teams will have the right to sign players or trade for rights for compensation from another club.
  2. Approved the recommendations from the Competition Committee establishing the major college draft rights for 1988 Territorial Draft.
  3. Approved recommendations from the Competition Committee which include: reducing the Territorial Draft to ten rounds and limiting the Open College Draft to five rounds.
  4. Approved a recommendation from the Finance Committee to set the 1988 Salary Cap at $5.2 million with special exemptions for players with personal service contracts.
  5. Approved the 1988 USFL Wage Scale.
  6. Accepted a recommendation from the Labor Committee to continue talks with the USFLPA regarding an extension of the current CBA.
  7. Awarded the 1988 USFL Championship game to Pontiac, Michigan, game will be played at the Silverdome.
  8. The owners went into Executive Conference to discuss potential action against the NFL regarding the events and actions which unfolded during the NFL strike.
  9. The owners agreed to meet again in January.
more to come......

Friday, February 20, 2015

'87 Chronology-USFL Schedule Announcement

Event Date: November 2nd, 1987

Event Description: USFL Schedule Released

Source: League Office

The United States Football League released its 1988 schedule and the ESPN Thursday night season opener will feature the Michigan Panthers hosting defending champion Memphis.

An 18-week package of Sunday night games begins in Week 1 with the Birmingham Stallions at the New Orleans Breakers. 

Other opening week games include Tampa Bay at Los Angeles (Saturday night), Orlando at Baltimore, Pittsburgh hosting Denver, Houston at Chicago, and Arizona at Oakland, and Philadelphia at Portland.

The first ESPN Monday night game of the year will be Jacksonville at New Jersey. 

The first playoff weekend is June 25th-26th, followed the next weekend by the divisional finals round. The USFL championship game is slated for July 10th in Michigan, televised by ABC.

The season begins on Thursday, February 18th. For the complete schedule go here.

more to come......

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

'87 Chronology-Breakers Notebook

Event Date: October 30th, 1987

Event Description: Free Agent Workouts

Source: Times Picayune

Breakers Notebook: Ex-USFL QB Alan Risher works out

Among the players who have worked out for the Breakers since the start of free agency last week was former LSU quarterback Alan Risher

Risher, 26, finished with 44 scores and 4,585 yards as a three-year player at Louisiana State.

Risher spent the 1985 season as a backup for the Tampa Bay Bucs and most recently as a replacement pivot for the Green Bay Packers. He has previously played for the Arizona Wranglers.

The Breakers have also brought in Nicholls State product Doug Hudson, former Memphis signal-caller Mike Kelley, and ex-Saints fullback Hokie Gajan who is attempting another comeback.

more to come...... 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

'87 Chronology-Storm Land Archer

Event Date: October 23rd, 1987

Event Description: Ex-Falcon Archer Signs $1M deal with USFL 

Source: Gadsden Times

David Archer couldn't pass up the chance to help build a franchise from the ground up.

"The opportunity to be a part of something fresh and new was something that my family and I just couldn't turn down," Archer said after being introduced to the media. 

"We had to be a part of this. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to start from the ground up, to put your fingerprints on a brand new organization that will be around for years to come.

The veteran quarterback signed a three-year contract with the expansion Portland Storm on Thursday, just six days after getting released by the Atlanta Falcons.  Sources said he will earn about $500,000 per season.

The Falcons released Archer , which led him to jump at the chance to be Portland's No. 1 quarterback and one of its designated "marquee players”. USFL teams are limited to a player payroll of $5.2 million, with a handful of marquee players.

Archer has been with Atlanta since 1984, and led the team through much of the 1985 and 1986 seasons. He completed 331 of 647 passes for 4,275 yards and 18 touchdowns while starting 23 games over his four-year career. 

Archer started the season opener for Atlanta, but then quicky fell behind challenger Scott Campbell for the starting job. "The bottom line is, it came down to why I got into this game," he said. ''I got into it to play and not to sit and watch."

The Storm certainly will not land any available free-agent quarterbacks better than Archer for less than $500,000.

"We talked with Dave and told him we could structure a deal that would be very fair for a guy with his background and experience," Storm head coach June Jones said in a statement. 

more to come......

Sunday, February 15, 2015

'87 Chronology-NFL Strike Analysis

Event Date: October 20th, 1987

Event Description: NFL Strike Failed

Source: The Spokesman Review

'87 Chronology-Eggs Benedict?

Event Date: October 18th, 1987

Event Description: Strike Rancor Lingers

Source: Milwaukee Journal

Saturday, February 14, 2015

'87 Chronology-Bullish on Cleveland?

Event Date: October 16th, 1987

Event Description: Kemp Joins Browns

Source: Observer Reporter

Friday, February 13, 2015

'87 Chronology-NFL Strike Ends

Event Date: October 16th, 1987

Event Description: NFLPA Ends Strike

Source: New York Time (Janofsky)

The National Football League Players Association ended its 24-day strike today by sending its members back to work, only to have them find something less than a warm reception.

With neither a back-to-work agreement nor a new collective bargaining contract between the union and the owners in place, the returning players were told by management that they could not play this weekend. Nor, they learned, would they receive their regular salaries.

At the same time, the union filed a lawsuit against the league, charging that without a bargaining agreement, the system that ties players to their current teams, making it virtually impossible for a player to sell his services to the highest bidder, violated Federal antitrust laws. 

A major goal of the union in striking was to achieve unrestricted free agency, the right of a player to move from one club to another once his contract expires. 

In announcing the union's actions, Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the Players Association, accused management of failing to deal fairly with the players. He also charged that the N.F.L. owners had ''abused their monopoly powers to the extreme detriment of the players.''

''It's unfair to the players to continue making the great sacrifices they have made in the face of this blatant display of monopoly power,'' he said, reading a statement on the sidewalk outside of the union's offices here. ''The player reps therefore, voted today to send the players back to work.''

The games this weekend will be played as scheduled with teams of replacement players and those regulars who had crossed the picket lines by 1 P.M. Wednesday. All the regular players were expected to report by Monday and play next weekend.

Only if the sides had agreed on a back-to-work agreement, management sources said, would the returning players have been reinstated with full pay and been eligible for the weekend's games. 

more to come...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

'87 Chronology-NFL Pay Scales

Event Date: October 14th, 1987

Event Description: NFL Team Pay

Source: NFLPA

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

'87 Chronology-Back to the Future

Event Date: October 13th, 1987

Event Description: Major Announcement

Source: The Evening Observer

'87 Chronology-Native Sun

Event Date: October 12th, 1987

Event Description: USFL Bound?

Source: Herald-Tribune

Monday, February 9, 2015

'87 Chronology-Breaking Ranks

Event Date: October 7th, 1987

Event Description: Picket Lines Breached

Source: NY Times

Thirty-five more players - including some of the National Football League's top performers - broke ranks with striking teammates yesterday to rejoin their clubs in time to play this weekend's games.

While those players were returning, a five-hour negotiating session in Philadelphia, between Jack Donlan of the Management Council and Gene Upshaw of the Players Association made progress, according to Upshaw.

Although the sides decided to resume talking this morning, there was no indication that the strike, which has resulted in the cancellation of one football weekend and the creation of a new term - replacement players -could be settled in time to field regular teams this weekend.

Thus, it appears management will go ahead for a second straight week with its replacement teams. Last week, about 300,000 tickets were returned. 

In other pro football news; the Pittsburgh Maulers have traded KR-RB Amos Lawrence to the Jacksonville Bulls in return for draft pick considerations in 1988.

more to come......

Sunday, February 8, 2015

'87 Chronology-Power Play

Event Date: October 6th, 1987

Event Description: NFL Strike-Day #14

Source: Los Angeles Times/USA Today

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

'87 Chronology-The Replacements

Event Date: October 4th, 1987

Event Description: Replacement Bears Rout Eagles

Source: Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

'87 Chronology-Charge!

Event Date: October 3rd, 1987

Event Description: Sunday Starter

Source: L.A. Times (Tom Friend-Staff Writer)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

'87 Chronology-Walking The Line?

Event Date: October 1st, 1987

Event Description: NFL Strike Day #9-Breaking Ranks

Source: Los Angeles Times (Staff and Wire Reports)

The National Football League's open-door policy lured a few more striking players back into the fold Wednesday, and there were others shuffling their feet outside, trying to make up their minds.

The latest notables crossing picket lines include quarterback Danny White of the Dallas Cowboys, center Mike Webster and running back Earnest Jackson of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and wide receiver Roy Green of the St. Louis Cardinals.

That brought the total of strike defectors to 38, including 11 players listed on injured reserve who seem to be making remarkable recoveries. Because the league dropped its reserve list restrictions after the strike was called, all of the latter are eligible to play in the non-union games this weekend.

Five New Orleans regulars returned, and half a dozen other players--quarterback Joe Montana and wide receiver Dwight Clark of the San Francisco 49ers, wide receiver John Stallworth and safety Donnie Shell of the Steelers and running back Tony Dorsett and defensive end Ed (Too Tall) Jones of the Cowboys--seemed ready to take the big step.

If the NFL owners hope to weaken the strikers' resolve by continuing to play without them, the strategy may be working. They said that players who return by 9 a.m. Friday (local time) will be put back on the payroll immediately and will miss only 1/16 of their annual salaries, because of the cancellation of last week's games.

Referring to the 57-day strike in 1982 during which the owners did not stage non-union games, management negotiator Jack Donlan said, "Last time when we shut down, the Management Council got a number of calls and the clubs were inundated with calls from players who wanted to play and had no opportunity to play. This time, we're leaving the gates open for the players."

Out of 1,585 striking players, 38 (or 2.4%) is considered an insignificant number of defectors by experienced labor observers, who say any strike with such a small defection rate is almost always considered a great success. They concede, however, that this strike is unique in that some players could be influenced by the signing of USFL and CFL free agents and the defection of "name" players.

One of those, Webster, an eight-time Pro Bowl center, and Jackson, the team's top rusher, reported to the Steelers' training camp in Johnstown, Pa. Webster met earlier with union leader Gene Upshaw but said, "I'm not ready to turn over control of my career to Upshaw or Donlan."

White, citing financial reasons, became the third Cowboy to defy the strike. White said he cannot afford to miss another weekly paycheck, reportedly $45,000. His manufacturing business is said to be $250,000 in debt and he is being investigated for possible mail fraud by the U.S. Postal Service. "Gene Upshaw says the union is prepared to stay out all season, but I said, 'Wait a minute, I'm not,' " White said.

White will earn $750,000 if he starts eight games this season and $500,000 if he starts fewer.

Dorsett and Jones got letters from management warning that they could lose their annuities if they didn't report. "My mind was made up for me," Dorsett said. "I have no choice."

Player representative Doug Cosbie said he understands why White had to return, and added that even if Dorsett crosses the picket line, "He will still be behind what we are doing. We have strength in numbers."

At Denver, quarterback John Elway continued to refuse to picket, out of respect for Bronco owner Pat Bowlen. "As good as Mr. Bowlen is to us, I don't think we need to be walking in front of his office," Elway said.

Asked if he will break ranks and play with replacement players Sunday, Elway said, "I'm not going back. Whether I believe in (the strike) or not, I'm going to go the way we voted as a team."

Elsewhere, the United States Football League Players Association has threatened to file suit against the National Football Leauge claiming that the signing of USFL players as replacements violates terms of the USFLPA collective bargaining agreement. 

The USFLPA claims that the NFL is violating the terms of free agency because they are not signing players for the long-term and have broken the “fair trade and good faith article” of the USFLPA contract which calls for “fair negotiating and treatment of potential free agent players by all professional football leagues.” The NFL refused comment on the potential suit.

more to come......