1983 USFL Expansion Draft

Friday, May 25, 2018

'83 Chronology-Stock In Trade

Event Date: September 8th, 1983

Event Description: USFL Teams Stocked

Source: Star-News

'83 Chronology-Bulls Draft Bacon

Event Date: September 7th, 1983

Event Description: USFL Expansion Draft

Source: Washington Post

Coy Bacon, a durable defensive end, was one of four Washington Federals starters selected by the new franchises in the USFL expansion draft yesterday.

Bacon, who played four years for the Redskins before signing with the Federals, played all 18 games last season. He was picked by the Jacksonville Bulls in the 17th round of the draft, which will continue through six more rounds today. 

Also drafted late yesterday were defensive tackle Ron Estay, also by Jacksonville; guard Myke Horton and linebacker Joe Harris, both by the Memphis Showboats; and defensive end Mike Matocha by Jacksonville. 

Each team could lose 12 players before the expansion draft is completed. Starting with 29 protected players, teams shield an additional one each time a man is drafted. No financial compensation is made by the expansionists to the existing teams.

The new clubs, Memphis, Jacksonville, Houston and Pittsburgh, had postseason experience in mind during the first round. 

Mark Buben was taken from the league champion Chicago Blitz, DE Brad Anae from Philadelphia and tackles Phil Dokes and Greg Fairchild from the Michigan Panthers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

'83 Chronology-Argovitz Sells Out

Event Date: September 7th, 1983

Event Description: Argovitz Sells Out

Source: United Press International

Houston Gamblers owner Jerry Argovitz, under pressure from the United States Football League commissioner, has sold his lucrative business of negotiating players' contracts to a group of Houston businessmen, Argovitz told UPI Friday.

The deal for an undisclosed amount of cash was finalized Thursday, leaving NFL players Joe Cribbs of Buffalo, Curtis Dickey of Baltimore, David Overstreet of Miami, Billy Sims of Detroit and Robert Brazile of Houston in the hands of Jeff Prosser, 43, an international construction equipment salesman who recently involved himself with pro athletes' contracts.

Argovitz, a former dentist who earned millions through his stable of pro football players, had been ordered when he organized the fledgling Gamblers earlier this year to remove himself as a players' agent to avoid possible conflict of interest.

”I'm sure now Chet Simmons will be smiling,” Argovitz said.

'83 Chronology-Foreman Plots Comeback

Event Date: September 2nd, 1983

Event Description: I.F.L. Inks Foreman

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

'83 Chronology-Taking the Helm

Event Date: September 1st, 1983

Event Description: 'Boats Hire Pepper

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Hoosier Hopefuls

Event Date: August 31st, 1983

Event Description:  Indianapolis IFL

Source: United Press International

Indianapolis has been awarded a franchise in the new International Football League, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, real estate developer Max Bartlett will be its owner, the Indianapolis News reported Wednesday.

Bartlett, 48, has asked the Indianapolis Capital Improvements Board for permission to use the Hoosier Dome for his new club's home games, according to a story by News sports editor Wayne Fuson.

The CIB was scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider Bartlett's request, the story said.

The IFL is to be a spring league. Other IFL cities, according to Bartlett, are Miami, New York, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Omaha, Neb., and Columbus, Ohio.

The team would be the first professional football organization in Indianapolis. City leaders have been wooing the National Football League, and had the Hoosier Dome built as a stadium to increase the city's chances.

There was a futile attempt this summer to move the financially troubled Boston Breakers of the USFL to Indianapolis.

'83 Chronology-Point Break

Event Date: August 31st, 1983

Event Description: Breakers to Portland?

Source: United Press International

Attorneys for a prospective investor who would move the Boston Breakers franchise in the United States Football League to Portland could close a deal by next week, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The attorneys were to meet with USFL officials to discuss the USFL's background, first season and plans for the future, The Oregonian reported.

If the purchaser likes the numbers, a deal could be closed by next week, sources told the newspaper.

Bob Watson of the Oregon Cascades Football Club, who is working with the prospective investor, said 'this could get down to a footrace.'

Portland, Honolulu and New Orleans are the leading candidates to get the franchise, should it be sold.

The sale price is $7.5 million, but the actual cash changing hands would be $4.5 million, The Oregonian reported. The remaining $3 million would come from an expansion team fee.

Watson said the Honolulu concern has 'a financial base equal to or more powerful' than the investor who would bring the franchise to Portland.

Watson's group originally tried to get an expansion team in the USFL, which would have cost $6.25 million. That effort fell through, but the group found an interested investor early in August and began talking to the Breakers.

If the franchise were to locate in Portland, Watson said, it would generate $54 million for the local economy.

Monday, May 21, 2018

'83 Chronology-The Pittsburgh Maulers

Event Date: August 26th, 1983

Event Description: The Pittsburgh Maulers

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

'83 Chronology-Old School

Event Date: August 26th, 1983

Event Description: Expansion Teams-Territorial Schools 

Source: League Office

Sunday, May 20, 2018

'83 Chronology-Gamblers Sign Duo

Event Date: August 25th, 1983

Event Description: Gamblers Ink Pair

Source: United Press International

The Houston Gamblers of the U.S. Football League announced Thursday the signing of two former Rice players, running back Calvin Cooledge Fance and lineman Ernie Rogers.

Fance, a 6-foot-1, 215 pounder, played with the Miami Dolphins of the NFL last season. The season before he was with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League.

A Houston native, Fance played with the Owls from 1977-1980 after graduating from Houston's Forest-Brook High School.

Rogers, a 6-6, 279 pound offensive tackle, signed with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL last season. In 1981 he hooked up with the Houston Oilers. He entered pro football in 1979, the year he graduated from Rice, with a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys.


'83 Chronology-No Way!

Event Date: August 19th, 1983

Event Description: Dupree to USFL?

Source: Daily Leader

'83 Chronology-Merger Talks

Event Date: August 18th, 1983

Event Description:  USFL Owners Meetings

Source: United Press International

Arizona Wranglers owner Jim Joseph says he and Dr. Ted Diethrich must decide within the next few weeks if they should continue negotiations for the sale of the team.

“I'm in a position now, that I can't wait anymore,” Joseph said.

However, Diethrich indicated late Wednesday night that he and Joseph are optimistic about coming to an agreement.

“Jim Joseph and I have been working diligently over the past few weeks in an effort to finalize an agreement regarding professional football in Phoenix,” Diethrich said in a prepared statement.

“There have been numerous obsta:les, many of which we had not anticipated and some beyond our control. These have caused considerable delay, but we do, however, anticipate a resolution in the near future.”

“We appreciate how eager the football fans are regarding this news and I trust that the final outcome will be very satisfying to them.”

Joseph said earlier in the day he is frustrated by the slow progress of the negotiations.

“The question is are we doing ourselves a disservice by dragging this thing out?” Joseph said from his California headquarters.

“When we started, I thought this would be settled by the first or second week of August. It's just elongated.”

Diethrich, a Phoenix heart surgeon who owns a majority of the Chicago Blitz, returned Wednesday from a USFL meeting in Toronto.

“We can go one of three ways,” Joseph said. “I'd own 100 percent, he would own 100 percent, or we could merge. The third way looks the least likely. It looked the most likely two weeks ago. But the basic reason is, I did not wish to be in a minority position.”

Diethrich also has indicated he prefers majority ownership.

Earlier reports indicated the only barrier to transfer of ownership was a simultaneous sale of the Chicago franchise. A Chicago businessman, Walter Kaiser, heads a group negotiating to buy the franchise from Diethrich.

Joseph said the USFL prefers a merger.

“They're very concerned about what is happening in Chicago, which is one of the three major markets,” Joseph said. “The original merging idea would have been easiest for the league to swallow.”

Joseph said there is no disagreement over the purchase price of about $7 million.

“It's the other things such as player contracts and draft rights,” he said.

'83 Chronology-Pivotal Pursuits

Event Date: August 16th, 1983

Event Description: 'Boats Pursue Strock

Source: United Press International

The Memphis Showboats are negotiating with Miami Dolphins quarterback Don Strock over a three-year, $1 million contract, officials with the USFL club said today.

“I think we're going to sign him,” said team owner Logan Young, whose fledgling franchise has not yet hired a coach or any players

“They said they would like to work out some kind of deal this week and I told them we'd work something up in a couple of days.”

Young was in Toronto attending a league meeting this week.

Strock, 33, is also in negotiations with the Dolphins for a one-year contract. Miami has countered with a one-year offer that includes a two-year option.

Young said he also is interested in former Vanderbilt quarterback Whit Taylor, who was the No. 2 signal-caller with the Michigan Wolverines last year.

In other USFL news: At the league owners meetings in Toronto a report surfaced claiming that the league is close to approving the sale or possible merger of the Chicago and Arizona franchises.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

'83 Chronology-No Collusion

Event Date: August 13th, 1983

Event Description: Chargers Lose Anderson

Source: United Press International

A federal judge says Gary Anderson's former agent did not conspire to deliver Anderson to the United States Football League Tampa Bay Bandits in exchange for obtaining a USFL franchise in Houston as Anderson alleged.

U.S. District Judge Norman Black with that finding Friday refused to clear the way for Anderson's jump to the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League -- with whom he signed a contract 11 days ago.

Anderson, out of the University of Arkansas, has a contract in force to play exclusively for the Bandits.

“The most telling point,” Black said, “is the fact that the contract he negotiated (with Tampa Bay) was as good or better present value than he got (from San Diego), and the one with San Diego was signed months after he showed his prowess.”

Anderson had hoped to play with the Chargers Saturday in a pre-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Anderson played last spring for Tampa Bay at the urging of former agent Jerry Argovitz. Since then, Argovitz has been granted the Houston franchise of the USFL.

Testimony indicated Anderson's four-year, $1.5 million contract with San Diego was worth $234,000 if he was injured the first year. Evidence showed his four-year $1.375 million contract with Tampa Bay was worth more than $900,000 even if he was hurt.

Prior to the hearing in Black's court, Chargers lawyers obtained a temporary restraining order that prevented the Bandits from suing him for signing with the Chargers.

Black dissolved that court order Friday, saying he saw no reason to keep the Bandits from enforcing their rights.

U.S. District Judge Norman Black, who 10 days ago issued a temporary order forbidding Tampa Bay from suing Anderson for contract violation, said Friday he saw no reason to keep Tampa Bay from enforcing its rights.

Anderson's lawyers argued he should be allowed to sign with San Diego despite a previous Tampa Bay contract and accused Argovitz of selling Anderson out to Tampa Bay in exchange for a USFL franchise.

Argovitz and Tampa Bay owner John Bassett, chairman of the USFL expansion committee, testified at the day-long hearing and flatly denied any such deal. The judge ruled in their favor.

“I don't find any evidence that Dr. Argovitz or San Diego or anyone else entered a conspiracy against Gary Anderson,” Black said in ruling from the bench. Lawyers for Anderson, Bassett and Argovitz said they did not know what the next move would be.

On the advice of his lawyers, Anderson, who said he had trouble reading, had no comment.

“They had no case,” Argovitz said. “It was asinine to accuse me of collusion.”

Bassett tried to approach Anderson after the ruling but was rebuffed by Anderson's lawyers. Even though he won in court, Bassett was unhappy.

“He's like a fifth kid to me,” said Bassett, father of four. “If he'd come and told me he was bothered about this six months ago we would never have been here.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

'83 Chronology-Anderson v. Argovitz II

Event Date: August 5th, 1983

Event Description: Chargers Sign Anderson

Source: The Tuscaloosa News

'83 Chronology-Anderson vs. Argovitz

Event Date: August 4th, 1983

Event Description:  Anderson Seeks Free Agency

Source: United Press International

Running back Gary Anderson, who signed with the Tampa Bay Bandits on the advice of Houston agent Jerry Argovitz, has sued Argovitz for allegedly using him to win a United States Football League franchise.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court charges Argovitz with conspiring to deliver him to the Bandits as a condition for a USFL franchise for Houston, later awarded to the agent.

Anderson, a former University of Arkansas running back, had been selected by the San Diego Chargers as a first-round choice in the National Football League, but the New Jersey Generals picked Anderson as their No. 1 draft choice in the USFL. The Bandits acquired the Generals' rights to him, according to the suit.

Argovitz last spring was awarded a USFL expansion team, named the Houston Gamblers, and John Bassett, owner of the Bandits, was chairman of the USFL expansion committee, an affidavit attached to the suit said.

Anderson alleges Argovitz misrepresented the offers to him, making him believe the Bandits' offer was more lucrative, the suit said. After he signed with the Bandits, Anderson learned he could have made a substantially better deal with the Chargers.

The lawsuit alleged the award of the franchise to Argovitz was at least partially conditioned on his convincing Anderson to sign with the Bandits. Anderson, who lives in Missouri, is asking for an injunction to allow him to play with the Chargers immediately, $289,000 in damages and an order declaring his contract with the Bandits void.


'83 Chronology-First Choice

Event Date: August 2nd, 1983

Event Description: Pittsburgh Preparations

Source: United Press International

Joe Pendry doesn't expect quite as many problems putting together a team for the Pittsburgh franchise of the U.S. Football League as he did in helping to build the Philadelphia Stars' squad a year ago.

“We are further ahead than we were last year at this time in Philadelphia,” Pendry, 36, former offensive coordinator of the Stars, said Monday after he was named head coach of the still unnamed USFL Pittsburgh franchise by club president Paul Martha and general manager George Heddleston.

“I started there Aug. 1 too,” Pendry added, “and we had to worry about more than just fielding a team. We had to form a league last year. We had to work out all the problems of a new league. All we have to worry about here is getting the Pittsburgh franchise started.”

Pendry played a larger role than that of offensive coordinator during his first few months with the Stars. When the Stars first head coach, George Perles, quit last summer to take the head coaching job at Michigan State, Pendry filled in until the Stars replaced Perles with Jim Mora later in the year.

“I saw the team put together,” Pendry said in an interview before he got the Pittsburgh job. “I ran the tryout camps. It was a great experience. I feel very qualified for the job.”

Pendry's experience with the Stars was one of three factors that made him what Heddleston and Martha called “the No. 1 guy for the job.”

Also in Pendry's favor were the fact that he is a native of nearby West Virginia and that he worked previously at both West Virginia University, his alma mater, and the University of Pittsburgh, as offensive coordinator. Pitt and WVU are among the five colleges allocated to the Pittsburgh USFL team as its talent pool.

“It became abundantly clear during our search that we needed a guy with local flavor and with a working knowledge of our allocated schools,” Martha said.

“And we thought it would be nice to get somebody with some familiarity with the USFL and with the starting of a franchise.”

Heddleston said other candidates interviewed included former NFL head coaches Marv Levy and Leeman Bennett, assistant Washington Redskins coach Joe Bugel and former Cincinnati assistant Lindy Infante, now head coach of the Jacksonville USFL team.

Heddleston said the other candidates were not officially offered the job.

Pendry said his first order of business would be to hire “personnel people” who can prepare the team for the USFL expansion draft Sept. 1, and assistant coaches.
“I already have some (assistant) candidates in mind,' he said. 'I won't name them. They're people who I've worked with before -- some of them in the USFL.”

When looking for players, Pendry said, “I want to get the best athletes and not worry about whether he plays offense or defense.”

Pendry said he would not consider signing any college underclassmen.

He also said that if any college seniors from the team's five territorial schools make the roster, the club will establish $1,000 scholarships in the players' names at their colleges. USFL rules also provide that teams pay for those players to finish school.

In the USFL college draft, each team may draft only players from institutions not named as any USFL team's territorial schools.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

'83 Chronology-Pittsburgh Picks Pendry

Event Date: August 2nd, 1983

Event Description: Pendry Hired

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Sunday, May 13, 2018

'83 Chronology-Salt & Pepper

Event Date: July 28th, 1983

Event Description: Young Secures Stadium

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Television Syndication

Event Date: July 27th, 1983

Event Description: IFL TV Deal

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Lend Lease

Event Date: July 26th, 1983

Event Description: Young Seeks Stadium

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Dickerson Deal

Event Date: July 23rd, 1983

Event Description: Dickerson Signs

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Exploratory Talks

Event Date: July 23rd, 1983

Event Description: Bengals Pursue Wideout

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Saturday, May 12, 2018

'83 Chronology-New Kid In Town

Event Date: July 22nd, 1983

Event Description: New Kid In Town

Source: UPI

The new sports kid in town is being welcomed with open arms.

Logan Young, a 42-year-old millionaire businessman with ties to Arkansas, has been granted the Memphis franchise for a USFL team, one of four expansion teams for 1984. Young has yet to name the team.

The Memphis Park Commission is expected to grant Young a lease for use of Liberty Bowl Stadium for next season.

The commission has another lease proposal from the newly formed International Football League, but it is believed Young will be given the lease since the USFL has one season of experience and the IFL has not played a down.

Young said he is prepared to remain as full owner or he may consider selling a partial interest in his franchise to local investors.

“I have some friends in Memphis who probably would be willing to buy limited interest in the team,” he said. “I think it would be good for several reasons for others to be involved in ownership, but I am not interested in selling any part of the team until we've put together a front office and coaching staff.”

Young had been in the forefront of a drive to get an NFL franchise for Memphis. But when the league said it would not expand for the next few years, he began looking for another place to plunk down his money and found the USFL ready and waiting.

Memphis is no stranger to professional football. The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the strongest franchises in the old World Football League, which went under after one season.

John Bassett, former owner of the Grizzlies and now owner of the USFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is chairman of the new league's expansion committee and has been one of most vocal supporters of Memphis as a pro sports town.

Charles Cavagnaro, Memphis State athletic director, was general manager of the now-defunct Memphis Tams of the American Basketball Association. He said another pro team will be good for the city.

“It's going to be interesting,” Cavagnaro said. “I think obviously the community has demonstrated in the past that it wants pro football desperately.”

The athletic director said a USFL franchise would not draw fans away from the Memphis State Tigers since the new league plays its games in the spring and summer.


'83 Chronology-Doomsday?

Event Date: July 22nd, 1983

Event Description: USFL Expansion

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-Sweet Sixteen

Event Date: July 21st, 1983

Event Description: Memphis Awarded Franchise

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Friday, May 11, 2018

'83 Chronology-Decision Time

Event Date: July 20th, 1983

Event Description: Williams Quitting?

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'83 Chronology-The Next Herschel?

Event Date: July 20th, 1983

Event Description: Chet Simmons Interview

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Thursday, May 10, 2018

'83 Chronology-The Butler Did It

Event Date: July 20th, 1983

Event Description: Bandits Sign Butler

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

'83 Chronology-Ownership Wranglings

Event Date: July 20th, 1983

Event Description:  Joseph May Sell Club

Source: UPI

Heart surgeon Dr. Ted Diethrich may buy at least part ownership in the Arizona Wranglers of the U.S. Football League, a Phoenix newspaper reported Friday.

The Phoenix Gazette said Wrangler owner Jim Joseph was talking with Diethrich, director of the Arizona Heat Institute in Phoenix and the principal owner of the Chicago Blitz of the USFL.

Joseph, interviewed by the Gazette at USFL meetings in Denver before last weekend's league championship game, said he was negotiating with a pair of groups interested in buying the team. The second group consists of Bill Tatham Sr. and his son Bill Jr.. The Tathams were awarded an expansion franchise but have had trouble securing a new city after their failed bid to put a team in San Diego.

Joseph has indicated in the past that he wanted to retain a majority interest in the team, but said that goal could change if either Diethrich or the Tathams decide to purchase the club.

Diethrich confirmed that he was talking with Joseph, but did not disclose any details. Diethrich said the Blitz, which averaged 18,091 fans this season, lost about $3 million, “about double what I expected.”

In a Chicago interview at the end of the Blitz season, Diethrich indicated he would be interested in owning the Phoenix franchise because ownership of the Chicago team has interferred with his medical work. Diethrich said he spent a 'tremendous amount' of time in Chicago, tending to Blitz business at the expense of his medical practice.

As for the Tathams they are believed to have interest in the Wranglers’, but would want to “start fresh by establishing a new team identity”. The current Wranglers’ squad finished the year with a (1-17) record.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

'83 Chronology-League Awards

Event Date: July 19th, 1983

Event Description: USFL Awards

Source: Pro Football Weekly

Sunday, May 6, 2018

'83 Chronology-Lets Get Blitzed!

Event Date: July 18th, 1983

Event Description: Blitz Take Title!

Source: UPI

Wide receiver Trumaine Johnson ran through the Stars’ secondary for 107 yards and one touchdown catch, to give Chicago claim to the first United States Football League championship with a 17-14 upset victory over the Philadelphia Stars.

“Now I have something to brag about this summer,” said the former Grambling star who was named the MVP of the contest.

The Stars missed a chance to tie the game in the final quarter when kicker David Trout missed a late field goal. 

“We tried to come back,” Philadelphia Coach Jim Mora said, “but just ran out of time. We played well but Chicago played better. We got off to a slow start and it's tougher to come back as the teams get better. But our guys never quit.”

The Stars spotted Chicago a 17-7 lead heading into the final quarter of the title game but quarterback Chuck Fusina promptly rallied his team for a score with 7:26 remaining closing the gap to 17-14 after a Scott Fitzkee touchdown reception.

Chicago then quickly turned the ball back over to Philadelphia after a quick three and out. The Stars then drove 46 yards via a ten-play drive, only to be stymied by the missed field goal.

“I'm disappointed,” Fusina said. “I came up short in the Sugar Bowl (1978 with Penn State) and again here tonight. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. This is a good experience for us. We'll come back next year even hungrier.”

Fusina was16-of-33 for 160 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. His counterpart Greg Landry finished 10-of-20 for 158 yards with one interception and two touchdowns.

League MVP Kelvin Bryant led all rushers with 95 yards on 17 carries with one score. Mack Boatner led the Chicago ground attack with 60 yards on ten carries. Tim Spencer was held to just 43 yards on 12 attempts.

“They outplayed us and deserved to win,” said Philadelphia tackle Irv Eatman, who shunned a high draft from the NFL to sign with the Stars. “They took advantage of our mistakes. But we took it down to the wire, never gave up fighting. I'm proud of this team.”

Game Notes: The Stars finished with four turnovers as compared to only two for Chicago...Don Fielder led the Stars defense with 12 tackles and three runs stuffs...Jim Fahnhorst was awarded a game ball by Chicago head coach George Allen after posting seven tackles, one sack, two deflections, one forced fumble and one interception.

(Story-Modifeid UPI)