USFL Commissioner Chet Simmons resigns......

Saturday, January 25, 2020

'85 Chronology-Simmons Resignation

Event Date: July 10th, 1985

Event Description: Simmons Resigns

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'85 Chronology-Davis Deniels

Event Date: July 8th, 1985

Event Description: Davis Denies Interest

Source: Gainesville Sun

Friday, January 24, 2020

'85 Chronology-League Undercurrents

Event Date: July 3rd, 1985

Event Description: Bassett Address

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'85 Chronology-Collusion Charges

Event Date: July 1st, 1985

Event Description: NFL Salary Fight

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

'85 Chronology-Playoff Pay

Event Date: July 1st, 1985

Event Description: Playoff Payouts

Source: UPI

Each player on the USFL championship team will have earned $17,000 in playoff money. The breakdown per game is $3,000 for the quarterfinals, $4,000 for the semifinals and $10,000 for winning the championship game.

Players on the runner-up team receive $12,000, with $5,000 for the second-place finish in the title game.

The game was televised live outside the United States to Canada, Italy, Britain, Thailand, Mexico, Spain and Holland.

Celebrities attending the game included Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. The basketball players said they are friends of wide receiver Anthony Carter.

The crowd was announed at 49,263 but appeared much smaller. The league hoped attendance would surpass 50,000. The first USFL championship game at Denver drew 50,906. Last year's title game at Tampa, Fla., was attended by 52,662.


Friday, January 17, 2020

'85 Chronology-Title Tilt!

Event Date: June 30th, 1985

Event Description: Generals Win Title!

Source: PFW

Quarterback Doug Flutie fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to Clarence Collins with just 12 seconds remaining to lead the Generals to a wild 35-31 triumph in the USFL championship game versus Michigan on Saturday night.

Flutie’s touchdown pass ended one of the most exciting finals in the short history of the league as the two teams played through a see-saw battle which saw lead changes throughout the final minutes.

Flutie opened the scoring with a 30-yard TD pass to Sam Bowers, which capped a six-play, 80 yard drive giving New Jersey an early 7-0 lead.

At the end of the quarter, Michigan responded with a seven-play, 67 yard drive which ended with a John Williams five-yard touchdown run to tie the score 7-7. 

Midway through the second stanza the Generals regained the lead 14-7 as Herschel Walker finished another long New Jersey drive with a six-yard scamper.

A Novo Bojovic 30-yard field goal in the third would pull Michigan to within 14-10.

The final quarter would see a flurry of scoring as Bobby Hebert drove the Panthers 86 yards in six plays, capped by a 14-yard TD pass to tight end Mike Cobb with Michigan pulling ahead for the first time at 17-10.

The Generals quickly responded with a ten-play, 74 yard drive which saw Walker score his second touchdown of the day as New Jersey regained the lead.

Michigan quickly responded to that score as Hebert completed three consecutive passes n a 67-yard drive that ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Derek Holloway that put Michigan ahead 24-21.

New Jersey then put together another long, run-oriented drive that covered 76-yards over 12 plays and culminated with a Flutie to Maurice Carthon three-yard touchdown toss.

Trailing 28-24, John Williams carried five times in a 80-yard eleven-play drive that put the Panthers back into the lead. He took a pitch right and received a key block from running mate Cleo Miller to score untouched into the endzone with just 1:48 remaining.

Herschel Walker was named the game's Most Valuable Player after he rushed for 189 yards on 30 carries. Doug Flutie finished with 289 yards passing on 19-of-29 efficiency with one interception and two sacks.

John Williams led the Panthers ground attack with 178 yards on 28 carries, and Bobb Hebert finished with 278 yards with two touchdowns and two sacks in what could be his last game as the Panthers pivot.

The game was played before a crowd of 49,263 at Giants Stadium, the smallest of the three championship games.

Story-(UPI Composite)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'85 Chronology-Exchange of Views

Event Date: June 29th, 1985

Event Description: USFL Owners Meet

Source: UPI

Representatives for each of the sixteen U.S. Football League teams met for nine hours Friday and afterward reported some progress was made in solving many of the league's problems.

When the meeting broke at 6:30 p.m. E.D.T., Commissioner Chet Simmons said the teams would meet again Sunday the day after the Michigan Panthers play the New Jersey Generals at Giants Stadium in the third USFL championship game.

The USFL is planning to remain in the spring for the 1986 season, but they may explore a fall option for 1987 or 1988. 

The owners must decide how many players should be kept on the rosters after August 1st, the status of the Chicago franchise and how to resolve problems that some teams have had with regard to player payrolls, specifically in San Antonio. 

“Those decisions are hard and those conversations are long and exciting,” Simmons said. “It's probably premature to make any annoucements. On Sunday we'll address all of the issues we addressed today. This is a part of a series of meetings this summer.”

The Los Angeles Express, Pittsburgh Maulers, and San Antonio Gunslingers are top candidates to be moved or merged. 

But a move by the Express may jeopardize league contracts with star quarterback Steve Young of Los Angeles. Young and agent Leigh Steinberg met with Simmons Thursday, saying the league's takeover of the Express for the 1985 season has voided Young's USFL contract. 

Simmons admitted a buyout of Young's contract is a possibility. The former Birgham Young star's NFL rights are owned by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

League owners have also talked to Eddie Einhorn regarding the status of the Chicago team which has been inactive since the end of the 1984 season.

Players for the San Antonio Gunslingers, Gamblers and Bandits have had problems receiving paychecks owed to them from the recently completed season. On Thursday, an arbitrator ruled if San Antonio owner Clinton Manges did not pay his players within 10 days their contracts would be terminated.

The plan for keeping a majority of rosters intact apparently will have each team protect either 25 or 35 players by Aug. 1st -- though that date may be flexible. 

However, the thought of mergers and ownership changes has many USFL stars trying to latch on with the NFL. 

Running back Mike Rozier has signed with the Houston Oilers and Young and Panthers quarterback Bobby Hebert are rumored to be near agreements to jump to the NFL.

So far, 40,000 tickets, priced at $28 and $22, have been sold for the title game. League officials are hoping for a crowd of 50,000, a figure exceeded in the first two title game at Denver and Tampa.

Story-(UPI Modified)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

'85 Chronology-USFL Awards '85

Event Date: June 29th, 1985

Event Description: USFL Awards

Source: UPI

New Jersey Generals running back Herschel Walker culminated his season of big gains by adding three honors Friday night at the U.S. Football League Commisioner's Awards Dinner.

USFL commissioner Chet Simmons presented Walker with the Most Valuable Player and Running back of the Year awards.

Walker was also honored as the leading scorer this year.

Walker earned the honors by motoring to a professional single-season rushing record of 2,148 yards, breaking the mark of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams last NFL season. 

Reggie White, a defensive end for the Memphis Showboats and an ordained Baptist minister, was awarded the Man of the Year Award for distinguishing himself off the field in community involvement and contributions.

Jim Stanley was named Coach of the Year for guiding the Michigan Panthers to a 14-2 record and the Western Conference title.

Other winners were Stars president Carl Peterson, Executive of the Year; free safety Chuck Clanton of Birmingham, Defensive Player of the Year; Bobby Hebert of the Michigan Panthers, Quarterback of the Year; Oakland's Gordon Banks, Receiver of the Year; and Clarence Verdin of the Gamblers, Special Teams Player of the Year.

Story-(UPI Modified)

Monday, January 13, 2020

'85 Chronology-Championship Preview

Event Date: June 28th, 1985

Event Description: Week #19 Preview

Source: PFW

Week #19 USFL Preview

Saturday, June 29th

U.S.F.L.  Championship

(16-2) Michigan Panthers at (13-5) New Jersey Generals

Latest Line: (Panthers -2)

Television: ABC National: Keith Jackson & Lynn Swann

ABC Radio: Charley Steiner & Robert Casciola

ESPN Radio: John Greer & Bob Fiscella

'85 Chronology-Pending Sales

Event Date: June 28th, 1985

Event Description: Broadway Joe Returns

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Sunday, January 12, 2020

'85 Chronology-No Bull

Event Date: June 25th, 1985

Event Description: Rozier Readies Jump

Source: Sarasota Herald Tribune

Friday, January 10, 2020

'85 Chronology-Western Conference Championship

'85 Chronology-Romper Room

Event Date: June 24th, 1985

Event Description: Big Play Panthers

Source: PFW-UPI

Bobby Hebert fired four touchdown passes and John Williams ran for 199 yards with one touchdown, leading the Michigan Panthers to a 55-34 romp over the Houston Gamblers in the Western Conference final of the United States Football League.

The victory earned the Panthers their first berth in next weeks’ U.S.F.L. Championship game at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Hebert completed 21-of-30 passes for 317 yards with one interception and no sacks. 

Derek Holloway, who led the league with 1,733 receiving yards during the season, and Anthony Carter torched the Houston secondary throughout the contest. 

Holloway finished with 10 receptions for 154 yards with one score while Carter piled up 156 yards on ten receptions with three touchdowns.

Vito McKeever turned the game into a rout with a 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the second quarter as Michigan led 28-3 early in the frame.

At the end of the half, the Panthers went 80 yards in seven plays on runs by Williams of 27 and 16 yards and a 17-yard reception from Carter as Michigan went up 38-3.

The Gamblers, the defending league champions, were dominated on both sides of the ball throughout the contest.

“I gave them fourteen points” said Houston quarterback Jim Kelly, referring to McKeever’s return and a second quarter interception that led to a score. “There were times today that I wish I could have just started the game all over again,” said Kelly. 

“Getting behind early like we did just allowed them to control the tempo and things just snowballed in the second quarter.”

Kelly finished the day with 299 passing yards on 26-of-37 efficiency with three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

“I have a lot of respect for Houston's defense,” said Michigan head coach Jim Stanley. “But their defense may be easier to break a big play on than it is to gain a simple four or five yards against.”

The Panthers will now travel to New Jersey next week to take on the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Generals who will have home-field advantage on their side. 

Story-(UPI Modified)

'85 Chronology-Eastern Conference Championship

'85 Chronology-Overtime Oeurve

Event Date: June 24th, 1985

Event Description: Generals Advance

Source: PFW-UPI

Doug Flutie fired a 36-yard touchdown strike to Clarence Collins in overtime Sunday to power the New Jersey Generals to a 40-34 triumph over the Tampa Bay Bandits in the Eastern Conference final of the U.S. Football League.

“We never had an opportunity in overtime after they scored on the opening possession,” said Tampa Bay coach Steve Spurrier. “ I know our fans are disappointed but we didn't play as well as I thought we would so New Jersey deserves a shot to win the championship.” 

Maurice Carthon's three-yard touchdown opened the scoring in the first quarter at the ten-minute mark giving the visitors an early 7-0 lead. 

That score was quickly followed up by a Flutie to Collins 52-yard strike which was set up by a Gregg Johnson 20-yard interception return. 

A Roger Ruzek 27-yard field goal pushed New Jersey out in front by a score of 17-0 at the five-minute mark of the opening stanza.

The Bandits however rallied at the point, scoring 17 unanswered in the second frame as Gary Anderson scored via a three-yard run and later on a 42-yard strike from John Reaves. A 27-yard field goal from Zenon Andrusyshyn tied things at 17-17 as the teams headed into the intermission.

The Bandits pulled ahead by a score of 31-17 in the second-half after Tampa put together two long drives of 73 and 80 yards respectively, with both culminating with John Reaves touchdown passes. The first an eleven yard swing pass to Larry Brodsky and the second a 15-yarder to tight end Marvin Harvey.

Another Doug Flutie touchdown pass to Clarence Collins and a Herschel Walker ten-yard tuchdown run tied things at 31-31 with just over three minutes remaining in regulation. The Generals led 34-31 after Roger Ruzek nailed a 28-yard field goal at the 1:13 mark.

The Bandits then sent the game into overtime when Andrusyshyn connected on a 31-yard field goal with just 23 seconds remaining in regulation.

Doug Flutie finished 23-for-33 for 368 yards with two picks and three touchdowns while John Reaves was 26-for-37 for 366 yards. 

Herschel Walker led all rushers with 172 yards on 29 carried and Gary Anderson carried the ball fourteen times for 96 yards in the loss.

Story-(UPI Modified)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

'85 Chronology-Cash & Condo

Event Date: June 22nd, 1985

Event Description: Rozier Tests Free Agency

Story: PFW-UPI

The agent for USFL running back Mike Rozier said the odds that Rozier will sign with the Houston Oilers have improved substantially after the NFL team's latest contract offer.

Art Wilkinson, who met Thursday with Oilers general manager Ladd Herzeg, said, “I'm impressed with the Oilers' offer, and from a cursory examination, I think the odds have improved to about 50-50,” Wilkinson said.

“The Oilers' offer means more cash now, while the Jacksonville Bulls' proposal is more suited for the future.” Rozier was the USFL's third leading rusher with 1,420 yards on 340 carries for Jacksonville.

Wilkinson said an offer that he believes is final from the Bulls includes a “cash-and-condo combo.” He showed that offer to Herzeg, who then gave him what he believes is the Oilers' final offer, Wilkinson said.

“Now that I have the final offers from both clubs, I can start evaluating them,” he said. “Then I'll sit down with Mike now that the Bulls' season is over.

Rozier originally signed with the Pittsburgh Maulers out of college, but the club traded him in the off-season due to a contract dispute. He then signed with Jacksonville, but has been talking with the Oilers off and on for about a year.

A NFL ruling could delay the Oilers' attempts to sign Rozier. The league issued instructions that NFL teams could not sign USFL players before August 1st, two weeks into the start of the Oilers' training camp. The start of U.S.F.L. free agency also begins on August 1st.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

'85 Chronology-Million Dollar Man

Event Date: June 21st, 1985

Event Description: Panthers Eye Title

Source: UPI

The final obstacle between the Michigan Panthers and a chance at the United States Football League championship will be their toughest.

After disposing of the Los Angeles Express 48-14 in a first-round playoff game last weekend, the Panthers now face their main division rival the Houston Gamblers -- the team with the same record in the USFL.

The defending champion Gamblers scored a 46-30 victory over the Denver Gold in the opening round of the playoffs.

The teams split their two matchups during the regular season, with the Panthers winning a Week Five matchup by a score of 59-42 and the Gamblers taking victory in Week Fifteen by a 24-20 margin.

Game time is 4:30 p.m. EDT Sunday at the Silverdome in Pontiac.

Michigan's three wide receivers -- Anthony Carter, Derek Holloway and Walter Broughton -- have drawn Gamblers coach Jack Pardees attention, but Bobby Hebert has not gone unnoticed as he is coming off of a record-setting season. The 6-foot-4, signal caller’s season totals include 45 touchdowns and 5,456 yards.

“He is a quarterback who is trying to get $1 million from the National Football League,” Pardee said.

Hebert has reportedly agreed to sign a futures contract with the Los Angeles Raiders of the NFL.

Michigan also has offensive balance, with fullback John Williams piling up over 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns on the year.

Panthers coach Jim Stanley compared his team's season to that of the Gamblers.

“We both started off well and continued to cruise throughout the season, we played two hard fought games and this weeks’ game will not be any different,” Stanley said.

The winner of Sunday's game will advance to the league championship and will meet the survivor of the New Jersey-Tampa Bay game to be played earlier in the day.

Story-(UPI Modified)

'85 Chronology-Week #18 Preview

Event Date: June 22nd, 1985

Event Description: Week #18 Preview

Source: Pro Football Weekly

Week #18 USFL Preview

Sunday, June 23rd

Eastern Conference Championship

(12-5) New Jersey Generals at (12-5) Tampa Bay Bandits

Latest Line: (Generals -2)

Television: ESPN National: Keith Jackson & Lynn Swann

ESPN Radio: Charley Steiner & Robert Casciola

Western Conference Championship

(15-2) Houston Gamblers at (15-2) Michigan Panthers

Latest Line: (Panthers -5)

Television: ABC National: Corey McPherrin & Kevin Kiley

ESPN Radio: John Greer & Bob Fiscella

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

'85 Chronology-Pay Day

Event Date: June 21st, 1985

Event Description: Johnson Contract Buyout

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Monday, January 6, 2020

'85 Chronology-Longest Season

Event Date: June 18th, 1985

Event Description: Kush Press Conference

Source: Tempe Times

Sunday, January 5, 2020

'85 Chronology-Defense Rests

Event Date: June 17th, 1985

Event Description: Advance Notice

Source: PFW-UPI

The nickel defense paid big dividends for the Houston Gamblers on Sunday afternoon.

Dennis DeVaughn picked off Vince Evans and raced 57 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the game to help defending USFL champion Houston to a 46-30 victory over the Denver Gold.

“We were in the nickel defense with an extra back,” said Houston coach Jack Pardee. “This was a real good victory for this team. We showed class in the game. I'm proud of this team as we fought hard from beginning to end.”

“We were in double rotation nickel coverage, and I had a short area of responsibility,” DeVaughn said. “I made a hell of a break for the ball and then took it in. My main thing was to make sure I had the ball. I think he (Evans) never really saw me. We disguised the defense to make him think it was a man-to-man.’

Evans attributed the loss to errors.

“I can't throw deep on them. We just made a couple of mistakes, and mine were the most glaring.”

Leonard Harris hauled in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Evans giving the Gold an early 10-0 lead only to see Houston score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter.

The first Houston score came via a ten-yard run from Jim Kelly which was quickly followed up with a 43-yard punt return by Gerald McNeil as the Gamblers moved out to a 14-10 lead. 

Houston took a 28-17 lead into the intermission when Kelly found McNeil for a 51-yard scoring strike with just over one minute left to play in the half.

In the final frame, Bill Johnson powered his way into the end zone after with a 12-yard run as Denver cut the Houston lead down to 31-23.

Houston took a 39-23 lead when Kelly connected with Ricky Sanders on a nine-yard score and Todd Fowler converted a two-point conversion try.

A 62-yard pass from Evans to Bill Johnson pulled the Gold to within 39-30 with just over three minutes left in the contest.

The other game of the day saw the Michigan Panthers blowout Los Angeles by a score of 48-14 as Bobby Hebert tossed five touchdowns and John Williams rushed for 137 yards with one score.

The Panthers shredded the Los Angeles secondary as both Anthony Carter and Derek Holloway went over the 100-yard mark with Carter scoring twice and Holloway finding paydirt three more times.

The Panthers will now host Houston in next weeks’ western Conference title game.

Story-(UPI Modified)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

'85 Chronology-Playoff Push

Event Date: June 16th, 1985

Event Description: Playoff Roundup

Source: PFW-UPI

On Saturday night,  Steve Spurriers' worries that his offense would never get going were all for naught.

“I was concerned with our point production in the first half,” Spurrier said. “But we put it together in the second half. It was a game where we did a lot of things right. It's just a great feeling to know we were being rewarded for our hard work all season.” 

The Bandits scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns enroute to a 33-21 win over their divison rivals, despite losing the services of star widout Eric Truvillion who missing due to his recent suspension.

The Bandits led 19-7 after three quarters, then John Reaves tossed a pair of touchdowns in the final quarter on their way to final victory. 

Reaves completed 26-of-39 passes for 290 yards with one interception and one sack. Gary Anderson led all rushers with 81 yards on 24 carries and one rushing touchdown.

After a 55-yard strike from Mike Kelley to Greg Moser which cut the Bandits’ lead to 19-14, Tampa pivot John Reaves found Gary Anderson for a 12-yard touchdown and then followed that up with a 27-yard touchdown to Larry Brodsky with just over three minutes remaining in the contest. 

Memphis quarterback Mike Kelly hit on 14-of-22 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Greg Moser finished with six receptions for a career-high 180 yards and two scores.

The Bandits will now take on the New Jersey Generals who defeated Philadelphia also on Saturday.

It'll be another challenge for our team,” Spurrier said. “It's going to take another perfect game as they have the best player in the league in Herschel Walker.”

At New Jersey, Herschel Walker finished with 149 yards rushing and one touchdown while Doug Flutie tossed three touchdown passes en route to their 35-13 victory over the Stars. 

(Story-UPI Modified)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

'85 Chronology-Week #17 Preview

Event Date: June 14th, 1985

Event Description: Week #17 Preview

Source: Pro Football Weekly

Week #17 USFL Preview

Saturday, June 15th

(11-5) Philadelphia Stars at (11-5) New Jersey Generals

Latest Line: (Generals -4)   

Television: ESPN National: Jim Simpson & Paul McGuire

ESPN Radio: Charley Steiner & Robert Casciola

(9-7) Memphis Showboats at (11-5) Tampa Bay Bandits

Latest Line: (Bandits -6)

Television: ESPN National: Fred Manfra & Marv Levy

Radio: ESPN Radio: Gene Deckerhoff & Vic Prinzi

Sunday, June 16th

(14-2) Houston Gamblers at (11-5) Denver Gold

Latest Line: (Gamblers -2)

Television: ESPN National: Jim Simpson &  Ed Biles

ESPN Radio: John Greer & Bob Fiscella

(8-8) Los Angeles Express at (14-2) Michigan Panthers

Latest Line: (Panthers -10)

Television: ABC National: Keith Jackson & Lynn Swann

Radio: ESPN Radio: Tom Kelly & Rich Marotta