Go here for the 1986 USFL schedule......

Monday, June 1, 2020

'86 Chronology-Draft Profiles 1

Event Date: January 1st, 1986

Event Description: Draft Profiles-Quarterbacks

Source: UPI

(Thumbnail sketches of leading players for the upcoming USFL and NFL drafts, listed alphabetically by position) 

Quarterbacks 

Robbie Bosco, Brigham Young, 6-2 , 188. Stock dropped when senior season failed to match junior. May be a BYU QB where system makes talent look better. Moves well, but shoulder miseries and interceptions scare many. A fierce competitor, with top accuracy, who directed team to national title.

Steve Bradley, Indiana, 6-2, 225. Started senior season as if he had something to prove and dropped off. Good runner, but breaks pocket too quick. Needs fine-tuning.

Walter Brister, Northeast Louisiana, 6-2 , 195. Wacky college career filled with pro baseball, arm trouble, transfers and unhonored letter of intent, ended with consistent senior season. Can erect a future with work.

Tom Erhardt, Rhode Island, 6-3, 207. How much will Div. I-AA hurt? Numbers -- more than 3,500 yards and 19 TD passes -- are impressive. Quick release and anticipation. Lacks pocket movement.

Jim Everett, Purdue, 6-5, 208. As senior led nation in total offense. Impressive arm, size and pocket-movement instincts. Learned to read defenses in passing system. Tough kid. Good offensive coordinator will really help.

Doug Gaynor, Long Beach State, 6-1 , 210. Must learn to escape sacks; has shown movement to do that. Extremely accurate with short passes (71.2 percent completion rate as senior). Questions about arm stength. Looked good in Hula Bowl.

Stan Gelbaugh, Maryland, 6-3, 195. Most problems are those of inactivity from not playing until senior campaign. Progressed throughout last season. Can punt and play WR which makes him a possible No. 3 QB project.

Chuck Long, Iowa, 6-3 , 211. Handles pressure situations well. Good size and mobility, though not a scrambler. Tremendous accuracy within 20 yards. Some questions about long ball. Instincts are top-notch.

Brian McClure, Bowling Green, 6-6, 227. For such a big guy, not a great arm. Little mobility and poor California Bowl performance. Productive, but needs development.

Hugh Millen, Washington, 6-4, 210. Arm, size and mind to play in NFL. Desire and consistency are questions. Star two years ago in Orange Bowl, was unable to hold job last season.

Mike Norseth, Kansas, 6-2, 198. Postseason All-Star games and senior campaign helped dramatically. Mechanics and arm are positives. Speed is negative.

Gilbert Renfroe, Tennessee State, 6-1, 190. Unorthodox throwing style. Comes from load-it-up and throw it offense. Powerful arm, but size a problem. Loves the long ball.

Tony Robinson, Tennessee, 6-2 , 182. Chance to go early until drug-trafficking charges. Also, season-ending knee injury last fall. But there are no questions about tools -- exceptional arm, strength and speed.

Mark Rypien, Washington State, 6-4, 230. Impressive size and powerful arm. Disspelled some questions about coming from option offense with standout Senior Bowl. Inconsistent.

Willie Totten, Mississippi Valley State, 6-2, 199. Outstanding athlete, who played in most pass-happy offense in college. Great feet. Questions about arm strength and his competition.

Jack Trudeau, Illinois, 6-3, 211. Inconsistency and bad knee hurts draft placement. Tools are evident, but should have played better with a good team. 

Story-(UPI)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

'85 Chronology-Verbal Agreement

Event Date: December 30th, 1985

Event Description: Mora Moving On?

Source: Lakeland Ledger


Friday, May 29, 2020

'85 Chronology-Inside Sources

Event Date: December 28th, 1985

Event Description: Braman Balks; Phillips Out

Source: Associated Press


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

'85 Chronology-Burn Out

Event Date: December 28th, 1985

Event Description: Greenwood Released

Source: Lakeland Ledger

'85 Chronology-Full Disclosure

Event Date: December 27th, 1985

Event Description: Manges Under Fire

Source: UPI

South Texas oilman Clinton Manges, threatened with jail if he did not comply, filed documents ordered in a $650,000 lawsuit over back pay still owed former players for the defunct San Antonio Gunslingers team.

Phil Hardberger, an attorney for the former USFL players, said Manges filed the documents in state district court in San Antonio Thursday shortly before the noon deadline.

“The next step is to go through all the documents to see if there's been full disclosure,” Hardberger said.

Manges was ordered to submit documents detailing his financial status to determine if Manges was financially able to pay the salaries still owed the players.

Manges had been held in contempt of court last month by state District Judge Paul Rivera for not producing the documents during depositions in connection with the lawsuit.

Story-(UPI)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

'85 Chronology-Tentative Agreement

Event Date: December 26th, 1985

Event Description: Eagles Consider Coaches

Source: Lakeland Ledger


'85 Chronology-Christmas Concern

Event Date: December 24th, 1985

Event Description: Usher Has Heart Surgery

Source: UPI

Harry Usher, commissioner of the U.S. Football League, was in good condition at a hospital Tuesday awaiting corrective bypass surgery for a heart ailment, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Usher was admitted Saturday to St. John's Hospital and Health Center after he complained of chest pains, said nursing supervisor Helen Berg.

He was in good condition Tuesday and a spokeswoman said no surgery had been scheduled.

“He will remain in the hospital for observation until corrective bypass surgery can be performed,” Berg said.

Bypass surgery diverts blood from clogged arteries or veins that block the fluid from reaching the heart.

Usher, who complained of chest pains last week during a routine physical examination, was expected to spend Christmas in the hospital, Berg said.

Usher was appointed to a three-year term as USFL commissioner in July, replacing Chet Simmons who resigned.

Usher was the executive vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 summer games.

He attended Brown University, where he played varsity football and baseball. He later was graduated from Stanford Law School and eventually became president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, specializing in entertainment law.

Monday, May 25, 2020

'85 Chronology-Distant Replay

Event Date: December 21st, 1985

Event Description: USFL Enhanced Replay

Source: Football News

Five new areas in which United States Football League's instant replay rule can be invoked were announced Friday by USFL Commissioner.

Usher said that instant replay will be used for challenges of calls when the status of the ball is involved such as:

-- Fumble or no fumble.

-- Pass complete, incomplete or intercepted, including questions of whether a pass is forward or backward, passed beyond the line of scrimmage or is touched in flight by a defender or eligible receiver.

-- The ball's penetration of the goal line.

-- Whether a play is out of bounds.

-- Whether a kicked ball has been touched by a member of either team.

Usher also announced that additional moves are being taken to protect ball carriers -- especially quarterbacks.

more to come......

Saturday, May 23, 2020

'85 Chronology-No Outlaws

Event Date: December 20th, 1985

Event Description: Outlaws Mini Camp

Source: UPI

Drug tests given 74 players who attended a minicamp for the Arizona Outlaws of the United States Football League all were negative, club officials said Friday.

“The fact we didn't have even one (positive test) is phenomenal,” team president Bill Tatham Jr. said.

The unannounced tests were given last weekend.

Tatham said under an agreement with the USFL Players Association, teams are allowed to give one mandatory test for illegal drugs per year.

“We decided to have ours now, so if there were any problems we could help the player correct it by the time the season starts in September,” Tatham said.

Friday, May 22, 2020

'85 Chronology-Oral Agreement

Event Date: December 19th, 1985

Event Description: Eagles Eye Mora

Source: Lakeland Ledger


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

'85 Chronology-Panther Pride

Event Date: December 19th, 1985

Event Description: Panthers Sign Truvillion

Source: Football News

The Michigan Panthers announced the signing of wide receiver Eric Truvillion to a two-year contract reportedly worth more than $300,000.

Truvillion, who caught 62 passes for 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Bandits last year, became a free agent after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp.

He had been talking to the Detroit Lions during the regular season, but never came to a contract agreement.

Michigan president Vince Lombardi Jr. said the signing of Truvillion could help to ease the loss of star wideout Anthony Carter to the NFL.

“We are determined to build a quality football club here in Michigan,” said Lombardi Jr., “and everybody knows we run our franchise like a business. It is pretty evident that we feel pretty secure about the future of the USFL.”

In addition to signing Truvillion, the team also acquired quarterback Bob Gagliano from the Denver Gold in exchange for draft picks. 

Gagliano is expected to compete for the starting job as the Panthers’ seek a replacement for Bobby Hebert.

more to come......

Monday, May 18, 2020

'85 Chronology-Competition Breeds Contempt

Event Date: December 18th, 1985

Event Description: Usher Issues Challenge

Source: UPI

Trying to stir interest in his troubled league, U.S. Football League commissioner Harry Usher has challenged the NFL's Los Angeles teams -- the Raiders and Rams -- to play charity games against the Express.

The Raiders and Rams, through spokesmen, said they were not interested in the challenge.

Usher, appearing at a Wednesday news conference, said televised football games have become dull because they lack new competition. He suggested the sport could be revitalized through several games between the NFL and the USFL.

“Competition breeds quality and fan interest and therefore more viewership,” Usher said. “In my opinion, over these 15 years with the monopoly the NFL has had on the major television networks, you have created a product that is becoming duller and duller and more stagnated.”

Usher insisted NFL television ratings have declined because competition has waned, not because there is a glut of televised football games.

The new commissioner of the three year-old league is making a nationwide tour of USFL cities in an effort to boost attendance.
He challenged the Rams and the Raiders to play the Express this summer.

“The knee-jerk reaction to that kind of suggestion is “no,” as the NFL would have everything to lose and nothing to gain,” Usher said. 

“Rather than looking at it as a situation where nothing can be gained and everything lost, the NFL teams should look at it as a situation where they can build fan interest by stimulating the community.”

Usher issued a similar challenge in Houston last week, but he said the NFL Oilers rejected the idea.

“If there's anybody who needs help, it's the Oilers,” Usher said. “They should really think about it.”

The idea of a charity game between the leagues was originated last year by New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump, who challenged the NFL's New York Giants to a game with his team. The Giants never publicly responded.

Usher claimed Tampa, Florida, is an example of how the USFL has forced the NFL to do more for its fans.

“I got off the airplane and saw a billboard sequence from the (NFL) Bucaneers, saying  Thank you, Tampa Bay,'' Usher said.

“In the 10 years of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, they never before thanked Tampa Bay. But, the (USFL) Tampa Bay Bandits have captured the hearts of the fans in that city and suddenly (Buccaneers owner) Hugh Culverhouse has to go out and say, 'We have to take into account what the fans want.''

(Story/Date Modified)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

'85 Chronology-More Want Mora

Event Date: December 14th, 1985

Event Description: Fans Want Mora

Source: Reading Eagle



'85 Chronology-Spurrier Staying

Event Date: December 14th, 1985

Event Description: Spurrier Extension

Source: Lakeland Ledger


Thursday, May 14, 2020

'85 Chronology-Memphis Blues

Event Date: December 13th, 1985

Event Description: Zimmerman Suit Dismissed

Source: UPI

A federal judge in Minneapolis Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by Gary Zimmerman against the U.S. Football League, the USFL announced.

Zimmerman, an offensive tackle under contract to the Memphis Showboats, had filed suit against the league, the Showboats and the Los Angeles Express, seeking to be released from his contract so he could sign a more lucrative one with the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, the USFL said.

Judge Harry MacLaughlin of U.S. District Court in Minneapolis denied an order sought by Zimmerman that would have allowed the lineman to attend a Vikings mini-camp, and ruled that his court had no jurisdiction over Zimmerman's remaining claims.

The 24-year-old Zimmerman, 6-foot-6 and 264-pounds, played two seasons for Los Angeles and was claimed on waivers by Memphis.

The New York Giants selected Zimmerman in the first round of the NFL's 1984 supplemental draft of USFL players, but Zimmerman said he would not play for the Giants. The Giants traded his NFL rights to the Vikings during the NFL draft.

“Gary is a terrific fellow and a terrific football player,” said Jane Ellison, general counsel for the USFL. “Unfortunately, he is the victim of overly aggressive lawyers. We hope Gary will now put this behind him and honor his contract to play for the Memphis Showboats.”

Story-(UPI Modified)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

'85 Chronology-Staffing Change

Event Date: December 12th, 1985

Event Description: Kay Joins Bandits

Source: Lakeland Ledger


'85 Chronology-Resolute Stance

Event Date: December 12th, 1985

Event Description: NFL Resolution

Source: Lakeland Ledger


Monday, May 11, 2020

'85 Chronology-Amused to Death

Event Date: December 11th, 1985

Event Description: Usher Amused

Source: UPI

U.S. Football League commissioner Harry Usher Wednesday said he was “amused” by the NFL's resolution passed earlier in the day not to merge with any of the rival league's teams.

“We won't comment on the motivation and timing for this resolution passed by the NFL owners,” Usher said in a statement.

“Actually, I am somewhat amused by it. Remember, these are the same owners who agreed unanimously to litigate against Al Davis and lost millions of dollars for antitrust violations. They have also lost several other antitrust cases.”

“Frankly, the resolution really has no significance to the USFL. We are eager to try our (antitrust) lawsuit and we believe that a substantial verdict will be awarded by the court in favor of the USFL, and against the NFL and its member clubs.”

The USFL's suit contends the NFL has colluded with city officials in Oakland and Philadelphia to harm the USFL teams there and that they have openly tried to injure the USFL via their supplemental drafts. The suit is scheduled to be heard in the summer and fall of next year.

“As far as a reported meeting meeting of counsel for the respective leagues having occurred,” Usher's statement continued, “I can confirm that a meeting took place between Harvey Meyerson of the USFL's firm of Finley, Cumble, Wagner and Heine, and Paul Tagliabue and John Vanderstar of Covington and Burlington, attorneys for the NFL. The meeting ocurred at the invitation of Mr. Tagliabue.”

“However, little meaning was attached by us to these discussions, since the USFL's intent is to try the case, and thereby reverse the effect of the injuries inflicted on the USFL by the NFL.”

'85 Chronology-Congressional Oversight

Event Date: December 9th, 1985

Event Description: Gore Eyes Expansion

Source: UPI

NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle's unwillingness to commit to an expansion of the 28-team league may have cost him one of his most coveted prizes -- a Congressionally granted right to limit the movement of his teams.

With Rozelle refusing to bend to pressure to pledge expansion, two lawmakers blocked Senate consideration of a measure that would grant the league a limited shield from antitrust laws to control franchise shifts.

Sens. Albert Gore, D-Tenn., and Charles Mathias, R-Md., threatened a filibuster on the Senate floor, preventing a vote on a bill Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas had designated for consideration on Wednesday and Thursday.

Senate sources say Dole would have permitted a vote during those two days, but the threat of a filibuster doomed the measure. The sources say Dole would not permit a sports bill to delay the senate calendar, particularly with lawmakers under the gun to complete budget and debt ceiling legislation.

Gore and Mathias both demanded NFL expansion in exchange for releasing the bill, with Gore pushing for a six-team expansion by 1991. Gore failed in an attempt to amend the bill to include a mandatory six-team expansion when it was being considered in the Senate Commerce Committee.

Senate sources say it is unlikely the bill will be brought up again until sometime next year, if at all.

Gore, in an interview with United Press International, said he negotiated by phone with Rozelle, but the commissioner made a "meaningless" effort at compromise.

“The NFL refuses to make any kind of reasonable offer to expand,” Gore said.

“They are offering to expand by two teams over the next six years if four conditions are met,” Gore added.

“No. 1, that the legislation passes; No. 2, that the $90 million USFL lawsuit (charging the NFL with violating federal antitrust statutes) is resolved in their favor; No. 3, that the USFL agree not to go to a fall schedule after the 1986 season; and No. 4, that three-quarters of the current (NFL team) owners be convinced that it's in their financial interest to allow expansion.”

“He seriously went through that list as an offer,” Gore said. “I view that as a meaningless offer.”

NFL spokesman Joe Browne, speaking for Rozelle, said, “We feel (the legislation) will bring stability to professional sports and will benefit sports communities, teams and leagues. Commissioner Rozelle did tell Sen. Gore (Thursday) morning that the NFL could not commit to expand by six teams in six years as he had requested.”

The NFL has made no secret of its desire for Congressionally mandated protection from antitrust laws on franchise relocation and revenue-sharing issues, as provided in the bill, sponsored by Sens. Thomas Eagleton, D-Mo., and John Danforth, R-Mo.

What makes this bill even more attractive to Rozelle is that it contains language that would empower the league to select or terminate a club's ownership.

In the 1960s, Congress granted the NFL limited antitrust exemptions to clear the way for network television coverage, pool television revenue and allow the AFL-NFL merger.

The Eagleton-Danforth bill gives the same authority to the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, the United States Football League and the professional soccer leagues. It does not apply to baseball, which was granted wide-ranging immunity from antitrust laws in the 1920s.

Gore stopped short of using the word “greed” in giving an explanation why Rozelle refuses to commit to expansion, but that's the picture he paints.

“They haven't expanded for nine years for one simple reason,” Gore maintains. “They are currently allowed to pool all of their television revenue, $2 billion per year, and divide it up equally among themselves (the 28 owners). If they allow new owners into the league, each slice of the pie gets smaller. So they don't want any kind of expansion.”

“That artifical market scarcity is in the face of exploding demand for professional football due to the increased popularity of the sport in the last decade and the growing population in areas of the country like the Sun Belt,” the Tennessee Republican said.

“That artificial scarcity is the unlying cause of the theft of the Baltimore Colts in the middle of the night, the movement of Oakland (Raiders) to Los Angeles, the holding up of Philadelphia and St. Louis and the frustrations of Memphis, Phoenix, Birmingham and others,” Gore added.

While there is no NFL team in Gore's state, the senator's interest in the matter is not merely academic, as Memphis likely would be a leading candidate for any NFL expansion team. Memphis is the base of the USFL's Memphis Showboats.

Mathias also would like an NFL team for his state, since the Baltimore Colts were moved by owner Robert Irsay to Indianapolis in 1984.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

'85 Chronology-Competitive Advantage

Event Date: December 8th, 1985

Event Description: Stallions Beef Up

Source: Football News

The Birmingham Stallions, in an attempt to beef up their defensive front, signed three linemen and a pair of linebackers on Friday.

Veterans John Lee, Bennie Smith and Ronnie Paggett were among the six defensive players signed by the team.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Lee was with Arizona last season where he registered five sacks and 27 tackles. Lee, a nine-year veteran, has spent time with the Chicago Blitz, New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers.

“We concentrated on upgrading the defensive line and linebacker positions and with these acquisitions we anticipate a very competitive training camp,” said vice president and general manager Jerry Sklar.

Other players signed included linebackers Stan Blinka and Freddie Smith, and defensive back Mark McCants.

Blinka is a six-year veteran who led the Denver Gold in tackles last season with 93. He also played five seasons in the National Football League with the New York Jets.

Mark McCants has spent his entire career with the Stars and Freddie Smith was with the team in 1983.

Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

'85 Chronology-Star Search

Event Date: December 5th, 1985

Event Description: Stars Sign Bledsoe

Source: Football News

Running back Curtis Bledsoe, who was granted free agency by the Orlando Renegades, has signed with the Baltimore Stars club, the team said Wednesday.

In other moves, the Stars signed ex-Eagles offensive lineman Dave Pacella and announced the retirement of linebacker John Bunting.

Bledsoe gained 1,234 yards on 230 carries and caught 43 passes for 330 yards last season and was a vital cog in the Renegades offense.Bledose has also spent time with the washington Federals, Atizona Wranglers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Pacella played for the Eagles in 1984 after spending two seasons in Washington with the Federals.

Bunting retired after fourteen years of pro football. Bunting was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles for eleven seasons and played in Superbowl XV gainst the Oakland Raiders.

more to come......

Friday, May 8, 2020

'85 Chronology-Passing the Buck

Event Date: December 1st, 1985

Event Description: Byrne Resignation

Source: UPI

Jim Byrne resigned Friday after three years as the U.S. Football League's director of communications, league commisioner Harry Usher announced Friday.

“I regret to see Jim leave,” Usher said. “His valuable contribution to the league will be sorely missed.”

“It has been an interesting two years, to say the least,” Byrne said. 

“The USFL presents many challenges and many rewards. Our championship game ended the season on a high note, and when you hit that note, it's time to move on. I have decided to pursue several long-term interests of mine, both in and out of the sports arena.”

“The USFL, despite its current problems, will survive and be a major force in sports.”

Byrne will serve in an advisory capacity to the league through January 1st.

Story-(UPI Modified)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

'85 Chronology-Express Interest

Event Date: November 27th, 1985

Event Description: Express Sign Flick

Source: Football News

The Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League Wednesday announced the signing of former University of Washington quarterback Tom Flick.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Flick was a letterman at Washington and the teams’ starter in 1980. He passed for 3,171 yards with 24 touchdowns and 20 interceptions during his collegiate career.

Flick was drafted in the 4th round of the 1981 NFL draft and has played for Washington, New England and Cleveland.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.