Wednesday, August 30, 2017

'82 Chronology-Gold Bugs

Event Date: August 8th, 1982

Event Description: Searching for Gold

Source: United Press International

The Denver Gold has everything it needs for the inaugural season of the United States Football League except somewhere to play.

Gold owner Ron Blanding met Tuesday with Mayor Bill McNichols and Joe Ciancio, manager of Denver's Parks and Recreation Department, to discuss a lease for use of Mile High Stadium.

Miller has been in San Diego to look for prospective sites for a February training camp and Blanding said at least 9,500 individuals and businesses have indicated they want tickets to Gold games.

Blanding also said some players already have signed letters of intent to play on the Denver team.

'82 Chronology-Phoenix Rising

Event Date: August 7th, 1982

Event Description: Team on the Move

Source: Lakeland Ledger

Monday, August 28, 2017

'82 Chronology-USFL Inks First Player

Event Date: August 5th, 1982

Event Description: Blitz Sign First Player

Source: UPI

The U.S. Football League will announce the signing of its first player Friday and indications were the Chicago Blitz may be stealing one of the rival Chicago Bears' top draft choices.

Tim Wrightman, the third-round choice of the NFL's Bears last spring, has been a holdout and was given a Saturday signing deadline by Bears general manager Jim Finks.

Wrightman, a tight end who played for UCLA, reportedly met with the new league which begins play next March after he ran into contract trouble with the Bears. However, the Blitz refused to release the name of the player.

“We are working out final details this evening,' a team spokesman said. “It would be too premature to release the name.”

Finks has said Wrightman's agent has made a proposal to the new USFL.

“If it is accepted, they would sign with the USFL,” Finks said. “I told them our offer will not be on the table indefinitely. If it gets to the point where he'll be jeopardizing his ability to play for the Bears, we'll let him know and withdraw our offer.”

Because the league's collective bargaining agreement expired last month, Wrightman must accept the final offer presented by the Bears - reportedly about $25,000 less than he was seeking -- or he can sign with the USFL.

The Blitz also announced that Allen's son, Bruce, would serve as general manager responsible for negotiating all contracts and handling day-to-day business contracts.

Allen became the NCAA's youngest head coach at Occidental College before becoming head coach and general manager of a semi-pro team in California.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

'82 Chronology-Tampa Bay Bandits

Event Date: August 5th, 1982

Event Description: Tampa Bay Bandits

Source: Toronto Star

The Tampa Bay entry in the United States Football League will be known as the Tampa Bay Bandits, taking advantage of actor Burt Reynolds' association with the team.

Reynolds, the star of the film 'Smokey and the Bandit', is a minor stockholder in the team and was on hand for Wednesday's announcement, along with majority owners John F. Bassett and Stephen W. Arky.

Bassett said no coach has been selected, nor has a team logo been designed.

He said the team colors -- at least for now -- will be silver, red, black and white. But he added some blue may be worked into the color scheme later in place of one of the other colors.

(Story-Toronto Star)

Friday, August 25, 2017

'82 Chronology-The Philadelphia Stars

Event Date: August 3rd, 1982

Event Description: Philadelphia Stars

Source: United Press International

The managing partner of theU.S. Football League's Philadelphia franchise said Tuesday the club will be known as the Stars and pledged to build a team worthy of its name.

Myles Tanenbaum said team owners took fans' preferences into account in choosing the name from eight released three weeks ago.

“Our team name in reality was selected by them,” Tanenbaum said of fans, who made their choices known in polls run by area newspapers and broadcast stations.

Other names under consideration were the Colonials, Fireworks, Franklins, Generals, Militia, Sentinals and Spirits. Philadelphia is the sixth of the 12 USFL teams to select a name, said Tanenbaum. The others include, the Chicago Blitz, Denver Gold, Washington Federals, Birmingham Stallions, and New Jersey Generals. 

He said the team would soon announce results of its negotiations for a home stadium. The opening game is scheduled for March 6, 1983.

(Story property UPI)

'82 Chronology-Pittsburgh Plans?

Event Date: July 30th, 1982

Event Description: Pittsburgh Pursues USFL Franchise

Source: United Press International

The stadium authority that recently took over management of Three Rivers Stadium in settling a lawsuit with the Pittsburgh Pirates could be in for more legal headaches if local investors succeed in winning a franchise from the fledgling United State Football League.

The investors, who say they've been promised the first franchise if the 12-team USFL expands, has asked the authority for permission to use Three Rivers as early as March.

But the Pittsburgh Steelers have told the authority -- and repeated their contention during an authority meeting Thursday -- that they beleve their lease agreement with the city prohibits another pro football team from using the stadium.

Authority Chairman George Whitmer said after the meeting he expects the Steelers would sue the authority if the new franchise is permitted to use the stadium that the would-be franchise owners would sue if it is not.

The authority asked its solicitor for an opinion on the Steelers' exclusivity rights. Nelson Goldberg, a cable television executive involved in the group seeking the USFL franchise, said he expects Pittsburgh to get a USFL team no later than 1984.

(Story Property of UPI)

'82 Chronology-Simmons Sets Agenda

Event Date: July 21st, 1982

Event Description: USFL Preps Plans

Source: United Press International

United States Football League Commissioner Chet Simmons said Tuesday the league has established a committee to study drug and alcohol abuse in an effort to avoid the drug problem that has plagued the NFL.

Simmons, in Denver for four days of meetings with USFL owners and coaches, said Dr. Edward Diethrich of Phoenix, had been named chairman of the Committee on Drugs and Alcohol. Also named to the committee was George Allen, former coach of the Washington Redskins and a co-owner of the USFL's Chicago franchise.

“We will have the best drug program in professional sports,” Simmons said.

League officials also finalized a four-level player-selection process, which San Francisco owner T.N. Taube said would “facilitate a very complicated problem for a fledgling league.”

Players will be chosen first on a territorial basis. After that has been completed, the league will open up the selection process to players passed over by the franchise in their territories, and they will have an opportunity to sign with other teams.

Thirdly, the league will begin signing free agents. Next will be players who once had NFL or Canadian Football League contracts.

Simmons said the league would announce application deadlines for future franchises and fees later. He said fees would be “substantial.” He said the USFL schedule posed a peculiar problem of signing players who have completed their college elgibility, but have not yet graduated. “The USFL recognizes that it has an obligation to assist the student athlete in returning to his studies and to earn his degree,” Simmons said.
(Story Property of UPI)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

'82 Chronology-Leaving the Den

Event Date: July 21st, 1982

Event Description: Furness Retires; Joins USFL

Source: United Press International

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'82 Chronology-Federals Move Forward

Event Date: July 18th, 1982

Event Description: Federals Pursue Coach; Stadium Deal

Source: New York Times

Jimmy Raye, an assistant coach with the Atlanta Falcons, is the most likely candidate to become the head coach of the Washington franchise in the new United States Football League, according to sources in both cities. 

If he lands the job, the 35-year-old Raye would become the first black to serve as head coach in the new league. There are no black head coaches in the National Football League.

In other USFL news;

The D.C. Armory Board agreed in principle today to allow the Washington franchise in the new United States Football League the use of 55,000-seat Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Terms of the Washington Redskins' contract with the Armory Board, which oversees the stadium's operation, calls for the National Football League club to enjoy exclusive football rights.

Robert Sigholtz, general manager of the Armory Board, said he foresaw no problem with allowing the U.S.F.L. to use the facility because its games, which are to be held between March and July, do not overlap the N.F.L. schedule.

Story-New York Times

Sunday, August 20, 2017

'82 Chronology-Free Agent Gold?

Event Date: July 17th, 1982

Event Description: Examining All Options

Source: New York Times

'82 Chronology-Politely Declined

Event Date: July 17th, 1982

Event Description: Stallings Stays Put

Source: Associated Press

Gene Stallings, saying that he had a commitment with the Dallas Cowboys, today turned down the head coaching job with the Birmingham Stallions of the new United States Football League.

Stallings, the defensive backfield coach for the Cowboys, met last week in Cincinnati with the owner of the Stallions, Marvin Warner. ''After carefully considering the opportunity, I have asked them to withdraw my name from consideration,'' Stallings said. ''The decision was based on the fact that I am under contract with the Dallas Cowboys, and feel I should honor my commitment.''

Stallings said that he would have enjoyed being a head coach, but that the timing ''was just not right.''

(Story Associated Press)

'82 Chronology-Wedge Issue?

Event Date: July 16th, 1982

Event Description: Limited Options

Source: New York Times

After negotiations stalled between the Chicago Bears and their first-round draft pick, Jim McMahon, the quarterback from Brigham Young, a threat was made by McMahon's agent to take his client to the new United States Football League. 

But at least two teams in that new league - Los Angeles and San Francisco - say they are not interested in the man who set 56 national collegiate passing records.

John Ralston, who represents the owner of those teams and will coach the San Francisco franchise next year, told radio station WGN in Chicago that he would advise Jerry Argovitz, McMahon's agent, to sign with the Bears. ''There's no doubt that certain agents are using the United States Football League as a wedge,'' said Ralston. ''We are not interested in players that were drafted in 1982.'' 

(Story New York Times)

Friday, August 18, 2017

'82 Chronology-Boston Beckons

Event Date: July 16th, 1982

Event Description: Boston Team Hires Coury

Source: New York Times

Dick Coury, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles since 1976, was named head coach and general manager of the unnamed Boston entry in the new United States Football League.

Coury, who is 52 years old, said at a news conference that he had agreed to a three year contract. Terms were not announced.

'82 Chronology-Philadelphia Freedom

Event Date: July 7th, 1982

Event Description: New Philadelphia Franchise

Source: United Press International

Carl Peterson and George Perles, two integral figures in the success of Pennsylvania's two NFL teams, Wednesday officially were named to direct the Philadelphia franchise in the fledgling United States Football League.

Peterson, who as director of player personnel helped turn around the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles, was appointed general manager. 

Perles, an assistant coach and key contributor to the Pittsburgh Steelers' four Super Bowl championships, was tabbed head coach.

Myles Tanenbaum, managing partner of the franchise, introduced his two top officials at a news conference but said a nickname for the new team and a home stadium haven't been decided on yet.

Tanenbaum said a nickname for the new team would be decided by the public. He said he and his fellow owners decided on six finalists, but he declined to reveal the choices until next week.

He also said negotiations were continuing with Veterans Stadium and Franklin Field for a home field for the franchise's inaugural season beginning next March. Although he prefers Franklin Field for its excellent view, Tannenbaum acknowledged the facilities at Veterans Stadium are better.

Story-United Press International

Thursday, August 17, 2017

'82 Chronology-Bay Area Booster

Event Date: June 30th, 1982

Event Description: Ralston Returns

Source: United Press International

John Ralston is back in professional football.

Tuesday, it was announced Ralston had been named head coach and general manager of the San Francisco franhcise in the new United States Football League.

Terms of his agreement were not disclosed except that he had signed a two-year contract. The league expects to start its first season next March.

“I'm happy to be back in professional football,” Ralston said at the news conference announcing his signing, “and I'm especially happy it's in the Bay Area, where I have my roots.”

Ralston grew up in Oakland, played football at the University of Califorina and served as head coach at Stanford for nine years, leading the Cardinals to Rose Bowl victories in 1971 and 1972. He left Stanford to serve as head coach and general manager of the Denver Broncos but resigned under pressure in 1977.

In more recent years, he served as an administrative assistant to Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers.

Ralston becomes the third former NFL coach to sign with a USFL team. George Allen is the coach and general manager of the Chicago franchise, while the New York based team has recruited Chuck Fairbanks.

The league as yet has no players or playing sites, but has awarded 12 franchises. Still, it will not be starting on a shoestring since it already has signed three three-year television contracts with ABC, ESPN and Canadian broadcasting. It is estimated the television package is worth more than $32 million.

Story property of UPI

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

'82 Chronology-Windy City Welcome

Event Date: June 22nd, 1982

Event Description: Allen Returns to Coaching

Source: United Press International

Former Washington Redskins Coach George Allen will be head coach and part owner of the Chicago franchise in the new United States Football League, league officials announced Monday.

Allen said he is confident the league will succeed and that his as-yet unnamed Chicago team will be competitive with National Football League squads within three years.

The USFL is scheduled to start play next March with a season running through July. It has contracts with ABC-TV and ESPN for television of many of its games. Allen is the third coach named for the 12-team league. Previously, Chuck Fairbanks was named to head the New York franchise and Red Miller to handle the Denver team.

David Dixon, a New Orleans businessman who founded the league, said at a news conference he originally wanted the Chicago franchise for himself. But when he discovered that Allen wanted to return to Chicago, where he also coached for eight years with the Bears, Dixon said, he decided to step aside.

Allen said he believes the league will succeed, despite the failure of the World Football League and other competitors of the NFL, because it will have solid ownership, proven coaching, major stadiums, television contracts, presence in the major markets, experienced front office personnel and an $18 million reserve fund.

“The World Football League put players first,” he said. “We'll create our own league and our own stars. There are plenty of players. When I was with Washington, we cut enough players to stock another franchise.”

He said the USFL won't compete directly for fan support with the NFL because the seasons will not overlap. But he said he thinks the USLF teams will improve rapidly to the point they could compete on the gridiron with the NFL.

'Within three years, I think our teams would be competitive with any team in the NFL,' he said.

(Story property-UPI)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

'82 Chronology-Feeling It

Event Date: June 20th, 1982

Event Description: New League Contacts Allen

Source: New York Times

George Allen, the former head coach of the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins in the National Football League, yesterday said from his home in Palos Verdes, Calif., that he had received ''feelers'' from three teams in the newly formed United States Football League.

Allen declined to identify the teams, because he said the approaches had been made on a confidential basis. Newspaper reports have indicated that two of the teams may be the Chicago and Los Angeles franchises.

The league is scheduled to begin play next March.

Allen repeated the position he has stated in recent years: ''If I join any team as coach or general manager, I would have to have some liquidity in the ownership.''

He said he believed the new league would have a good chance of success, ''especially since they have that contract with ABC television.''

''I believe the American public will support additional football, if it's run properly,'' he said. ''I think I could put together a competitive team in this new league. I may have some announcement about my plans in a week or so.''

(Story property NYT)

'82 Chronology-Parity Play?

Event Date: June 20th, 1982

Event Description: Cribbs Seeks Raise

Source: New York Times

Friday, August 11, 2017

'82 Chronology-The USFL on ESPN

Event Date: June 20th, 1982

Event Description: Grid League Scores Cable Deal

Source: United Press International

The newly created United States Football League and ESPN have entered into a multi-year national cable television contract, it was announced Thursday by USFL commissioner Chet Simmons and J. William Grimes, president and chief executive officer of ESPN.

The USFL contract with ESPN follows the May 26 announcement that ABC would televise a total of 20 USFL games, including a Sunday afternoon game of the week, one prime time evening telecast and coverage of the USFL playoff and championship games.

“ESPN will be telecasting the USFL for 34 games a year,' Simmons said. 'We will have one game every Monday plus another game at a time to be determined. The joint contracts with ABC-TV and ESPN assures sports fans that USFL football will be on national television at least three times a week.”

Grimes noted, “Everyone at ESPN is delighted that our network has been selected to televise, for the first time, American professional football on cable.”

The USFL will start its inaugural season in March, 1983, playing a 20-game schedule through early July.

The USFL has teams in Washington, New York, Boston-New England, Birmingham, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, the San Francisco bay area and Tampa Bay.

(Story Property of UPI)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'82 Chronology-Kilmer Claims

Event Date: June 18th, 1982

Event Description: Kilmer Calls Out New League

Source: UPI-WAPO

Billy Kilmer's claim that the fledgling United States Football League would sound the death knell for the American Football Association reflected a personal “ax to grind” by the AFA's ex-commissioner, says the new owner of the West Virginia Rockets.

Kilmer, the former Washington Redskins' quarterback, was quoted by The Washington Post Tuesday as saying the new league would doom the San Antonio-based AFA, a minor league which expanded this year from a dozen to 18 teams.

Dave Ferrell, owner of the Rockets, who have reigned the past two seasons as the AFA champions, contended Tuesday that Kilmer issued his doomsday prediction because of "an ax to grind with the AFA," presumably over money the league failed to pay him before he resigned last year as commissioner.

Ferrell disputed the Kilmer remark, saying that the AFA would go on operating at a different level than either of the big leagues.

“We don't try to be the USFL or the NFL,' Ferrell said. “We try to be Triple-A. We want to be a farm team. That's the whole idea of this league, which is to get these kids advancement into better positions.” Well-publicized financial problems have plagued the Rockets, who are under new ownership.

Story property UPI/Washington Post

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

'82 Chronology-Red Letter Day

Event Date: June 17th, 1982

Event Description: New Denver Team Hires Miller

Source: United Press International

Former National Football League coach Robert 'Red' Miller, who took the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in 1978, today was named head coach of the city's franchise in the newly formed United States Football League.

Ron Blanding, the owner of the USFL franchise, made the announcement at a news conference where he also revealed the name of the new team -- the Denver Gold.

Miller, 53, who was fired from his position with the Broncos in March 1981 by new owner Edgar F. Kaiser Jr., said he was attracted to his new job by the challenge of building a new team in Denver, adding “it was not the money.”

“I think the idea that I could stay in Denver and coach football, and the challenge of getting in on something new and growing with it -- I think those were two big factors,” he said.

Blanding said former Broncos coach Lou Saban had also been considered for the new USFL coaching position. Saban, who coached the Broncos from 1967 through 1971, is a close friend of Blanding and had reportedly been Blanding's first choice until concern rose over adverse public reaction. The Broncos were 20-42-3 during his five seasons as coach.

“We just decided Red Miller should be our coach and we're happy with the decision we made,' Blanding said.... We're happy to have Red. We're off and running.”

Miller coached the Broncos for four successful seasons ending in 1980. Under Miller, the Broncos won their first American Football Conference championship in 1977 by defeating Oakland 20-17 and went to the 1978 Superbowl, where they lost to Dallas 27-10. During Miller's four seasons as coach, the Broncos compiled a 42-25 record.

Blanding said Denver Gold officials will now begin assembling a coaching staff and filling positions in player personnel and other areas. He said the team expects to play its spring games in Mile High Stadium, and the club is looking for a training facility.

“We'll be looking for a facility around the state first, and if we can't find what we want, because we have to have an inside facility then we'll look outside the state,” he said.

Blanding said he did not know who first suggested Denver Gold as the name of the new team. "We got so many names and suggestions in the mail and calls, we can't pinpoint where this came from,” he said. “We all looked at everything and this struck us. We can't give anybody credit. We'd love to find the person who said it.”

(Story property of UPI)

Monday, August 7, 2017

'82 Chronology-Simmons Named Commissioner

Event Date: June 14th, 1982

Event Description: Simmons Named USFL Commissioner

Source: NYT

Sunday, August 6, 2017

'82 Chronology-Under Consideration

Event Date: June 6th, 1982

Event Description: "Too Tall" Eyes USFL

Source: UPI/NYT

Thursday, August 3, 2017

'82 Chronology-Buffaloed

Event Date: June 2nd, 1982

Event Description: Fairbanks Quits Buffs

Source: Eugene Register Guard

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

'82 Chronology-Made For TV

Event Date: May 28th, 1982

Event Description: New Football League

Source: NYT (Neil Amdur)