Thursday, October 22, 2009

ESPN's 30 In 30: "Small Potatoes: Who Killed The USFL?"

On Tuesday night, ESPN premiered the latest short film in their "30 In 30" series profiling prominent sports' stories during the network's 30 years of existence. This hour-long film was about the USFL, a spring time pro football league that lasted just three seasons from 1983-1985.

Many notable players that would later go on to the NFL got their start in pro football in the USFL, including Hall of Famers Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Reggie White and Gary Zimmerman. Three consecutive Heisman Trophy winners, 1982-Hershel Walker, 1983-Mike Rozier and 1984-Doug Flutie, signed their first pro contracts with the USFL. Other prominent players that played in the USFL include Brian Sipe, Doug Williams, Bobby Hebert, Anthony Carter, Nate Newton and Sam Mills. There were many others that played in the NFL prior to or after their stint in the USFL.

Other prominent names that were part of the USFL are current South Carolina and former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier, current ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso, former New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts' head coach Jim Mora, Sr., broadcaster Charlie Steiner, current UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel and former Kansas City Chiefs executive Carl Peterson, among others.

But the prominent personality that is largely blamed for the league's demise is Donald Trump. Trump bought a franchise in the USFL, the New York/New Jersey Generals, and was driven to move the league's schedule to the fall so they could compete with the NFL. Even in the mid-1980's, this was not a plan that seemed destined to work.

Trump sued the NFL essentially saying they had a monopoly, at least in part because they had tv deals with all three major networks. While he was right, and the court ultimately ruled in the USFL's favor, the damages awarded were not substantial-$3. To say nothing of the fact that the court proceedings started when the USFL should have been playing, which they obviously were not. Many USFL owners were struggling financially, and the league ultimately folded.

The USFL also brought some innovations that are being used currently in the NFL, like the two-point conversion and a challenge-driven instant replay system.

A "New USFL" is rumored to be coming in 2010, with many of the original franchise names. Check out the website,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Benchwarmer Baseball Experts League-Regular Season Final Result

In the fantasy baseball expert's league I'm in on Benchwarmer Baseball ( we have now completed our 150-game regular season.

In the "Blogs Division" my team, the Fantasy Outsiders, finished three games back in second place with a 86-64 record (.573 winning percentage). We played a head-to-head format, obviously.

I will return to this league in 2010, so look for updates on how I'm doing in it again next year.

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I am a sportswriter based in Minnesota, and I contribute currently to a few sports related websites. I intend to use this blog to create visibility for my work.