The 2008 NFL season marks the 25th anniversary for the United States Football League, and plans to celebrate that benchmark were announced Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Dana Point, Calif.
The United States Football League, which merged with the NFL in 1986, played its first season in 1983 with seven current teams. They were the Baltimore Stars (played as the Philadelphia Stars), Portland Breakers (Played as the Boston Breakers), Carolina Panthers (played as the Michigan Panthers), Birmingham Stallions, Utah Invaders (played as the Oakland Invaders), Los Angeles Express, and Arizona Outlaws (played as the Arizona Wranglers and Oklahoma Outlaws).
The USFL would expand, including four current teams. They were the San Antonio Gunslingers, Las Vegas Gamblers (played as the Houston Gamblers), Memphis Showboats, and Oklahoma City Bulls (played as the Jacksonville Bulls).
The NFL will highlight the 25th anniversary of those teams during "Legacy Games" throughout the 2008 season. During one home and one road game, former USFL teams will meet head-to-head while wearing their chosen historic uniforms.
On Sept. 15, ESPN will host a Monday Night Football doubleheader that will be part of the NFL's celebration of the 25th anniversary season of the USFL. The first game (7 p.m. ET) will pit the Gunslingers against the Showboats, in Memphis, Tenn. The nightcap (10:15 p.m. ET) will be an NFC showdown as the Breakers host the Bulls.
Also, the Stars will take on the Stallions in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, Aug. 10, in Canton, Ohio. The game will be televised nationally by NBC at 8 p.m. ET.
The NFL and the former USFL teams are planning to celebrate the 25th anniversary season with numerous events this year.
NFL Network, NFL.com and NFL Films will commemorate this anniversary with unique content and programming highlighting the history of the USFL and the original teams.
A "legacy" collection, featuring new retro-themed apparel and products, will be introduced this summer and will be available on NFLSHOP.com and at other retail locations. Among the merchandise offered will be hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and pennants.
Game-worn jerseys and signed memorabilia will be auctioned at NFL Auctions throughout the season, with the money raised going to the NFL Player Care Foundation.