WideRight

USFL Alternative History: 1985 to...

Recommended Posts

A note on the Dallas logo.  It's source was a larger, full-body design found on Logoground.com and attributed to Vectorground.  While I liked the full eagle design created there, I really thought that the abstract eagle head worked best by iteself. 

 

Owthw0U.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And here are the first of the Nike "Big Game Gear" alternates.  In 2001 we see Memphis go all-silver for a Saturday Night game, St. Louis goes with "Shock Yellow", Michigan swaps their plum and light blue and New Jersey goes with a red, white & blue jersey with an embedded blue-on-blue star pattern in the main body of the jersey.  No BFBS yet, but I suspect we will see some soon. 

 

Kb1DL0I.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow just wow !!! Aztecs look great this league is getting better and better 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MOD EDIT

Edited by LMU
Please don't bring race into this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Working on 2002, but here is a question for you all.   In 2004 the USFL will bring back the Birmingham Stallions, but they want an even number of teams so they will exand by 2 teams.  Which of these options would you choose:

 

1) Force the Invaders name/logo to return to Oakland with an expansion team and rename Cleveland.

2) Bring back the Pittsburgh Maulers as an expansion team.

3) Return a team to Oklahoma.

4) Add a new non-NFL city like Sacramento, Las Vegas or Salt Lake City.

5) Add a USFL team to an NFL city like Kansas City, Buffalo, Miami, Indy or the Twin Cities.

 

I think I know what I prefer, but what would you like to see?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4   LV for sure. SLC or Sacramento a toss up. Probably at this stage SLC is a growing city with the olympics around the corner. 

 

Invaders back to Oakland. No point in having a team in an NFL market 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not going to be number 1. We don't need the USFL's history to get more complicated. How about... 4!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Las Vegas as a USFL team would be very cool, option 4!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta say I am surprised with all the Las Vegas love.  The XFL's Outlaws did well there, but it is still a very small stadium.  I really expected more love for former USFL locations rather than new ones, and I have made the case throughout that having USFL teams in NFL cities actually benefits the USFL.  The real competition for the USFL is not so much the local NFL team, but local MLB, NHL and NBA competition during their season.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2002 USFL Season

While the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 did not impact the USFL directly, the national mood of unity and resistance could be felt well into the start of the 2002 season.  While the league had anticipated making a splash of their 20th season (1983-2002), owners opted instead for a less self-congratulatory tone and opted instead to hold memorial tributes and celebrations to recognize the valor of first responders at many games during the 2002 season.  As commemoration of the 9/11 tragedy, the league voted to create special hallmark games to be played on both Memorial Day and Independence Day.  Washington would host a Memorial Day game each year hereafter, with special recognition of the armed forces, while on the 4th of July each year, New Jersey would host a tribute game, with their normal 5-star logo replaced by symbols representing the NYPD and FDNY.   All teams in 2002 wore special helmet decals to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11th.

 

The second noticeable impact of the September 11th attacks is the impact it had on the annual owner’s meetings, which had been scheduled to be held the following week in  New York.  The meetings were delayed by 2 weeks and held in Los Angeles, and they were quite visibly dampened by the tragedy.  There were no major announcements made from the meetings, only a few minor rules changes and the 9/11 commemorative plans.  Of course, going into the meetings there were few topics which were considered to be potentially newsworthy.  The process of reestablishing a franchise in Birmingham was at an early stage, with a 2004 start date already approved the year before.  Many expected an announcement regarding a potential 26th franchise, but while studies were being conducted, no announcement was made.

 

By January, the free agency and draft process took over the news related to the USFL.  But again, it would be a relatively quiet year.  There were a few coaching changes, most notably the long anticipated firing of Bruce Coslett by the Panthers and the release of Dave Campo by San Antonio.  The Panthers opted to bring in a highly regarded Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia’s Marvin Lewis, while San Antonio signed former St. Louis coach and son of Texas legend Bum Phillips, Wade, to lead the Outlaws.

 

In player news, the NFL signed two notable USFL stars in Lightning RB Ahman Green and the outspoken Breakers TE Shannon Sharpe.  The USFL matched this by signing away two of the NFL’s underappreciated players, with Houston signing former Ravens RB Priest Holmes and Chicago landing longtime Viking DE John Randle to shore up their passrush.  Chicago also made the biggest splash on the trade wire, opting to trade away former MVP QB Jeff George, who had followed 1999 with two absolutely erratic seasons under center.  Ongoing feuds between George and Machine management helped to show the veteran QB the door.  Chicago made the draft-day trade with Jacksonville, acquiring Bulls starter Elvis Grbac and a 2nd round draft pick in the deal.

 

In the draft, several teams filled glaring holes in their roster, most notably St. Louis snagging Iowa’s Ladell Betts at RB, New Orleans snagging two gifted young wideouts in Florida’s Jabbar Gaffney and Indiana’s “Slash” player Antwaan Randle-El.  On defense the biggest signings were Dallas’s signing of Texas CB Quentin Jammer, New Jersey’s pick of Syracuse DE Dwight Freeney and Houston’s pick of Oklahoma safety Roy Williams.

 

The season began with a rematch of the Philadelphia-Dallas semi-final.  This time around the Dallas coaches found a way to free Michael Vick from the Philly passrush and the fans at the Cotton Bowl were treated to a 133 yard, 2 TD rushing performance from their star QB.  The biggest surprise of the season was the sudden rise of the Michigan Panthers under new coach Marvin Lewis, who rode a much-improved defense and the conservative precision of Matt Hasselbeck to an 8-6 record and a playoff spot, a 5 game swing after a truly miserable 3-11 2001 campaign.  On the other side of things, though not totally unexpected, the retooling process in Chicago took the Machine from 3 straight playoff appearances to a 5-9 record.  Elvis Grbac proved erratic and the Machine for 3 games tried out backup Spergon Wynn, but ended up returning to Grbac after going 0-3 during that run.  The toughest races in the league were in the North, where Donovan McNabb and the Beacons held off Tom Brady and the Stars for the division crown, and in the South, where frontrunning Tampa Bay fell to Orlando on the season’s final week, giving the Renegades the division crown.

 

In the playoffs, the fans got exactly what they wanted, a Boston-Philly showdown, as both teams marched through their earlier games to meet in the semifinals.  In that game McNabb got the upper hand as he was able to find Amani Toomer twice.  Brady played well, but a tipped ball late in the 4th quarter ended up in the hands of Stars LB Teddy Bruschi, leading to a Stars FG that put the game out of reach.   In the other Semifinal Michael Vick ran roughshod over the Orlando defense and Renegade QB Brett Favre threw 3 early interceptions which put the game out of range for the Renegades.   In the Championship Game, Boston overcame some early turnovers and found a way in the second half to contain Vick, allowing them to overcome a 14-7 halftime deficit.  They would go on to score 26 unanswered points before a late Dallas TD gave the game its final score of 33-21. 

 

2002 Final Standings

 

NORTH

 

*BOS     11-3

*PHI        9-5

WSH       6-8

NJ           6-8

 

ATLANTIC

 

*CHA     9-5

ATL        6-8

BAL        6-8

JAX        6-8

CENTRAL

 

*CLE     10-4

*MICH    8-6

CHI        5-9

STL        4-10

 

SOUTH

 

*ORL     9-5

*TBY     8-6

NOR      8-6

MEM      6-8

 

WEST

 

*DAL     10-4

HOU       6-8

SAN       5-9

DEN       4-10

 

PACIFIC

 

*ARZ    10-4

*SJO      8-6

POR       4-10

LA          3-11

 

 

2002 Playoffs

Wildcard Round          Philadelphia(7) d. San Jose(10)      Michigan(9) d. Tampa Bay(8)

 

Divisional Round       Boston(1) d. Michigan(9)      Philadelphia(7) d. Arizona(2)

                                  Dallas(3) d. Charlotte(6)       Orlando(5) d. Cleveland(4)

 

Semifinals           Boston(1) d. Philadelphia(7)        Dallas(3) d. Orlando(5)

 

2002 USFL Championship       Boston 33   Dallas  21

 

2002 USFL Award Winners

USFL Most Valuable Player: Donovan McNabb, QB, Boston

USFL Coach of the Year:  Marvin Lewis, Michigan

USFL Rookie of the Year: Quentin Jammer, CB, Dallas

 

2002 Relocation, Expansion, Logo or Uniform Redesign.

1.       Portland opted for a Nike redesign in 2002, with a modern stripe pattern and a new wordmark.

 

2.       Los Angeles also asked Nike for a redesign in 2002.  Nike removed burgundy from the team’s design, focusing on the navy and silver elements and reverting to the original 1983

          logo while modernizing other elements of the uniform, including the helmet, jersey and pant striping.

 

3.       Four more teams received alternate “Big Game Gear” jerseys.

               Washington:  Cammo jersey to celebrate veterans for Memorial Day.

               Arizona:  Blue jersey with copper piping.

               Cleveland: Navy jersey with Sky blue numbers.

               San Jose:  Red jersey with purple trim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First up in 2002, the Portland Grizzlies, with a new wordmark, modern striping, including a very thin helmet stripe pattern and bear-claw slashes on the shoulders.

 

oITQA1q.png

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5. To the Twin Cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next up the LA Express, down to only Navy & Silver, with a jersey inspired by the XFL's LA Xtreme.  

 

gvkMovX.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And our 4 Nike alternates for 2002, including the post-9/11 Federals salute to the military. 

 

sLeOLe3.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4. My nomination is Milwaukee (Assuming that, in this alternate universe, Miller Park is built wide enough to fit a football field)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2003 USFL Season

The 2002-2003 offseason was dominated by the planned expansion scheduled for 2004.  In addition to three separate groups bidding to bring the Stallions back to Birmingham, there were six serious contending bids seeking to become the league’s 26th franchise.  As part of a three-part agreement between the USFL, the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama, the new Birmingham ownership would be required to put $40,000,000 towards upgrades and renovation to Legion Field, a number which would be matched by equal amounts provided by the city and the state.  It was clear that going several seasons without the USFL had demonstrated the true value of the league and the Birmingham franchise to local and state officials.  It was estimated by state authorities that the absence of the Stallions had led to a loss of nearly $50,000,000 in annual revenue for local businesses, state taxes and employment revenue.  All three ownership contenders agreed to the terms and presented their case (and finances) at the USFL ownership meetings, held this year in Tampa.  The winner, a bid led by a combination of Atlanta executives affiliated with Coca-Cola and Turner broadcasting and local businessmen associated with everything from beverage distribution to steel production to groceries.  The coalition appointed former Auburn legend Pat Dye to serve as their President and Director of Operations and quickly named 2-time USFL champion head coach Jim Fassel to lead the 2004 expansion club.

 

The competition for the 26th franchise was no less fierce as ownership groups from Las Vegas, Sacramento, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and the Twin Cities all put forward their best case for ownership.  In the end, perhaps it was nostalgia for what could have been, or perhaps it was the allure of a brand new stadium ready and waiting, but the Pittsburgh group, headed by Richard Yuengling, was the victor, and immediately declared the return of a bigger and better Pittsburgh Maulers to the USFL.  They signed Steeler OC Mike Mularkey to head up the team’s first season.

 

But the excitement would  not end there.  Citing the quality of the bids made by other locations, and the desire to build for the future, the USFL owners also approved a 2006 expansion, with both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City approved for ownership and given 3 years to negotiate agreements and renovations to the stadia at UNLV and the U. of Utah respectively.    

 

In player news, the USFL snagged three big names from the NFL’s free agents, topped by Cowboy great Emmitt Smith, who opted to join the Arizona Wranglers rather than retire a Cowboy.  While it was clear that Smith was in the twilight of his career, the same could not be said for former Oiler QB Steve  McNair, who opted to sign with the Memphis Showboats or Kansas City’s All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, who joined the Denver Gold.  The biggest loss for the USFL was in the gunslinging QB Jake Plummer, who opted not to re-up with the Wranglers, but instead signed with the Denver Broncos. 

 

In the 2003 USFL Draft, several teams tried to fill offensive holes, including the LA Express, who had no luck in 2002 with an aging Randall Cunningham and an ineffective Kerwin Bell.   While they kept Bell on in 2003, he would back up the Express’s top signing, territorial draft pick, Carson Palmer from USC.   The other big QB signing was made by the Houston Gamblers, who snagged Marshall signalcaller Byron Leftwich in the national draft.  Other top picks signed by the league included RB Larry Johnson, who thought he would be staying in Pennsylvania to play for the Stars but ended up headed to New Jersey due to a complicated 3-team trade on draft day.  Michigan State WR Charles Rogers would sign with the Denver Gold to pair with Tony Gonzalez, while Nevada’s Nate Burleson traveled all the way to Baltimore for his new contract.

 

The 2003 season was dominated by two stories, the seemingly unstoppable Philadelphia Stars offense, led by 3rd year QB Tom Brady and RB Curtis Martin, and the collapse of several teams.  The season finished with 4 teams with 10 losses or more, including a record-setting collapse by the Chicago Machine, who did not get their first win until a week 12 upset of the Atlanta Spartans.  The season saw two teams drop from first to last in their divisions, Atlanta and Arizona, both due to shaky QB play, with Arizona struggling to find an adequate replacement for Jake Plummer and Atlanta dealing with an injury to Steve Beurlein for most of the season.  On the other side, Jacksonville, behind new head coach Ray Rhodes and new QB Jeff George, made an impressive jump from the basement to the penthouse in the Atlantic Division.

 

The combination of Ray Rhodes and Jeff George continued to pay dividends in the playoffs as the future Coach of the Year found ways for Jacksonville to beat back Michael Vick and Dallas and then Brett Favre and Orlando.  But the story of the playoffs had to be the plucky Tampa Bay Bandits.  Behind stalwart, undervalued QB Mark Brunell and a receiving trio of Santana Moss, Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet shocked the world by beating the #1 seed Stars in Philly, only to do it again the next week with a victory against Michigan, the #2 seed.  Tampa Bay would go on to win the whole enchilada with a dominating 3-phases victory over the Bulls.  Three phases because not only did the connection from Brunell to Johnson start off the scoring, but a special teams safety due to a muffed long snap out of the endzone, and a defensive score on a muffed handoff between Jeff George and Bulls RB Bam Morris, led to a 16-0 halftime lead.  Jacksonville would score to start the 3rd, but a 5 yard slant to Santana Moss and a missed tackle by the Bulls and suddenly Moss was 64 yards downfield putting the Bandits up 23-7.  The Bulls could muster nothing on offense the rest of the half, and only a coaching decision to take the safety on a late punt from the endzone allowed the Bulls to earn more points.  The final score, a dominating 23-9 Tampa Bay Bandit victory in one of the greatest underdog runs in the history of the league.

 

2003 USFL Final Standings

NORTH

 

*PHI     12-2

*BOS   10-4

NJ         5-9

WSH     3-11

 

ATLANTIC

 

* JAX      9-5

CHA       8-6

BAL        7-7

ATL        5-9

 

CENTRAL

 

*MICH   11-3

*CLE       9-5

STL         6-8

CHI         1-13

 

SOUTH

 

*ORL      9-5

*TBY      9-5

NOR      6-8

MEM     4-10

 

WEST

 

*DAL     9-5

SAN      8-6

HOU     6-8

DEN      2-12

 

PACIFIC

 

*SJO       9-5

*POR      8-6

LA           7-7

ARZ        5-9

 

 

2003 USFL Playoffs         

Wildcard Round                 Boston(7) d. Portland(10)                Tampa Bay(8) d. Cleveland(9)

 

Divisional Round               Tampa Bay(8) d. Philadelphia(1)      Michigan(2) d. Boston(7)

                                          Orlando(3) d. San Jose(6)                Jacksonville(4) d. Dallas(5)

 

Semifinal Round               Tampa Bay(8) d. Michigan(2)        Jacksonville(4) d. Orlando(3)

 

2003 USFL Championship          Tampa Bay 23  Jacksonville 9

 

2003 USFL Award Winners

2003 Most Valuable Player:  Tom Brady, QB, Philadelphia

2003 Coach of the Year:  Ray Rhodes, Jacksonville

2003 Rookie of the Year:  Carson Palmer, QB, Los Angeles

 

2003 USFL Relocation, Expansion, Logo or Uniform Updates

1)      The Philadelphia Stars simplified their logo and modernized their uniforms, removing a lot of the white trim and going with a “fading stripe” pattern similar to the fading star logo design they have worn since 1983.

 

2)      Tampa Bay also modernized their uniforms, adding the iconic rider to the pants as well as a “western motif” piping to the jerseys.  Odd for a team in Tampa but right in line with the team’s longstanding “Smokey & the Bandit” inspired aesthetic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now