UPDATE (July 14, 2022): I'm excited to unveil this opportunity to preserve the entire video library of the USFL. These videotapes were the league's archive until being turned over to Halcyon Days Productions in 1985. An estimated 400+ games remain preserved on tape. The videotapes won't last indefinitely, however, and the footage must be converted to a digital format to be preserved and accessed. How can you help? Check out the USFL Video Library Preservation GoFundMe campaign. Please contact me, Paul Reeths, with any questions.
Order the book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.
Years of existence: 1983-1984
Owner: Dr. Ted Diethrich (1983), Dr. James Hoffman (1984)
Stadium: Soldier Field (65,077)
Colors: Red, silver, blue and white
Overall Regular Season Record: 17-19 (.472)
Overall Playoff Record: 0-1
Yearly Standings and Average Home Attendances1983: 12-6 (18,133)
1984: 5-13 (7,455)
The odds-on favorites to win the 1983 USFL title, the Blitz put together a solid but unspectacular inaugural campaign. After the signings of quality prospects like WR Trumaine Johnson, RBs Tim Spencer and Kevin Long and veterans like QB Greg Landry and LB Stan White, the Blitz looked as if they might dominate the league. Oh yeah, legendary coach George Allen was the coach of this talented bunch. Chicago, however, was edged out of the Central Division title on the last day of the season by the surging Michigan Panthers. The next week the Blitz endured a heartbreaking 44-38 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Stars after Chicago had led by 21 points in the final period.
Dr. Diethrich had grown tired of operating a team so far from his native Phoenix and the apparent apathy of the Chicago sports fans. He was finally able to work out a franchise trade with Arizona, and after all was said and done, Dr. Jim Hoffman was the new owner of the Blitz, whose roster now consisted almost entirely of the 1983 Arizona Wranglers. This first to worst move didn't endear the franchise to the denizens of Chicago, and falling crowds contributed to Hoffman's relinquishing the team to the league. Even the addition of formers Bears' QB Vince Evans did nothing to ease the situation. Without any money and not much more interest in Chicago, new coach Marv Levy did a great job just keeping the team alive.
Incidentally, Eddie Einhorn acquired the rights to a Chicago franchise following the collapse of the Blitz but chose not to field a team in 1985. It is doubtful that he had the finances to do it anyway. He remained active in the league's unsuccessful television negotiations but again decided not to field a team in 1986.Their Finest Hour: On Saturday, April 2, 1983, the 4-0 Tampa Bay Bandits, the final undefeated team in the league, hosted the underachieving 2-2 Blitz at Tampa Stadium. The Bandits left the game a 42-3 loser with their tails between their legs. Chicago free safety Luther Bradley intercepted six, yes six, Bandits' passes for a new pro football record. He even returned one of those picks for a 93-yard touchdown. Winning just 14-3 at the half, the Blitz scored 21 points in the third period to break the game wide open. Trumaine Johnson caught seven passes for 146 yard, and Greg Landry threw for 277 yards on the day as the Blitz sent a message to the Tampa crowd and the entire league that they would be a team to contend with.
1983 Chicago Blitz Roster|
1984 Chicago Blitz Roster
1983 Chicago Blitz Statistics |
1984 Chicago Blitz Statistics