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Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Johnny Dangerously, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    I'm watching Jim Kelly and Rick Neuheisel quarterback against each other on ESPN Classic. Say what you want about the USFL, but it's obvious the players had fun and really cared about winning -- at least in all the games I've seen. They seem genuinely excited after big plays (even smaller ones).

    Granted, many of the players were hoping to use the league as a shot at the NFL, so they were highly motivated, but it's interesting to see how much enthusiasm they had. Sometimes you don't see that often enough on Sundays.
  2. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I was there on opening day in 1983 to see Philadelphia (with Kelvin Bryant) play at Denver. It definitely was much better than that XFL crap.
  3. tommyp

    tommyp Member

    Man, could Kelly run that run-and-shoot.

    Note the size of the OL...looks about 50-75 pounds less than today's OLs.
  4. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Well, it was about 20 years ago.

    There was absolutely no comparison in terms of level of play between the USFL and XFL. Remember, the USFL spent a lot of money stealing players away from the NFL like Herschel Walker, Kelly and Doug Flutie.

    The defenses and depth of talent weren't on the NFL level, but it was a fun game to watch. The league also gave some outstanding players a shot when the NFL passed them over, most notably Sam Mills. NFL teams passed on him for being undersized, but he was one of the USFL's best players.

    I was such a football junkie at that time, I just loved having football to watch in the summer.
  5. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Kelly got sacked about 75 times one season running that O. He earned the Hall of Fame just for surviving that.

    Pittsburgh Mallers, anyone?
  6. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Maulers, not that they were good enought to deserve a proper spelling of their names.

    Speaking of beatings, Neuheisel took plenty of them on some bad San Antonio teams.

    Don't forget Kelly had some damn good receivers. Ricky Sanders was an NFL Pro Bowler with the Redskins. Clarence Verdin (can't remember the spelling) was a backup receiver and stud kick returner with the Colts. Richard Johnson had a couple big years with the Detroit Lions' run-and-shoot offense. And there was a possession type who played most of the time in front of Ice Cube McNeil, another guy who went on to the NFL.
  7. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Mills was one of the NFL's best, too. Some great players in the USFL -- don't forget Reggie White was in that league, with the Memphis Showboats.

    BTW, the last remaining USFL player on an NFL roster was Sean Landeta, who was signed by the Giants for a few minutes this season, barely outlasting Flutie.
  8. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    The USFL, and leagues like the ABA, WHA and even the AFL, are interesting case studies in nostalgia. I call it the 25 percent perception.

    The USFL talent pool was very good at the top. It's top 25 percent were very legit NFL players, as evidenced by their influence in the NFL for the decade after the NFL broke up.

    But beyond that strata? The USFL was not very good.

    Same thing with the ABA, which some people think was on par with the NBA. ABA stars were obviously very legit, but again, once you got below that 25 percent threshold, talent was very suspect. Not until the ABA pared back its franchises down almost in half by financial necessity right before the NBA merged the Spurs, Nets, Pacers and Nuggets, was it close to NBA-level talent beyond that 25 percent threshold.

    Even the hallowed AFL gets a favorable historical perception, mainly because of the Super Bowls III and IV wins, and because, unlike the USFL and ABA, fan interest increased over its lifespan. The AFL probably exceeded the 25 percent talent threshold, it was more like 35 percent, but all one needs to do is look at the 1970 season to see how far behind the AFL was from top-to-bottom talent-wise at the time of the merger.

    In 1970, the old AFL teams lost two-thirds of their games to the old NFL teams. The first AFC champion, the Baltimore Colts, were an old-line NFL team that moved over.

    The best record of an AFL team in 1970 was Miami's 10-4, but the Dolphins were not like the other AFL teams in that they were part of the post-peace agreement common draft for all but a year of their existence. Same for the 8-6 Bengals, formed in '68. Only two other AFL teams (Oakland 8-4-2, Kansas City 7-5-2) were over the .500 mark in 1970.

    In '71, only Miami, Oakland and Kansas City were over .500. In '72, it was those three, plus the Bengals again. Not until '73 did the old AFL teams really start to catch up.

    I'm not trying to piss on the USFL, it was a fun league. Just thought this was an appropriate place for my theory.
  9. accguy

    accguy Member

    I loved the USFL. I actually have a full set of cards from the USFL (second season I think) with all of them in plastic sheets.

    I gave up card collecting long ago, but I do like those bad boys.
  10. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I had a friend who used to call it the UnSatisfactory Football League. I also heard a comedian say USFL stood for U Stupid Fucking Losers.
    Seriously, one of the local high school coaches played two years in the league and was a teammate of Marcus Dupree. I asked if there was any real comparison between Dupree and Maurice Clarett and he said Dupree was a really good guy, just not very sophisticated.
  11. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Mills was great in both leagues. I was just using him as an example of a guy who might have never gotten his shot in the NFL without the USFL.

    White was a different case. He was another big-time prospect from college who was lured away by the USFL.

    I do agree that the talent was very top-heavy in the USFL. They paid the big bucks for stars and surrounded themselves with a lot of players who were the NFL's scraps. But it was still a heck of a lot better than the XFL.
  12. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

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