Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tonight On ESPN: "Who Killed the USFL?"

Last night during Monday Night Football, ESPN teased a new 1 hour documentary that they are airing tonight called "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" I will definitely be watching. A three minute teaser for it that ESPN posted to You Tube is embedded below. This documentary apparently examines the short life of the upstart USFL pro football league in the mid-1980s, with a heavy focus on Donald Trump, who bought the New Jersey Generals franchise in 1984.

I remember the USFL. I remember it as having a lot more credibility than, say, Vince McMahon's start-up XFL which played only one season 2001. Maybe that's because the USFL had big stars like Hershel Walker, Doug Flutie and Steve Young. While the XFL featured a guy who had "He Hate Me" emblazoned on his jersey. (Though the NFL has adopted that mid field camera-on-a-wire which was pioneered by the XFL.)
The story of the USFL has so many intriguing aspects. But I suppose it's all just sports trivia now, 25 years later. Did you know that Walter Payton turned down a 3-year contract offer from the USFL's Chicago Blitz franchise that at the time was the richest in pro football history? (If he'd accepted, he would not have been on the legendary '85 Bears Super Bowl team.) Or that, after the league's demise, the USFL filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL and won after a lengthy and much publicized trial, but was awarded only one dollar in damages?

1 comment:

  1. wow! how hard is it for a kid to find out how this league ultimately ended! ha ha ha i'm not the smartest kid but this seemed like something even a varsity football player like myself could find out!!