Monday, October 17, 2016

Remember The U.S.F.L. !

I love football. Playing it, watching it, talking about it. I also love a good "what if" scenario. In 1983, a pro football league calling itself the United States Football League played its first season. The games were played in the spring and early summer.

The league only lasted three years, done in by a combination of factors, the key one being a planned move to a traditional fall schedule for the 1986 season that never happened. One of the owners who pushed for that was Donald Trump, owner of the New Jersey Generals. Trump and a few other owners, it's widely accepted, hoped to get their teams placed in the N.F.L. but that was never a very realistic hope.

The league had some good moments, including a 1984 playoff game that went to triple overtime with the Los Angeles Express defeating the Michigan Panthers by a score of 27-21. It was a great game with the Express knocking off the defending champions.

There were also some not so good moments and situations. The Express, for one, as the team played its final season under league management and had its final game moved to a Los Angeles area high school. The Breakers played three seasons in three different cities, starting in Boston, moving to New Orleans and winding up in Portland, Oregon. The San Antonio Gunslingers had an owner who was so strapped for cash that he tried to run the team out of an R.V. in the stadium parking lot.

Like the A.F.L. of the 1960s, the U.S.F.L. brought some key innovations to the game. The  U.S.F.L. used a system for challenging plays that is almost identical to the one used currently by the N.F.L. in its games.

As I said earlier in this post, I love a good "what if" scenario.  So, I'm using a software program called Action football to play out an alternate history for the league. This is not by any means an original idea; I am aware of several such projects that other sports gamers have attempted using Action or some other football simulation.

What I'm doing that makes my project different is that I'm using fictional players, playing a sixteen game schedule (the real life league had an eighteen game schedule), and starting with sixteen teams (the real life league started with twelve teams).

The first week is on the books and I'm happy with the results. If anyone is interested, I will be posting game summaries here.

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