As a child of the 1980s, I had the privilege or misfortune to grow up in a truly transitional decade everything from the fashion, the technology, the music, the social concerns, and yes, the sports. Growing up in the 1980s and growing up a Philadelphia sports fan was also a very unique and painful experience. The question is “Are You Ready For Some Spring Football Again?”
I was too young to really enjoy the dominance of the Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers of the late 1970s and early eighties. I was just old enough to know the pain and frustration of the Eagles of the mid-eighties. Enter the United States Football League. In 1983 a spring professional Football League came into being and with it came the Philadelphia Stars.
The league operated from 1983 to 1985. Three seasons of alternative NFL Football. The season began in late April and ran into late June. Just long enough to satisfy the lull between the NFL draft and the eventual collapse of the current Phillies season.
Then it was just a short month before NFL training camps began. It was a football fan’s dream come true. The league was largely very competitive it began with 8 teams but ended its run with 14 teams.
Players came from all ranks to include major US colleges a major reason that the NFL eventually put an end to the league. Future football Hall of Famers like Steve Young, Reggie White, Sam Mills, and Jim Kelly all got their start in the USFL. Games were played weekly Friday thru Monday.
Being a football fan in Philadelphia in the mid-eighties was a new kind of painful, a pain that the current under 30 crowd of Eagles fans has no understanding or concept of. The Stars brought a pleasant distraction from the dumpster fire that was the mid-eighties Philadelphia Eagles.
With Jim Mora Sr. at the helm of the Stars. Players Chuck Fussina, Kelvin Bryant, Sam Mills, and Scott Fiskie became household names in the Delaware Valley. To state it upfront the Stars were dominant in the USFL.
In the 3 seasons of operation the Philadelphia and later the Baltimore Stars appeared in all three of the League Championship games winning in 1984 (Arizona Wranglers), and 1985 (Oakland Invaders). The lone loss came in 1983 to the Michigan Panthers quarterbacked by Bobby Herbert.
The USFL re-launch
Starting later this month the USFL and the Philadelphia Stars will be back they along with seven other teams will be part of the USFL re-launch the league which will be owned and operated by Fox Sports will have all eight teams playing in the same location in 2022 but the future will see the teams be brought back into their home markets.
The league will operate under the original Friday- Monday format with games broadcasted on Fox. I went to my first in-person professional football game on April 27, 1984, at Veterans Stadium it was a game that featured the New Orleans Breakers vs the Stars with the Stars winning 35-0 it was a birthday present for my 11th Birthday. Starting this spring I can start being a kid again who said you can never go home.
I will be there every step of the way. For more spring football and Philadelphia Stars coverage click here.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.