I just got a chance to watch ESPN's 30 for 30 show about the USFL. I had really forgotten a lot of the details about the league that were presented in that documentary. Watching it brought back so many great memories of the USFL that I had really forgotten about over the years.
I was a teenage sports fan at the time the USFL began and I remember how cool it seemed back then that a new league was going to take a legitimate shot at the NFL. Even then, I was a uniform and logo junkie, so the league's logos and uniforms fascinated me. It had been a long time since I had seen video of that many teams from the league and the great designs they had.
Some of my favorites were the Denver Gold, Oakland Invaders and Arizona Wranglers. All those teams had cool uniforms and logos. (plus, it supports my football and yellow theory I wrote about last week) The league also featured one of my favorite helmet designs of all-time, that of the Boston Breakers. Though I was not a fan of their unusual colors, the Michigan Panthers also had a unique helmet design.
I had forgotten about the league's totally cool championship trophy. I don't think I had seen a picture of it since it was last hoisted over a head in 1985, but it is one of the greatest sports trophy designs. The metallic helmet on top of the trophy was about as cool as a trophy can get.
It is too bad that the league ended the way it did. It had so much going for it, top name players, cool logos and uniforms, and an exciting brand of football. The ESPN show documented all that led to the demise of the league. It also took a look at the involvement the Donald Trump as the owner of the New Jersey Generals and how it impacted the league's future. Much of the detail the show presented had escaped me so many years ago. It is a shame the league went away. How great would it be for all of us sports design folks to have this league around now, 25 years after it's founding?
If you haven't seen the show yet, search it out. It will bring back some great memories from the league that tried to do something extraordinary, and almost succeeded.