Fitting, the first champion of the USFL’s first incarnation will have the first draft pick in preparation for the league’s upcoming season.
Using a lottery, the USFL determined the first-round draft order. The Michigan Panthers, coached by former Titans and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, won the first overall pick. Here’s how the rest of the draft will play out.
1. Michigan Panthers
2. Tampa Bay Bandits
3. Philadelphia Stars
4. New Jersey Generals
5. Houston Gamblers
6. Birmingham Stallions
7. Pittsburgh Maulers
8. New Orleans Breakers
Fisher’s NFL teams drafted several future stars during his 25 years as a head coach. Among the players Fisher’s teams selected in the first round include quarterback Steve McNair, running backs Eddie George, Chris Johnson and Todd Gurley, pass rusher Javon Kearse, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
It’s been an active week for the USFL, which earlier in the day revealed each teams’ home and away jerseys for the upcoming season. The league announced on Wednesday that its inaugural postseason will take place inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, starting on June 25.
The USFL is back after playing three seasons from 1983-85. Financial challenges and an unsuccessful attempt to move the league from the spring to the fall largely contributed to the league’s short existence. Along with implementing several innovations (such as instant replay and two-point conversions), the USFL produced several future prominent NFL figures that included future Bills coach Marv Levy, quarterbacks Steve Young and Jim Kelly, running back Herschel Walker, pass rusher Reggie White, linebacker Sam Mills, and offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman, among others.
The Panthers played in the USFL’s first two championship games. They defeated the Stars in the 1983 title game in front of over 50,000 fans at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Among the Panthers stars on that team were receiver Anthony Carter, who went on to enjoy a successful 11-year NFL career that included three Pro Bowl nods with the Vikings.