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United States Football League (USFL)

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The United States Football League (USFL) was an American football league that played for three seasons, 1983 through 1985. The league played a spring/summer schedule in their three seasons. A fourth season, to be played in a traditional autumn/winter schedule, was set to commence before league operations ceased.

The USFL was conceived in 1965 by New Orleans, Louisiana, businessman David Dixon, who saw a market for a professional football league that would play while the established National Football League was in their off-season. Dixon had been a key player in the construction of the Louisiana Superdome and the expansion of the NFL into New Orleans in 1967. He developed "The Dixon Plan"—a blueprint for the USFL based upon securing NFL-caliber stadiums in top TV markets, securing a TV deal, and controlling spending—and found investors willing to buy in.

After deviating from "The Dixon Plan" in the league's inaugural season, the United States Football League was plagued with financial problems and consequently, franchise instability. A number of franchises either relocated or merged with others. In spite of these difficulties, the league had enough success in cities such as Jacksonville, Phoenix, and Baltimore that the NFL has placed teams there since the USFL ceased operations.

The Michigan Panthers were the first USFL champions. The Philadelphia Stars won the second USFL championship, and after relocating to Baltimore, won the final USFL championship as the Baltimore Stars in effectively a rematch of the first USFL title game.

In 1986, the USFL, having recently decided to compete directly with the NFL, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the National Football League. The NFL was found to have violated anti-monopoly laws. However, in a victory in name only, the USFL was awarded a judgment of just $1, which under anti-trust laws, was tripled to $3. When it folded, the USFL had lost over $163 million.

See Wikipedia's Article: United States Football League for more information on the league.