the Bulls played in 1986, they would have been
aligned in the Independence Division along with
the Orlando Renegades, Tampa Bay Bandits, and
1986 USFL would have featured just eight teams,
with seven of them east of the Mississippi
the 1985 season, the league lost the Birmingham
Stallions (folded), Denver Gold (merged into the
Bulls), Houston Gamblers (merged into the New
Jersey Generals), Los Angeles Express (folded),
Portland Breakers (folded), and San Antonio
Gunslingers (franchise revoked by league).
Bulls were the crown jewel franchise of the USFL's
expansion of 1984, drawing a rabid fan base to
games and eventually putting a competitive
football product on the field.
The team held a "Name the Team" contest
in an effort to choose a nickname, but in the end
owner Fred W. Bullard listened to suggestions that
he name the team after himself, calling it the
The Bulls won their first USFL game in convincing
fashion, thrashing the Washington Federals
53-14. The Bulls led 16-0 at the end of the
first quarter and 29-0 at the half, scoring 46 of
the game's first 53 points.
Miami Dolphin Hall of Famer Larry Csonka was a
prominent face of the Bulls franchise, first as a
spokesman and the team's chief scout, and later as
the team's General Manager.
JAX Professionals, Inc., the group that brought
the Bulls to Jacksonville, at one point attempted
to raise additional capital for the franchise by
selling shares to the public. Hoping to
raise nearly $ 19 million to help keep the team
afloat, only 800 people expressed interest in
buying a piece of the Bulls at $100 a share.
The Bulls franchise was the fourth expansion
franchise awarded by the USFL, with the formal
announcement being made on June 14, 1983.
The Pittsburgh Maulers, Houston Gamblers, and
Oklahoma Outlaws (originally intended for San
Diego) had come before the Bulls during the
previous six weeks.
The Bulls led the USFL in attendance in both
seasons of the team's existence, averaging roughly
45,000 at the Gator Bowl in both 1984 and 1985.
The Bulls were merged with the Denver Gold after
the 1985 season as the league prepared to go head
to head with the NFL in 1986. The combined
Bulls-Gold team, which would have played in
Jacksonville, never played a game, however.