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May 11 - At "21" in New York, the USFL announces its presence, and its intent to play spring football beginning in 1983.  San Diego is among the cities slated to host USFL teams. 
Summer - Alan Harmon and Bill Daniels, co-owners of the San Diego franchise, are denied permission to use Jack Murphy Stadium.
September 2 - Harmon and Daniels' franchise is placed in Los Angeles, and the team is named the Express.  CFL wunderkind Hugh Campbell is hired as the team's head coach.
October 7 - The Express sign a five-year lease to play home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

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January 4 - With the first overall selection in the inaugural USFL Draft, the Express select University of Pittsburgh QB Dan Marino.  He doesn't sign with the Express, but prior to signing with the NFL's Miami Dolphins does make appearances on behalf of the team.
January 31 - The Express first training camp opens with 177 players, enough to fill four USFL team rosters.

To see more of the
Express timeline, visit the
Timeline of the USFL

Years Played in USFL: 1983, 1984, 1985.
Club Owner(s): Alan Harmon and Bill Daniels (1983); J. William Oldenburg (1984); league operated (1985).
Playing Site: Los Angeles Coliseum
Head Coach(es): Hugh Campbell (1983); John Hadl (1984-85).
Overall Record: 22-34-0 (21-33-0 regular season)
. .

Year Head Coach W L T Pct. Finish Post-Season Notes
1983 Hugh Campbell 8 10 0 .444 2nd, Pacific Div. Failed to Qualify
1984 John Hadl 10 8 0 .556 Pacific Div. Champs Lost Western Conf. Champ.
1985 John Hadl 3 15 0 .167 7th, Western Conf. Failed to Qualify
Team Totals 21 33 0 .389 --- -

Alan Harmon and Bill Daniels were cable television pioneers who were awarded a USFL franchise... for San Diego.  After the pair were rebuffed by the City of San Diego in its effort to secure use of Jack Murphy Stadium however, the duo got permission from the league to relocate to Los Angeles, where the Express were born.
In the entertainment capital of the world, even quality entertainment options such as pro football are a hard sell, a fact learned by the Express early on.  While the team drew well for its home opener against the New Jersey Generals in 1983, the rest of the season produced less than stellar attendance - 22,000 against Washington the following week, 17,000 against Oakland, 13,000 against Arizona, down to 11,471 for the regular season finale against the Denver Gold.  It was, to say the least, disappointing.  But, when Harmon and Daniels were approached by J. William Oldenburg about selling the franchise, the pair got out and Oldenburg stepped in.

Oldenburg was a colorful character to say the least; a self-described billionaire with the nickname "Mr. Dynamite" who stated he'd have Wayne Newton on the Express Board of Directors.  He also signed rookie quarterback Steve Young to the most lucrative contract in professional football history, valued at a total in excess of $40 million.  While Newton's singing talents and Young's signal calling were both unquestioned, their ability to help the team at the gate was nominal at best - an Express game coupled with a Newton post-game concert drew more flies than spectators, and despite Young's presence the attendance slide of 1983 continued into 1984 - 8,000 against Jacksonville, 10,049 against Memphis, 10,193 against the Michigan Panthers, and the capper - 7,964 for a playoff game against the Michigan Panthers that was among the most intriguing football games ever played, a triple overtime showdown ultimately won by the Express, 27-21.

Oldenburg had seen enough.  Between the Express losing a reported $15 million and his other enterprises flagging under somewhat shady circumstances, the financial picture of "Mr. Dynamite" imploded, causing him to turn control of the club over to the league after the 1984 season.  Having already taken control of the Chicago Blitz and deciding to fold that franchise, the USFL's ownership faced a dilemma - if both the Blitz and Express were folded, ABC would be able to trigger an escape clause in the league's network television contract - something that, giving the nature of the ABC/USFL relationship, was a very real possibility.

The owners, at the suggestion of new commissioner Harry Usher, voted to keep the team afloat in 1985 while Usher scrambled to find a buyer (one never came forward).  Operated on a shoestring budget by the league in an effort to minimize losses (the team even fired its cheerleading squad in a cost-cutting move), the Express still managed to lose $6 million along with 15 of their 18 games in 1985, after going to the USFL's Western Conference championship game the year before.  Fans stayed away in droves, and Usher was reportedly on the brink of being fired for pushing to operate the team in 1985.  Never finding a buyer, in part due to the expensive contracts Oldenburg had signed, the Express last stop came at tiny Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California, where the team played its final home game against the Arizona Outlaws - another idea cooked up by Usher.

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