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May 11 - At "21" in New York the USFL's formation is announced, with Washington being the site of one of the league's 12 charter franchises.
July 21 - James M. Gould is named president and C.O.O. of the Washington franchise, and Dick Myers is named Executive Vice President and General Manager.
August 24 - Washington USFL team announces it will be known as the Federals, with the team's colors being kelly green, white, black and silver.  Ray Jauch is introduced as the team's first head coach.
August 31 - Federals host league meeting at which USFL divisional alignment for 1983 is set:  Federals to play in Atlantic Division along with Boston Breakers, New Jersey Generals and Philadelphia Stars.
September 8 - Washington Football Partners sign 7 year lease to play Federals games at RFK Stadium.
November 6 - 618 would-be players appear at an open tryout camp at RFK Stadium.  Of those, the team signs three players.

1 9 8 3

January 4 - With its first choice in the inaugural 1983 USFL Draft, the Federals select Southern Methodist RB Craig James.  Eight days later they sign James to a series of one-year contracts.

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

Years Played in USFL: 1983, 1984
Club Owner(s): Washington Football Partners, Ltd.
Playing Site: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, District of Columbia
Head Coach(es): Ray Jauch (1983-84); Dick Bielski (1984)
Overall Record: 7-29-0
. .

Year Head Coach W L T Pct. Finish Post-Season Notes
1983 Ray Jauch 4 14 0 .222 4th, Atlantic Div. Failed to Qualify
1984 Ray Jauch 0 1 0 .000 4th, Atlantic Div. Fired During Season
. Dick Bielski 3 14 0 .176 4th, Atlantic Div. Failed to Qualify
Team Totals 7 29 0 .194 --- -

Whenever pundits gather to discuss the history of the United States Football League and the discussion turns to which of the league's teams were the worst, several teams immediately come to mind.  But eventually the discussion ends when two words are spoken:  "Washington Federals."
Over their two years in the nation's capital, the Federals were without doubt the most hopeless team in the USFL both on the field and at the gate.  The inaugural 1983 season saw the team win only four of its eighteen regular season games, which by and of itself wouldn't have been too bad - after all, eight of the team's losses were by a touchdown or less and two were by a single point.  But then one takes a look at the team's woeful attendance figures:  11,404 at home against Michigan, 13,936 against Arizona, 9,070 against the Bandits, 7,303 against the Breakers, 9,792 against the Express... it wasn't good.

Oddly enough however, had the Federals and the USFL been launched even a year earlier, the outcome of the team might have been at least slightly different - while the Feds were ramping up, making preparations for their inaugural season, the NFL's Redskins were capturing their first NFL championship in four decades.  When the Redskins won Super Bowl XVII over the Miami Dolphins that January, the Federals season ticket sales, which hadn't been that robust to begin with, dried up.  Washington had its football team, and it wasn't the Feds.

Owner Berl Bernhard, a prominent D.C. attorney, decided to tough it out for a second season but soon opted to try and find a buyer for the team.  He fired head coach Ray Jauch after the first game of 1984, a humiliating 53-14 loss to the expansion Jacksonville Bulls, replacing him with Dick Bielski.  It didn't help as the Feds drew just 12,067 in their '84 home opener against the Philadelphia Stars.  As was the case in 1983 the home opener proved to be the most attended game of the season.  Against Memphis the Feds drew just 4,432.  Simply put, the team was a loser in every sense imaginable.

The team's second and final season in Washington was actually worse than the first in terms of wins and losses:  3-15-0.  And unlike 1983, the losses weren't all that close - most were blowouts.  The final insult was that the expansion Pittsburgh Maulers had defeated the Feds both times the teams met in 1984, representing two-thirds of the Maulers' wins in the franchise's single year history.

After the season Bernhard found a buyer in Sherwood "Woody" Weiser, who planned to relocate the team to Miami for 1985 and had already hired Howard Schnellenberger to be the team's head coach.  Then the USFL's owners voted to move to a fall schedule beginning in 1986, and Weiser, having no interest in going head to head with the NFL's Dolphins, backed out of the deal.  Tampa Bay Bandits limited partner Donald Dizney then stepped forward, buying the team and relocating it to Orlando, Florida for 1985.  The rechristened Renegades proved to be the Federals in new uniforms and helmets for the most part, however, the team going 5-13-0 in its only year in the Sunshine State.

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