late 1981 when the Federals were being
conceived, the idea of placing a USFL franchise
in the nation's capital made perfect sense - the
city hadn't had a winner in football in nearly
in 1982, the Washington Redskins won the NFL
championship following a 57 day players' strike,
and just like that the Redskins were the
team in D.C. once again, to the exclusion of the
Federals or anyone else.
the Feds been competitive in the USFL's 1983
season its possible the team would have
attracted more fans, but the Redskins success
scalped the Federals before the eagle could even
a confidential memo sent to prospective limited
partners, Washington Football Partners, Ltd.
projected that the Federals would receive
approximately $ 2.6 million in revenue from gate
receipts in 1983, with that number climbing each
year through 1987 when the team would allegedly
generate $ 6.72 million in gate receipts.
The real numbers were nowhere near this
expectation for 1983, let alone the future.
The Federals anticipated losing $ 1.2 million in
1983 and $ 1.36 million in 1984 before turning a
modest $430,000 profit in 1985. By the time
1984 had come and gone, however, estimates of the
Feds losses were hovering near $10 million.
The team projected that they would draw an average
of 26,000 fans per home date in 1983, 30,000 in
1984, 35,000 in 1985, 41,000 in 1986, and 48,000
by 1987. In reality, the Federals surpassed
the average for any year just one time - in their
first-ever game against George Allen and his
Chicago Blitz, where the team drew 38,010.
From that point forward, achieving half of the
projections was a challenge.
The Federals were sold to Tampa Bay Bandits
limited partner Donald Dizney, who relocated the
club to Orlando, Florida, but not before a prior
deal had fallen through. Berl Bernhard had
reached a preliminary agreement with Sherwood
"Woody" Weiser to sell him the Federals
for $ 5.5 million, the idea being that Weiser
would relocate the team to Miami. Once the
USFL's owners voted to move to a fall schedule
beginning in 1986 however, Weiser lost interest in
the USFL - and fast. Fortunately for
Bernhard, Dizney stepped in and quickly reached a
deal to buy the team.
Had Berl Bernhard's deal to sell the Federals to
Sherwood Weiser gone through, the 1985 Miami team
(which never reached a point where it had a
nickname) would have called the legendary Orange
Bowl its home. Instead, the transplanted
Federals would call the Florida Citrus Bowl in
Orlando their new home in 1985.