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May 11 - At "21" in New York City, the United States Football League announces its plans to begin play with the 1983 season.  Denver is listed among the cities to field charter USFL teams.  
June 16 - Former Denver Broncos head coach Robert "Red" Miller is named head coach of the team, which takes the name Denver Gold.
July 12 - Denver owner Ron Blanding hosts a USFL meeting at which the league forms a committee to study the problem of drug abuse in pro football.  The league also adopts the two-point conversion at this meeting.
August 31 - The Gold are aligned in the USFL's Pacific Division along with the Arizona Wranglers, Los Angeles Express and Oakland Invaders.

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January 4 - In the first round of the inaugural USFL Draft, the Gold select DB Demetrious Johnson of Missouri.  Johnson never plays a down in a Gold uniform.
February - In an effort to spur ticket sales for their home opener, the Gold offer an innovative program - if after one quarter of football you don't like the quality of play, you can leave the stadium and get a full refund of your ticket price. 
March 6 - The Denver Gold debut in a 13-7 loss to the Philadelphia Stars, but the real story is the attendance - 45,102 cross the turnstiles at Mile High Stadium, with less than 1% requesting refunds under the team's innovative refund policy.

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

Years Played in USFL: 1983, 1984, 1985
Club Owner(s): Ron Blanding (1983), R. Douglas Spedding (1984-85)
Playing Site: Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado.
Head Coach(es): Red Miller (1983, fired during season); Charley Armey (1983, interim);
Craig Morton (1983-84); "Mouse" Davis (1985)
Overall Record: 27-28-0 (27-27-0 regular season)
. .

Year Head Coach W L T Pct. Finish Post-Season Notes
1983 Red Miller 4 7 0 .364 Didn't Fired During Season
- Charley Armey 0 1 0 .000 Didn't Interim Coach
- Craig Morton 3 3 0 .500 3rd, Pacific Div. Failed to Qualify
1984 Craig Morton 9 9 0 .500 Pacific Div. Failed to Qualify
1985 Darrell "Mouse" Davis 11 7 0 .611 Western Conf. Lost Divisional Playoff
Team Totals 27 27 0 .500 --- -

Had the United States Football League comprised 12 owners like Denver Gold owner Ron Blanding, odds are the league would be in existence today as a viable spring pro football league.  Blanding, a Colorado real estate developer, took David Dixon's gameplan for the USFL to heart, extensively marketing the team in the Denver area while at the same time spending like a miser in areas where it wasn't necessary.
The team had Larry Canada, Joe Gilliam, and future San Francisco 49ers running back Harry Sydney on their roster for name players, and that was about it when it came to marketability.  But the marketing and promotion worked like a charm for the Gold, who boasted the league's best attendance despite a 7-11-0 record and Blanding's firing of enormously popular head coach Red Miller after a 4-7-0 start.  Though he replaced Miller with popular former Denver Bronco quarterback Craig Morton, the results on the field were roughly the same.

The Denver Gold on the field weren't winners in 1983, but Blanding had won what he considered a greater victory - at the bank.  When all was said and done after the league's first year, Blanding could make a distinction that no other USFL owner could - his Gold had made a profit.  The way Blanding saw it, that was most important.  He was a happy USFL owner.

Blanding became even happier when Doug Spedding, a regionally-known auto dealer, approached him about buying the Gold after 1983.  Seeing that other USFL teams were getting reckless in their spending habits and not wishing to join them in that endeavor, Blanding came to terms with Spedding and sold the team for $10 million - making another profit as he walked out the door.

The 1984 Denver Gold were a competitive team in a relatively weak USFL Pacific Division.  Using five different quarterbacks during the course of the season, Craig Morton proved inneffective at building the Gold into a winner, going 9-9-0.  The team finished one game behind the L.A. Express and Arizona Wranglers in the division, just missing the playoffs.  Attendance had dipped but was still near an average of 35,000 per game.  RB Harry Sydney rushed for 961 yards and 10 touchdowns in one of the few exceptional performances on a team that otherwise remained relatively colorless compared to their USFL brethren.  After the season, Spedding and Morton parted company, with Darrell "Mouse" Davis being brought in from the Houston Gamblers in an effort to get the Gold in the playoffs in 1985.

But just as the Gold were establishing themselves as a product worth watching by Denver football fans, the owners of the USFL cut the rug out from under them.  The announcement that the league was switching to a fall schedule in 1986 had an immediate, devastating impact on the Gold.  Denver had grown to like the Gold, but they adored their NFL Denver Broncos, and given the choice of one or the other in the fall, they were sticking with the Broncos.  Doug Spedding saw his $10 million investment go up in flames in 1985 as attendance dropped by an average of nearly 20,000 fans per game, despite fielding a team that finally reached the USFL playoffs, going 11-7-0.  The Gold, who just two years earlier were given the privilege of hosting the inaugural USFL Championship Game due to their attendance figures, wound up playing on the road in the 1985 playoffs against the Memphis Showboats, a lower-seeded team, because their attendance had become so bad.  

In their final game the Gold were thrashed by the Showboats, 48-7.  After the season Spedding, having lost millions thanks to the decision to move the USFL to the fall, decided to merge his team with the Jacksonville Bulls (which had among the league's best attendance figures in 1985) in an effort to salvage at least some of his investment.  The USFL v. NFL verdict drove the final nail in the coffin however - the USFL, and the Denver Gold, were both dead.


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