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May 11 - The United States Football League announces its formation at "21" in New York City.

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May 11 - Texas gets its first USFL franchise as the Houston Gamblers are announced as a new club for the 1984 season.
July 11 - Deciding that the Houston Gamblers needed a natural rival and figuring that they'd be hard pressed to deny his application based on his wherewithall, the USFL awards a franchise to Clinton Manges in San Antonio.
September 6 - The 'Slingers add 36 players to their roster via the USFL Expansion Draft, selecting three players from each of the league's 12 charter franchises.

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January 4 - The Gunslingers, who have the third overall pick in the 1984 USFL Draft, trade the pick to Chicago, in part reportedly because owner Clinton Manges doesn't want to pay the market rate for a first round draft choice.
February 26 - The Gunslinger era kicks off in front of 18,233 fans at Alamo Stadium, who watch the hometown team fall at the hands of the New Orleans Breakers, 13-10.

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Gunslingers timeline, visit the
Timeline of the USFL

Years Played in USFL: 1984, 1985
Club Owner(s): Clinton Manges
Playing Site: Alamo Stadium, San Antonio Texas
Head Coach(es): Gil Steinke (1984); Jim Bates (1985), Gil Steinke (1985)
Overall Record: 12-24-0
. .

Year Head Coach W L T Pct. Finish Post-Season Notes
1984 Gil Steinke 7 11 0 .389 3rd, Central Div. Failed to Qualify
1985 Jim Bates 3 9 0 .250 5th, Western Conf. Resigned During Season
- Gil Steinke 2 4 0 .333 6th, Western Conf. Failed to Qualify
Team Totals 12 24 0 .333 --- -

Simply put, the San Antonio Gunslingers should never have existed, and had the powers that be in the USFL known what was in store for them when choosing who would join them among the ranks of the league's owners, there's no way they would have.  As it turned out however, the Gunslingers did provide one benefit to the league - comedy.
Not that San Antonio was a bad town for football during the early 1980's, quite the opposite, in fact, but it wasn't quite ready at the time to support a USFL franchise - and it certainly wasn't ready for a franchise the likes of which Texas oil magnate Clinton Manges operated.  While original USFL franchises were allegedly required to be capitalized with $6 million, the Gunslingers didn't come anywhere near meeting such a standard - when it came to the 'Slingers, Manges squeezed quarters until the eagles screamed, leaving a trail of bounced checks and screwy stories along the way.

How cheap was Manges?  Well, rather than play at a more modern facility that might cost an extra few bucks, Manges chose for the Gunslingers to play their home games at Alamo Stadium.  Not to be confused with today's Alamodome, Alamo Stadium was a nice, cozy high school facility that had a capacity of roughly 18,000.  Seating was increased to 32,000 and new AstroTurf was put in at the league's urging, but they needn't have bothered - the Gunslingers drew 18,233 for their 1984 home debut against the New Orleans Breakers, and only cracked the 20,000 mark in attendance once that season, in a Week 14 match-up against the Denver Gold.

Rather than make an initial investment in the team as other owners did, Manges appeared to simply pay expenses out of pocket as they arose - which in 1984 worked out fine, but when oil prices fell and Manges' money dried up like a tapped out well, players were literally taking their lives into their hands in an effort to outrace one another to a bank that would cash their payroll checks - on those rare occasions when they actually got them.  Players, stiffed out of their paychecks, resorted to trading tickets for food and staying with fans because they couldn't afford to pay rent on their own apartments.  Team President Bud Haun at one point bailed out a window of the Gunslingers "offices" - a double-wide trailer parked at the stadium - to avoid coaches who were looking for their pay.  Jim Bates, who was made the team's head coach for the 1985 season, told his players he'd quit if they weren't paid by a certain date.  They weren't, and to his credit, he walked, forcing 1984 coach Gil Steinke to return and run out the string.

Ineptitude and bizarre situations were also hallmarks of the Gunslinger organization.  The team on the field wasn't ever confused with the cross-state Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, losing precisely two games for every one it won during its two year existence.  But the on-field exploits of the 'Slingers are overshadowed by the things that happened off the field.

Before he died in 2006, USFL Director of Operations Peter Hadhazy recalled a member of the team's front office asking the head size of every player in the league, thinking that the team would have to provide visiting teams with helmets... members of the local press were banished from the press box over petty issues, a player was deemed "out" for one game because he got his penis caught in his foot locker... checks bounced like racquetballs... the league twice threatened to revoke the franchise (and in the end, after the 1985 season had concluded, actually did so)... think up the most odd thing you can imagine happening to a football team, and it probably at one point or another happened with the Gunslingers.

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