9 8 2
11 - The USFL announces its intention to play
spring football beginning in 1983. Among
the league's charter franchises is one based in
Washington D.C., which would eventually be known
as the Federals.
9 8 4
9 - With the Washington Federals not competitive
on the field and losing money at the gate,
majority partner Berl Bernhard sells the team to
Sherwood "Woody" Weiser, effective at
the end of the 1984 season. Weiser intends
to relocate the franchise to Miami for 1985.
22 - The USFL's owners vote to move to a fall
season of play beginning with the 1986
season. Two days later, Sherwood Weiser
walks away from his purchase of the Feds.
1 - Donald Dizney, a limited partner of the
Tampa Bay Bandits, acquires the Federals,
intending to relocate the franchise to Orlando,
Florida for 1985.
see the rest of the
Renegades timeline, visit the
Timeline of the USFL
Played in USFL:
Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
the course of a ten day span, the United
States Football League had a franchise
that was located in Washington, D.C., but
headed for Miami after the 1984 season,
only to have the buyer back out, a new
buyer step in, and the team headed for
Orlando instead of Miami for 1985.
Confused? Well, perhaps you won't be after
you read this, the story of how Orlando's
Renegades came to be.
suffered a 4-14-0 inaugural season and in the
middle of an even worse 3-15-0 campaign, Berl
Bernhard had given up on trying to convince fans
in the nation's capital that his Federals were
worth supporting. The NFL's Redskins had won
a league championship in 1982, and the luster of
that title had far from worn off. The Feds
meanwhile were getting outdrawn at the gate by the
Washington Capitals hockey team. It was time
to make a change.
Enter Sherwood "Woody" Weiser, a Florida
real estate developer who wanted to bring the USFL
to Miami. Over the course of some weeks, Weiser
and Bernhard negotiated a deal whereby Weiser
would pay $5.5 million for the franchise,
relocating it to Miami for the 1985 season.
At a May 9th owners meeting, the deal received the
unanimous approval of the USFL's other owners, and
the league looked foward to a Miami franchise,
some even speculating that the team would host a
championship game there someday. But
before the deal could be done, it was done away
with. On August 22, 1984, the league's
owners, against the advice of a firm they
themselves had commissioned to study the
possibility, elected to move to a fall schedule
beginning in 1986.
Weiser was floored. What the hell was this
all about? There was no way Weiser was going
to go head to head with the NFL's Dolphins in the
Miami market. Weiser called Bernhard:
the deal was off.
Upon learning that Weiser had backed out however,
a new face emerged in the form of Tampa Bay
Bandits limited partner Donald Dizney: would
Bernhard sell to him under the same terms?
Bernhard quickly closed the deal, and on September
1, 1984 it was announced that Dizney had brought
the USFL to Orlando.
Unfortunately, the Renegades of 1985 bore a
striking resemblance in many ways to the Federals
of 1983-84. Colorful Lee Corso was brought
in as the head coach, but a much-needed complete
overhaul of the roster wasn't effected,
contributing to the team's 5-13-0 showing in its
only season. Attendance in Orlando was below
25,000 per game, which particularly stung
considering that the 'Gades drew well against
their I-4 rival Tampa Bay Bandits.
Nevertheless, Dizney was prepared to go forward
with a second season in Orlando - a fall season in
which the Renegades, unlike the Bandits, would
have no direct local competition - when the USFL
v. NFL verdict was announced. Within
days the 1986 season was cancelled, and the
Renegades were scalped.