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March 13 - The Wranglers win their first game over the Chicago Blitz, 30-29, on a Jim Asmus field goal with :01 remaining.
May 1 - The Wranglers lose to the Oakland Invaders, 34-20.  Though at 4-5-0 the team is tied for the Pacific Division lead - but the Invader loss is the first of ten consecutive defeats to close out the team's inaugural season.
September 30 - Jim Joseph sells the Wranglers to former Chicago Blitz owner Dr. Ted Diethrich as part of a "trade" of franchises - the 1983 Wranglers in essence become the 1984 Blitz, while the 1983 Chicago Blitz become the "new" Arizona Wranglers.  The teams also switch their order in the 1984 USFL draft.

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January 4 - With the 5th overall pick in the USFL draft (acquired from the expansion Houston Gamblers), the Wranglers select DE Keith Millar of Washington State.  With its regular selection at #16, the Wranglers select UCLA Defensive Back Lupe Sanchez. 

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Enter Dr. Ted Diethrich, the Phoenix cardiovascular surgeon and founder of the Arizona Heart Institute, who had a year earlier been awarded the Chicago franchise.  Like Joseph, Diethrich's Chicago Blitz werent' faring well at the gate despite the presence of head coach George Allen and players such as former NFL'er Greg Landry and rookies like running back Tim Spencer and wide receiver Trumaine Johnson.  The Blitz average attendance was just over 18,000 in 1983, bad news for a team that had made the USFL's playoffs.

Diethrich hadn't given up on the concept of spring football however, and when he learned that Joseph was planning to sell the Wranglers, the thought of the doctor owning his hometown team held immediate appeal.  Diethrich's idea was unusual - a franchise "trade" where the 1983 Chicago Blitz would move, lock, stock and barrel, to Phoenix while the 1983 Arizona Wranglers would become the "new" Chicago Blitz.  The only problem was Diethrich's finding someone to buy the Blitz, but eventually he found his man in the form of a colleague, Milwaukee cardiovascular surgeon Dr. James Hoffman.  Diethrich sold the Blitz to Hoffman on September 29, and the following day it was announced that Joseph had sold the Wranglers to Diethrich and that the massive "trade" had taken place.

The 1984 Blitz, ehr, Wranglers head coach George Allen brought along a team that had fell just an overtime touchdown short of advancing to the USFL's title game the year before.  The "new" Wranglers of 1984 finished 10-8-0, tied with the L.A. Express for the Pacific Divison's best record.  Though the Express won the Pacific Division title on tiebreakers, the Wranglers made the playoffs as a wild-card, where they would face the expansion (but Central Division champion) Houston Gamblers in the first round of the playoffs.

In the playoffs, the Wranglers made a run that was reminiscent of the Cleveland Browns "Cardiac Kids" team of 1980.  Down 16-3 to the Gamblers with seven minutes left, the Wranglers scored a pair of touchdowns to capture victory and advance to the Western Conference championship game.  There, it took an even more Herculean effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring 21 points in the game's fourth quarter to overcome the L.A. Express and their rookie quarterback, Steve Young, 35-23.  USFL fans in Phoenix, who just a year earlier were lamenting a 4-14-0 squad, were going to see their team in the league's championship game.

Unfortunately for the Wranglers, Cinderella's slipper didn't fit in Tampa.  The Philadelphia Stars, who had lost the 1983 championship to the Michigan Panthers, promptly dismantled the Wranglers to win the 1984 USFL Championship.  The final score was 23-3, but it could just as easily have been 41-3:  the Stars turned the ball over three times, including twice in Arizona's "red zone."  Stars kicker David Trout had also missed both a field goal and an extra point.

Wranglers owner Ted Diethrich was shown on ABC's telecast pacing the sidelines of Tampa Stadium like a nervous cat, and one could surmise that the game's outcome wasn't the only thing he was happy about losing.  As in Chicago, Diethrich lost millions with the Wranglers.  Attendance figures from 1983 to 1984 were virtually unchanged, despite a much improved, more competitive team.  As with Jim Joseph before him, Dr. Ted Diethrich had had enough of the Arizona Wranglers.

As would the business transaction that brought Diethrich into his ownership of the Arizona Wranglers, the deal that took him out of the ownership picture was an unusual one, and one that, strangely, involved an owner that had originally intended to place his USFL team in San Diego.  William Tatham had been awarded a USFL expansion team for San Diego, to begin play in 1984.  As with the Harmon/Daniels tandem before him, he was ultimately denied access to Jack Murphy Stadium by the City of San Diego and was forced to relocate his team elsewhere, settling on Tulsa, where he set up shop as the Oklahoma Outlaws.  After just a year there Tatham was looking for a new home for the club.

After discussions between Tatham and Oakland Invaders owner Tad Taube regarding a potential merger between the Outlaws and Invaders fell apart, Ted Diethrich began negotiations that led to Tatham acquiring the assets of the Wranglers and relocating the Outlaws there for 1985.  While widely reported as a merger of the two clubs (and in some senses it was, as the Outlaws held Wrangler player contracts), it was technically an "acquisition of assets."  The Arizona Wranglers, born in Oakland, moved to Los Angeles as an infant and then again to Phoenix to grow up, were now dead.

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