Chicago Blitz United States Football League (1983-1984)
The Chicago Blitz were a team in the United States Football League (USFL), a short-lived competitor to the National Football League in the 1980’s. Backed by wealthy businessman like Donald Trump (among others), the USFL was surprisingly successful in its first few years, establishing successful franchises in several cities and producing legendary players like Herschel Walker and Reggie White. The Blitz were immediately expected to be one of the league’s best teams, thanks mostly to the presence of coach George Allen. Already a legend in the NFL both for his perfectionist nature and stellar results, Allen was a fiery workaholic (he regularly worked 16 hour days, sleeping in his office and subsisting off jars of peanut butter) who personally built the Blitz from the ground up. His efforts, including personally trying out 3,200 players in search of the best 40, were not in vain; the 1983 Blitz were so good that many observers suggested they could compete with an NFL team. Blitz players Trumaine Johnson, Tim Spencer, Kevin Long, Greg Landry, and Stan White all did go on to successful NFL careers. The Blitz made the playoffs in 1983 and barely lost to eventual champions Philadelphia Stars (also featured on UGP Classics). For all their on-field excellence, the Blitz never attracted many fans in Chicago. The Bears were beginning their rise to greatness under coach Mike Ditka, and the Blitz simply could not compete with the media attention the Bears commanded. After a strange “franchise swap”, where the Blitz owner swapped teams with the Arizona Wranglers, the Blitz went out of business in 1984.