Detroit’s Most Successful Pro Football Franchise Is Returning
Most sports fans, when quizzed, will tell you Detroit's last pro football title was in 1957 when the Lions beat the Browns. They would be wrong.
For those of you too young too remember, the glory days of Bobby Hebert, Anthony Carter and the exciting USFL Michigan Panthers was 1983, when the team won the first ever USFL championship.
And now the Panthers are returning.
It was announced by FOX Sports Monday, that the spring football league is returning in April 2022, and the Michigan Panthers will be one of eight original USFL franchises returning.
The others are the New Jersey Generals, the Philadelphia Stars and the Pittsburgh Maulers in the North Division. The Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits will compete in the South Division.
The inaugural season of the resurrected USFL will begin this spring with kickoff set for April. The teams will play all of their games in Birmingham's Protective Stadium, currently used by the University of Alabama-Birmingham's college team.
The following season, the league will hopefully move the teams to their respective cities. No word yet on where the Michigan team will play its home games. It id believed the NFL's Detroit Lions have exclusivity for the use of Ford Field, so they will not be playing there.
The original Panthers competed in the USFL from 1983-1985. They merged with the Oakland Invaders for the 1985 season, after the USFL decided to play in the fall, rather than the spring.
The team banked on the talents of Carter, a former UM star wide receiver, and Hebert, out of Northwestern State in Louisiana, who became known as the "Cajun Cannon" for his ability to throw the deep ball. Both would go on to star in the NFL after the original USFL disbanded.
Hebert with the New Orleans Saints in his home state, and Carter with the Miami Dolphins, and later, the Detroit Lions.
The season following their championship in 1984, the Panthers were eliminated from the 1985 playoffs by the Los Angeles Express, in the longest pro football game ever played, a three overtime thriller that ended 93 minutes after it kicked off when LA's Mel Gray scored a touchdown to give the Express a 27-21 win.
The original USFL folded in 1985 when it moved to the fall to try and compete with the NFL and failed. Many feel that had the league stayed in the spring, it may have been able to survive,
The new Michigan Panthers already have a Twitter feed up and running to get fans excited about the inaugural season.
The color scheme and Champagne, Plum and Silver will return, along with the Panther head logo.
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