|Based in||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1983-84)|
Baltimore, Maryland (1985), United States
|Home field||Veterans Stadium (1983-84) |
Franklin Field(1984 Post Season)
Byrd Stadium (1985)
|Division||Atlantic Division (1983-84) |
Eastern Division (1985)
|Team History||Philadelphia Stars (1983-84)|
Baltimore Stars (1985)
|Team Colors||Crimson, Old Gold, White
|Head coaches||1983-5 Jim Mora (48-14-1)|
|USFL Championships||1984, 1985|
|Conference championships||1983, 1984, 1985|
The Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars were a professional American football team which played in the United States Football League in the mid-1980s. They were owned by real estate magnate Myles Tanenbaum. They were the league's dominant team, playing in all three championship games and winning two of them.
The Stars began in Philadelphia in the 1983 season. They played their home games at Veterans Stadium (the "Vet"), compiled the league's best regular season record (15-3), and made it to the 1983 USFL championship game before losing. The 1983 squad's "Doghouse Defense" allowed only 204 points in an 18 game season—the least in the history of the league. They were led by fourth-year QB Chuck Fusina (1978 Heisman Trophy runner-up), fifth-year WR Scott Fitzkee, Rookie HB Kelvin Bryant of UNC, Rookie OT Irv Eatman of UCLA, Rookie LB Sam Mills, and second-year S Scott Woerner. The team also featured TSN all-star rookie punter Sean Landeta.
The Stars were able to defeat the preseason favorites to win the 1983 title—George Allen's Chicago Blitz—by withstanding 7 turnovers and coming back from 21 down in the fourth quarter to win 44-38 in overtime. In the league title game, the Stars were edged out by Jim Stanley's Michigan Panthers, 24-22. Just as they had against the Blitz, the Stars opened the game sluggishly, but finished with a flourish, after allowing the Panthers to carry a 17-3 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Stars' solid season led some to suggest that they could have been a fairly competitive NFL team, along with Michigan and Chicago. The fact this comparison was even being made gave the USFL much-needed credibility.
They remained in Philadelphia for the 1984 season, but were forced to relocate postseason home games to Franklin Field due to a conflict with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Stars roared through the regular season with the league best (16-2) record, and routed George Allen's Arizona Wranglers, 23-3 for the league title. The Stars played Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium in an exhibition game on July 21, 1984.
The league's owners, led by Donald Trump (New Jersey Generals), voted to move play to the fall after the 1985 season. Although the Stars had a strong following, Tanenbaum knew he couldn't hope to compete with the Philadelphia Eagles and moved the team to Baltimore. Unfortunately, he was unable to get a lease for Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. As a condition of the settlement between the city and the NFL's Colts after the Colts moved to Indianapolis, no pro football team could play at Memorial Stadium until 1986. Tanenbaum was forced to play at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium in College Park, 40 miles south of Baltimore and in fact closer to Washington. Meanwhile, the team continued to practice in Philadelphia.
At least in part due to all the moving, the Stars struggled in 1985. Still, they qualified for the playoffs as a wild card and managed to get back to the finals. Once there the Stars again won the USFL title beating the Bobby Hebert-led Oakland Invaders in what was seen as a rematch of the first USFL title game.
The Stars are widely acknowledged to have been the best team to see the field in USFL history. The Stars won 41 of 54 regular season games and 7 of 8 post-season affairs. For the entire tenure of the team, they were coached by Jim Mora (Sr), who later became a head coach in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. (In his NFL career Mora has a claim to fame as being the first coach to lead the Saints to a winning season.) Carl Peterson, who later became the President/General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City Chiefs, served as the team's General Manager for all three seasons.
Bart Oates, drafted by the New York Giants in 1985, went on to win three Super Bowl rings throughout his NFL career. He won two with the Giants in 1986 and 1990, and one with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994. Oates was selected to five Pro Bowls during his career and to the UPI All-NFC team three times. He was extremely durable, starting 125 consecutive games during his Giants career.
Single season leaders
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|1983||15||3||0||1st Atlantic||Won Semifinal (Chicago)|
Lost USFL Championship (Michigan)
|1984||16||2||0||1st EC Atlantic||Won Quarterfinal (New Jersey)|
Won Semifinal (Birmingham)
Won USFL Championship (Arizona)
|1985||10||7||1||4th EC||Won Quarterfinal (New Jersey)|
Won Semifinal (Birmingham)
Won USFL Championship (Oakland)