Pittsburgh Maulers
USFL Maulers Maulers

Founded 1983
Folded October 26, 1984[1]
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
League USFL
Division Atlantic Division
Team History Pittsburgh Maulers (1983-1984)
Team Colors Purple, Renaissance Red, Gray, White


Head coaches Joe Pendry (2-8)
Ellis Rainsberger (interim) (1-7)
Owner(s) Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr.

The Pittsburgh Maulers competed in the 1984 season of the United States Football League. Their most prominent player was first pick overall in the 1984 USFL draft, running back Mike Rozier of Nebraska, who won the Heisman Trophy, collegiate football's most prestigious individual award.

They were owned by shopping mall magnate Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr., the father of Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., then-owner of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. The Maulers played at Three Rivers Stadium.

1984 SeasonEdit

No one was surprised when two groups filed for a Pittsburgh franchise in the winter of 1983. DeBartolo, Sr. was one of them--a considerable surprise, given his son's ownership of the 49ers. However, once he did apply, the other owners knew that he would lend the upstart league instant credibility and quickly approved his bid. Unusually, DeBartolo applied for the franchise in his own name rather than setting up a corporation or partnership. In fact, the NFL itself was threatening an investigation over a possible Cleveland Spiders-style conflict of interest due to the father owning a USFL team and the son owning an NFL team, an accusation both father and son insisted was not the case.[1]

The Maulers finished 3-15, tying the Washington Federals for the worst record in the league. However, while undermanned, they were not nearly as bad as their record indicated. They were in part victims of a very tough schedule. They played nine games against playoff teams and caught a lot of the other teams when they were hot --- Oklahoma and New Orleans early and San Antonio and Jacksonville late.

The team was built around the idea that Dallas Cowboys long time third-string QB Glenn Carano would be a strong starter in the USFL. To support Carano, the team had RB Mike Rozier and WR Greg Anderson, who caught 63 passes. Carano had his moments but he struggled overall, completing only 53.7% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Backup Tom Rozantz was expected to mostly carry a clipboard, but he ended up playing a lot and he struggled as well. However, either would have been a disappointment, as most fans expected the Maulers to pick Steve Young rather than Mike Rozier. Even bringing in former Arizona Wranglers star WR Jackie Flowers did not turn around the offense. Head coach Joe Pendry was fired ten games into the season and he was replaced by offensive line coach Ellis Rainsberger on an interim basis. The defense, led by CB Jerry Holmes and DE Sam Clancy finished a respectable eighth in points allowed. In spite of this, they were hobbled by a low-octane offense.

1984 Pittsburgh Maulers RosterEdit

Pittsburgh Maulers rosterview · talk · edit
  •      7 Rich Salzer

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Duplicate numbers listed due to roster movement during the season
-- = roster number information unavailable

Vote for a fall schedule kills franchiseEdit

Despite losing millions of dollars and only winning three games, the Maulers were competitive in most games and they had reasonable fan support for a first year team. DeBartolo was determined to stick it out, even going as far as hiring Hank Bullough away from the Buffalo Bills to become the new head coach.

However, just a few days later the USFL announced that they were switching to a fall schedule in 1986. DeBartolo was a strong believer in the USFL's original spring football concept, and he knew he could not hope to compete with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A move to Cleveland, closer to DeBartolo's home in Youngstown, was quickly ruled out; even without the daunting task of competing with the Cleveland Browns to consider, it is not likely that Cleveland fans would have accepted a refugee from Pittsburgh. As a result, just a week after the vote to move to the fall DeBartolo folded the franchise without so much as a press conference.

Single season leadersEdit

Rushing Yards: 792 (1984), Mike Rozier
Receiving Yards: 994 (1984), Greg Anderson
Passing Yards: 2368 (1984), Glenn Carano
Kick/Punt Return Yards 1306 (1984) Mark Poindexter

Season-by-season Edit

{1984} 3 - 15


External linksEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.