Why wait for the silver anniversary? A look back at the Washington Federals


We’re the Fighting Federals
We’re gonna march down the field and score!
We’ll bring victory to Washington,
And watch the Eagle soar!

We’re the Fighting Federals,
We’ve got our hearts on the line.
When you back the Fighting Federals,
You back a winner every time!

– author unknown, introduced 1984

Twenty-three years ago today a new professional football league, the USFL, debuted with the Chicago Blitz playing the Washington Federals. The inaugural game, an ABC national telecast, was played right here in Washington at RFK Stadium before over 30,000 fans. It would be the high point for spring football in the District.

A 28-7 loss in the opening game set the tone for the franchise. The team would go on to lose 28 more games over two seasons in D.C., finishing with a lifetime record of 7 – 29 before moving to Orlando. Prize acquisition, former SMU star (and current ESPN college football analyst) Craig James would spend more time injured than on the field. It also rained during almost every home game. As for the USFL, well, the league folded in 1986 after an attempt to move to a fall schedule, along with a $1.69 billion lawsuit against the NFL, backfired.

Want to learn more? A good start is The Unofficial Revival Site of the USFL’s Washington Federals. Other sites include This is the USFL and Oursportscentral’s Federals page.

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.