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That Time When the USFL Went Global in 1984

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Long before NFL Europe, the International Series and the European League of American Football - a nascent rival to the football empire accepted an offer to spread the gospel of the great game to foreign shores when the Philadelphia Stars and the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League met on the gridiron on July 21, 1984 at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The showdown occurred than a week after the Stars won the USFL Championship Game for the second year in a row. They traveled to England to take on the Bandits in an exhibition game at Wembley Stadium and Philly were crowned once again 24-21 in a battle for the second annual trophy known as The Jetsave Challenge Cup.

While the game was reviewed as rather a generic showing for both sides the teams had just come off of a long USFL season that stretched out over 18 weeks plus playoffs. As such, the 21,000 fans who gathered only got a glimpse of the star players like Philly's running back Kelvin Bryant as mostly subs and second stringers got the start on that day. Still, the game went a long way to bring awareness of gridiron to Great Britain. Now that the USFL is returning to American shores in 2022 we are pretty convinced that British and other foreign ballers will get a shot to make a name for themselves in the new league. Because, it's looking like a crowded field is coming soon with even more alternative and spring leagues throwing their hat in the ring and the circle of American Football remains unbroken.

Related Links: For more information on the original USFL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - USFL on Wiki


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