Football's USFL and Tampa Bay Bandits revived for 2022


TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Bandits, perhaps the most beloved franchise in the United States Football League, are one of eight teams in the new USFL that will launch next year.

Fox Sports is a partner in the USFL and will show games. Colin Cowherd, a former Tampa sportscaster and now host of "The Herd" on 95.3 WDAE and other stations nationwide, rolled out team names and locations in his Monday show.

The Bandits will be one of eight teams in the new league, along with the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Pittsburgh Maulers.

The original Bandits played from 1983 to 1985 and often drew crowds that would rival the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were then entering a multi-year streak of double-digit losing seasons. They were coached by Steve Spurrier, who was a former University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner who went on to great success as Florida's head coach in the 90s. He built "Banditball" around explosive offenses, the predecessors to his "Fun n' Gun" approach at Florida. His quarterback was John Reaves, formerly of Tampa Robinson High School and, like Spurrier, a Gator.

Games were broadcast on "97" WFLA, and the team's play by play voices included two very familiar to Tampa Bay residents... Gene Deckerhoff and Jack Harris.

Get caught up on the history of the Bandits at the links below:

Photo: Canva


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