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USFL Teams: Jacksonville Bulls

By Wikipedia

The Jacksonville Bulls were a team which competed in the final two seasons of the United States Football League, 1984 and 1985. They played their home games in the former Gator Bowl stadium.

At a glance...
Franchise Facts
Established 1984
Located Jacksonville, Florida
Owners Fred Bullard 
  W L T %
1984  6 12 0 .333
1985  9 9 0 .500
Jacksonville Bulls (1984-85)
Gator Bowl (80,200)

They played their home games in the former Gator Bowl stadium. The team was named "Bulls" in honor of the owner, Fred Bullard in a fan contest.1

See also: 1984 Bulls, 1985 Bulls

Former Miami Dolphins (and WFL) stars Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick were involved in an advertising campaign for the team, and apparently had at least a minor ownership interest as well. Larry Munson was hired as a radio play-by-play announcer. His very distinctive voice was already quite well-known in the Jacksonville area already due to his long association with both the University of Georgia Bulldogs college team and the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons.

The Bulls weren't a very good team in their first season (1984), going 6-12. Yet they were overwhelmed by their fan support, setting USFL attendance records. On one occasion, a huge crowd at the Gator Bowl patiently waited through a late-June downpour which postponed the game for more than an hour. When play finally started, the game was a blowout, ending in a 26-2 Jacksonville victory. The Bulls' second season (1985) was considerably better, ending with a 9-9 record - just one win short of a playoff spot.

Nothing could prevent the Bulls' demise, however, as the league itself made several fatal errors, the chief two of which were the plans to switch to a fall schedule effective with the 1986 season (which was never actually played) and the decision essentially to stake the league's future on the outcome of an anti-trust suit against the NFL. When the league technically won the suit but was awarded only $3 in damages, the Bulls were forced to fold, along with all of the other USFL teams, and they passed into history and the realm of what might have been.

Many Jacksonville football fans believe that the relative success of the Bulls in the USFL was what convinced the NFL to seriously consider awarding an expansion franchise to the city, even though it was a decade later. In 1995, the Jacksonville Jaguars began play in the National Football League.

The Bulls led the league in attendance in their inaugural season and were again one of the leaders in 1985. Their crowd of 73,227 on March 4, 1984, against the New Jersey Generals was the best in league history.

Gator Bowl

The Gator Bowl was home to the Bulls and the Jacksonville Sharks of the WFL.

This photo comes from the Florida Reference Collection and has image number Rc17852.

Bulls Single Season Leaders

Rushing Yards: 1361 (1985), Mike Rozier
Receiving Yards: 1118 (1985), Alton Alexis
Passing Yards: 2792 (1985), Ed Luther

USFL Bibliography
The $1 League: The Rise and Fall of the USFL by Jim Byrne
The Sporting News Official USFL Guide and Register, 1984
The Sporting News Official USFL Guide and Register, 1985
USFL Media Guides (each team published one each year)

Kickoff Magazine (published by league; 9 issues per year + playoffs; sold at games)
The Sporting News (regular coverage + special "preview" inserts)

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1. It is by no means certain that Jacksonville fans actually voted to call the team the "Bulls." This was Florida, after all.

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Image courtesy The Helmet Project

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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