NEW YORK -- The United States Football League, revealing a sketchy game plan but plenty of cash, Tuesday introduced the 12 teams it claims will open the inaugural season in the spring of 1983.
The USFL, which hopes to play 20 games from March to June and cap the season with a championship game on July 4, is the latest challenger to the NFL -- which is still recuperating from last Friday's jury decision ruling in favor of Oakland owner Al Davis in his efforts to move his franchise to the Los Angeles Coliseum.
'We are providing 'the other season' in professional football,' said acting USFL chairman Peter Spivak. 'The birth of this new league represents one of the finest chapters ever written in professional football.'
Spivak said league owners have pledged to commit more than $100 million over the next two years to ensure the success of the USFL, whose headquarters will be in New York.
He said the league's owners are business leaders with the 'financial resources, personal reputation and accomplishments that are equal to any group of professional sports team owners in existence today.'
Among the USFL's owners are league founder David Dixon (Chicago), a co-founder of World Championship Tennis with Lamar Hunt and an instrumental figure in bringing professional football to New Orleans in the NFL.
'Just like in real estate, where the most important thing is location, location, location, in a new league the most important considerations are owners, owners, owners,' said Dixon. 'There's no question our owners have sufficient economic strength behind them.'
Plans call for the teams to play in the following stadiums: Boston in Harvard Stadium; Birmingham in Legion Field; Chicago in Soldier Field; Denver in Mile High Stadium; Detroit in Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome; Los Angeles in the Coliseum; New York in a 'major' New York City area stadium; Philadelphia in Franklin Field or Veterans Stadium; San Diego in Jack Murphy Stadium; San Francisco in a 'major' Bay Area stadium; Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay Stadium and Washington in RFK Stadium.
One questioner, referring to the NFL union's demand for 55 percent of the gross revenues for the players, asked Spivak how the profits are to be shared.
'With glee,' Spivak quipped before trying to patch up the many holes in the USFL presentation.
Spivak said league owners have or will receive within the next 30 days coaching commitments from 'well-known coaches who established winning records in college and professional football, but declined to reveal any names.
Spivak, co-owner of the Detroit franchise, cited a study conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., which found an 'overwhelming' public interest to view football games during the spring and early summer.' But neither Spivak nor league media negotiator Michael Trager were specific on details concerning USFL television coverage.
'There are no TV commitments made at this time,' said Trager, former vice president-sports of NBC Television. 'We are in the process of exploring every possible mix, including radio.'
Perhaps the most nebulous aspect of the proposed league is how the USFL will stock its 12 rosters. According to the league, the USFL's territorial draft will be 'based on a computer study of the colleges attended by professional football's most recent draft choices ... in addition, current NFL players may find the unique concept of the USFL appealing and it is expected that a number of quality professional football players will choose the USFL.'
Does that mean the new league plans to raid NFL stars -- as Davis himself attempted in the American Football League during the mid-1960s?
'We're gonna get the best players we can in the best manner we can,' said Spivak.'