Orlando Renegades

 Orlando Renegades

Renegades Timeline


Washington Team Creation

The Renegades started out in 1983 as the Washington Federals and played in Washington, D.C.'s Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium under the ownership of prominent Washington attorney Berl Bernhard. The team lured Ray Jauch to be its head coach; he had previously guided the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to success in the Canadian Football League. At the time he was the fourth-winningest coach in CFL history.

Season in a Capsule

The Federals finished 4-14, tied for the worst record in the league. However, they were far more competitive than their record indicated. Eight of their losses were by a touchdown or less. They had a fair amount of offensive talent and skill players with comparatively good depth. More than any other team in the league, the Federals seemed dogged by inconsistency, bad timing, and terrible luck. A week before the season even began, their player personnel expert bolted to the NFL's New York Jets. The first game in franchise history was a portent of things to come; the Federals were drilled at RFK 28-7 by the Chicago Blitz, the preseason title favorites coached by former Washington Redskins coach George Allen. The game was played on March 6, 1983, just five weeks after the Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. Washington-area fans largely viewed the Federals with indifference. They only averaged 13,800 fans per game (in a 56,000-seat stadium). However, their marketing efforts were severely crippled by the Redskins' Super Bowl victory.

Season Recap

Despite losing millions, Bernhard was committed to sticking it out. There were a lot of reasons for optimism. In spite of the tremendous number of on field mistakes in 1983, the team had played with heart under Jauch, taking better teams down to the wire even at the end of the season. With just a few lucky breaks the Federals might have been almost a .500 team and at best, a 12-6 team in 1983. They had started the season 1-13, but had finished strongly going 3-1 in the last 4 games of the season. It appeared that the Federals had finally learned how to turn a close game into a win. With the league-wide talent pool expected to be stretched out due to expansion, the schedule seemed likely to be littered with a number of very winnable games. With McQuilken's post-season retirement, the team had an undisputed and seemingly capable starter at QB in Hohensee. The Birmingham Stallions' acquisition of Cliff Stoudt made their quarterback Reggie Collier available and the Federals added him for depth alongside Hohensee and rookie Lou Pagley. Star HB Craig James was healthy. It seemed like the pitfalls that Jauch had fallen into in the first season might be missed this time around. Player familiarity with the system and their teammates and having a proven winner like Jauch as a coach suggested the Federals were bound to deliver better results in 1984. Support was almost nonexistent; they only averaged 7,700 fans per game in 1984 (including a crowd of 4,432 against the Memphis Showboats), the worst per-game attendance in league history. With little fan turnout and James' frequent injuries, both the Federals and James were motivated to end their relationship. A little over a month into the season, James was given his release to allow him to sign with the NFL's Patriots. It took the Federals nine games to finally win. Among their season low lights were two losses to the expansion Pittsburgh Maulers. The Federals finished 3-15, tied with the Maulers for the worst record in the league.

Move to Orlando

With six games left in the season, Bernhard (who once called the Federals "trained gerbils") gave up and sold the Federals to Florida real estate developer Woody Weiser, who announced plans to move the Federals to Miami. Weiser quickly signed up Howard Schnellenberger as the new coach after the season ended.

In Orlando

The Renegades played at the Citrus Bowl. Lee Corso was hired as coach. Corso had a clear plan for the team. He decided to build around the very raw 3rd year QB Reggie Collier. After starting out looking much like the 1984 Federals, the Renegades were fairly competitive in their remaining 12 games as the mobile and talented Collier, who had been an abysmal failure in Birmingham and Washington in his first 2 seasons, began to develop. Collier later went on to briefly play for the Dallas Cowboys. In 1985, in addition to Collier, the team's offense featured running back Curtis Bledsoe and WR Joey Walters.

USFL Fold - Renegades Outlook

The Renegades were one of 8 teams selected to continue operations when the USFL elected to switch to a fall schedule in 1986, but the entire league collapsed before any fall games were played.

Team Information Team History

Washington D.C. - Orlando

Renegades - A person who deserts and betrays a set of principles.

Citrus Bowl Stadium

Washington D.C.
RFK Stadium
1983 - 1984

Donald Dizney

Berl Bernhard
1983 - 1984

Lee Corso (5 wins - 13 losses)

Dick Bielski (3 wins - 14 losses)
Ray Jauch (4 wins - 15 losses)
1983 - 1984


Established: 1983

Original USFL Team: Yes

Final USFL Team: Yes

Team's Final Outlook: The Renegades were one of 8 teams selected to continue operations when the USFL elected to switch to a fall schedule in 1986, but the entire league collapsed before any fall games were played.

League History:
United States Football League
1983 - 1985

Team History:
Orlando Renegades

Washington Federals
1983 - 1984

Averaged 24,136 (50,050 seat stadium)

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