Pittsburgh Maulers

 Pittsburgh Maulers 

Maulers Timeline

1984

Pittsburgh Team Creation

No one was surprised when two groups filed for a Pittsburgh franchise in the winter of 1983. DeBartolo, Sr. was one of them a considerable surprise, given his son's ownership of the 49ers. However, once he did apply, the other owners knew that he would lend the upstart league instant credibility and quickly approved his bid. Unusually, DeBartolo applied for the franchise in his own name rather than setting up a corporation or partnership. In fact, the NFL itself was threatening an investigation over a possible Cleveland Spiders style conflict of interest due to the father owning a USFL team and the son owning an NFL team, an accusation both father and son insisted was not the case.
1984

Season in a Capsule

The Maulers opened their season with a March 11, 1984 sellout crowd at Three Rivers Stadium facing the Birmingham Stallions team with former longtime Terry Bradshaw backup and 1983 starting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Cliff Stoudt. Stoudt had his former fans pelt him with snowballs and ice during the game. It would be the team's only sellout. The team finished 3–15, tying the Washington Federals for the worst record in the league. However, while undermanned, they were not nearly as bad as their record indicated. They were in part victims of a very tough schedule. They played nine games against playoff teams and caught a lot of the other teams when they were hot Oklahoma and New Orleans early and San Antonio and Jacksonville late.
1984

Bulit Around Carano

The team was built around the idea that Dallas Cowboys longtime third-string QB Glenn Carano would be a strong starter in the USFL. To support Carano, the team had RB Mike Rozier and WR Greg Anderson, who caught 63 passes. Carano had his moments but he struggled overall, completing only 53.7% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Backup Tom Rozantz was expected to mostly carry a clipboard, but he ended up playing a lot and he struggled as well. However, either would have been a disappointment, as most fans expected the Maulers to pick Steve Young rather than Mike Rozier. Even bringing in former Arizona Wranglers star WR Jackie Flowers did not turn around the offense. Head coach Joe Pendry was fired ten games into the season and he was replaced by offensive line coach Ellis Rainsberger on an interim basis. The defense, led by CB Jerry Holmes and DE Sam Clancy finished a respectable eighth in points allowed. In spite of this, they were hobbled by a low-octane offense.
1984

Hiring Bullough

Despite losing millions of dollars and only winning three games, the Maulers were competitive in most games and they had reasonable fan support at least by USFL standards for an expansion team. DeBartolo was determined to stick it out, even going as far as hiring Hank Bullough away from the Green Bay Packers to become the new head coach.
1985

USFL Fold - Maulers Outlook

However, just a few days after Bullough's hiring, the USFL voted to switch to a fall schedule in 1986. DeBartolo was a strong believer in the USFL's original spring football concept, and he knew the Maulers could not hope to go head-to-head against the Steelers. A move to Cleveland, closer to DeBartolo's home in Youngstown, was quickly ruled out; even without the daunting task of going head-to-head with the Cleveland Browns to consider, it is not likely that Cleveland fans would have accepted a refugee from Pittsburgh. As a result, just a week after the vote to move to the fall, DeBartolo folded the franchise without so much as a press conference. The league's abandonment of Pittsburgh was later cited as a factor in the USFL losing its antitrust suit against the NFL; although it technically won, the jury only awarded it $3 in damages.

Team Information Team History
 

City:
Pittsburgh

Nickname:
Maulers - A heavy, long-handled hammer used especially to drive stakes, piles, or wedges.

Stadium:
Three Rivers Stadium
1983 - 1984

Owner:
Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr.
1983 - 1984

Coaches:
Hank Bullough (never coached)
1985
Ellis Rainsberger (1 wins - 7 losses)
1984
Joe Pendry (2 wins - 8 losses)
1983

 

 

Established: 1983

Original USFL Team: No

Final USFL Team: No

Team's Final Outlook: DeBartolo was a strong believer in the USFL's original spring football concept, and he knew the Maulers could not hope to go head-to-head against the Steelers. A move to Cleveland, closer to DeBartolo's home in Youngstown, was quickly ruled out; even without the daunting task of competing with the Cleveland Browns to consider, it is not likely that Cleveland fans would have accepted a refugee from Pittsburgh. As a result, just a week after the vote to move to the fall, DeBartolo folded the franchise without so much as a press conference.

League History:
United States Football League
1983 - 1984

Team History:
Pittsburgh Maulers
1983 - 1984

Accomplishments:
Averaged 22,858 fans (60,043 seat stadium)

  *Red is this team's history

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