The team that would eventually become the Arizona Wranglers was originally supposed to be the USFL’s Los Angeles franchise. The team’s planned original owner, Alex Spanos, pulled out of his USFL commitment and instead bought a minority stake in the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. The owners of the Oakland Invaders, Bay Area real estate executives Jim Joseph and Tad Taube, ...
Joseph lost millions of dollars in the 1983 season. Like most of the other owners, he’d bought into the league knowing to expect years of losses. However, he was disappointed in the team’s attendance and unwilling to stick it out in Arizona. In a stroke of luck for Joseph, Chicago Blitz owner Dr. Ted Diethrich (a Phoenix resident and founder ...
Despite making it to the Championship game, Diethrich was bleeding in red ink. He expected his all-star team’s attendance to be much greater than the 25,776 fans per game the no-name Wranglers averaged in 1983. However, as had been the case a year earlier, Phoenix-area fans viewed the Wranglers mostly with indifference. Despite fielding a winning team, the Wranglers’ 1984 ...
History of the Wranglers
The Arizona Wranglers were a professional American Football team in the United States Football League that, name-wise, existed from late 1982 to mid-1985. They played at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix.
Tempe – Oklahoma City – Tempe
1983 – 1986 / United States Football League
1985 / Arizona Outlaws
1983 – 1984 / Arizona Wranglers
1984 / Oklahoma Outlaws
Wranglers – A wrangler is someone employed to handle animals professionally, especially horses. The word “wrangler” is derived from the Low German “wrangle” meaning “to dispute” or “to wrestle.”
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
A deal was made in which Tatham acquired the Wranglers’ assets. Since Tatham acquired all the Wranglers’ player contracts, the deal was widely reported as a merger. Tatham relocated the Outlaws to Arizona for the 1985 season, merging the rosters into the Arizona Outlaws.
USFL Championship 0
1983 – 1985 / Sun Devil Stadium
1984 / Skelly Stadium
1984 – 1986 / William R. Tatham Sr., William R. Tatham Jr.
1984 / Dr. Ted Diethrich
1983 / Jim Joseph
1985 / Frank Kush (8 wins – 10 losses)
1984 / Woody Widenhofer (6 wins – 12 losses)
1984 / George Allen (12 wins – 9 losses)
1983 / Doug Shivley (4 wins – 14 losses)
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
1984 / USFL Championship Game (vs Philadelphia Stars 3 – 23)
1984 / Conference Champions (vs Los Angeles Express 35 – 23)
1984 / Division Champions (vs Houston Gamblers 17 – 16)
Averaged 25,776 in 1983 and 25,568 in 1984 (70,491 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history