Memphis food manufacturer Logan Young was awarded an expansion franchise for Memphis on July 17, 1983. However, soon after hiring Memphis native and former college coach Pepper Rodgers as head coach and signing a lease to play in the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, he discovered that most of his assets were tied up in a trust fund that he couldn’t ...
In 1984: The Showboats enter the league in its expansion and finish fourth in the Southern Division with a 7-11 record. They miss the playoffs but attract large crowds at the Liberty Bowl. Their most prominent player is future Pro Football Hall of Fame member Reggie White.
In 1985: The Showboats improve to a 11-7 record and finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. They earn a playoff berth and host the Denver Gold in the first round, winning 48-7. They lose in the semifinal round to the Oakland Invaders 28-19.
In 1986: The USFL suspends operations after losing an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL). The Showboats cease to exist along with the rest of the league.
History of the Showboats
The Memphis Showboats were an American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL) from 1984 to 1985. The team was based out of Memphis, Tennessee, and had a rich history of success during its brief tenure in the USFL. From their inaugural season until their final game, they posted a record of 28-14 and made it to two championship games.
The Showboats’ first season was one for the ages as they went 13-5 and won their division title before advancing to USFL Championship Game against Philadelphia Stars, where they, unfortunately, lost 24–22 due to poor field goal-kicking by kicker Tom Orosz who missed three potential winning kicks on that day. Despite this heartbreaking loss, there were plenty more successes ahead for them as they finished 11–7 the following year but ultimately fell short again, losing 14–3 against Baltimore Stars in Semifinal round playoffs game which would be the last ever match for the franchise after the league folded shortly afterward.
Although it has been almost four decades since Memphis Showboats have taken the field, many sports fans still remember fondly what could have been, if not, an unfortunate end brought upon by the closure of the league itself. With 2022 being the 40th anniversary since inception, perhaps now is the time to look back at the legacy left behind with appreciation deserved towards players & staff members who gave so much effort into making such great memories possible within those two years even though the ultimate prize eluded them till very end.
1984 – 1986, 2023 - Present / United States Football League
1984 – 1986, 2023 - Present / Memphis Showboats
Showboats – The Memphis Showboats were a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL) from 1984 to 1985. The Showboats were one of the most popular teams in the USFL, and their memorable name has become an iconic part of football history. But where did this unique nickname come from?
It turns out that there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding how exactly it was chosen. Some sources suggest that another sports franchise may have inspired it with roots in Memphis, Tennessee -- namely, minor league baseball's Memphis Chicks, who had used “Showboat” as their mascot since 1979. It could also be related to showboating on the field or perhaps even referencing Elvis Presley's famous song "Steamroller Blues," which includes lyrics about being like a showboat rolling down the river!
Whatever its origins, one thing is for sure: The Showboats' name has remained etched into memory for many fans across generations and continues to bring back fond memories whenever they hear it mentioned today!
USFL Championship 0
2023 - Present / Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium
1984 – 1985 / Liberty Bowl
2023 - Present / National Spring Football League Enterprises Co
1984 – 1985 / William Dunavant and Logan Young
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.
1985 / Conference Championship Game (vs Oakland Invaders 19 – 28)
1985 / Division Champions (vs Denver Gold 48 – 7)
Averaged 27,599 in 1984 and 30,948 in 1985 (50,160 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history