Oakland had been without a football team after the Oakland Raiders relocated to Los Angeles before the 1982 NFL season. The Invaders stepped in to fill the void; the similar name was no accident.
The team was originally owned by Bay Area real estate magnates Jim Joseph and Tad Taube. However, after the original owner of the USFL’s Los Angeles franchise, Alex Spanos, bought the San Diego Chargers instead, Joseph and Taube flipped a coin to decide who would buy the Los Angeles rights. Joseph won the toss, selling his stake in the Invaders to Taube. As it turned out, Joseph was forced to move his team to Phoenix, Arizona as the Arizona Wranglers.
Taube then approached the Michigan Panthers, who had been one of the league’s strongest teams during its first two years and had by reckoned by some observers as an NFL-quality team. However, Panthers owner A. Alfred Taubman was a strong supporter of spring football and was not willing to go head-to-head with the Detroit Lions. Taubman and Taube quickly reached a deal for a merger. Although the Invaders were the surviving team, Taube sold controlling interest in the merged team to Taubman while remaining chairman of the board. The merger was formally announced after the owners approved moving to the fall.
The new team, bolstered with key players from the Panthers such as Bobby Hebert, went 13-4-1 in the regular season and advanced all the way to the 1985 USFL championship game. The championship game was a rematch of sorts with Chuck Fusina’s Stars, who now played in Baltimore; the Panthers had upended the Stars in the league’s inaugural title game. The Invaders were in the midst of a potential game-winning drive when a personal-foul penalty derailed their momentum, allowing the Stars to defeat Hebert’s Invaders 28-24, and claim indisputable bragging rights as the league’s all-time best team.
Despite reaching the championship game, the team’s attendance fell again, to a barely sustainable 17,509. Soon after the championship game, Taubman decided to pull out. The loss of Taubman’s wealth left the Invaders without nearly enough resources for the move to the fall, and they suspended operations for the 1986 season. As it turned out, the championship game was the last USFL game ever played, as the league was effectively killed by an antitrust suit against the NFL in which it only won $3 in damages.
The Oakland Invaders were a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL) from 1983 through 1985.
Pontiac – Oakland
1983 – 1985 / United States Football League
1983 – 1985 / Oakland Invaders
1983 – 1984 / Michigan Panthers
Invaders – To enter by force in order to conquer or pillage. A group that invades a country, region, or other place.
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
Despite reaching the championship game, the team’s attendance fell again, to a barely sustainable 17,509. Combined with massive financial losses, the Invaders announced they would suspend operations for the 1986 season.
USFL Championship 0
1983 – 1985 / Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
1983 – 1984 / Pontiac Silverdome
1985 / A. Alfred Taubman and Tad Taube
1983 – 1984 / Tad Taube
1983 – 1984 / A. Alfred Taubman
1985 / Charlie Sumner(15 wins – 5 losses – 1 tie)
1984 / Chuck Hutchison (7 wins – 8 losses)
1983 – 1984 / John Ralston (9 wins – 12 losses)
1983 – 1984 / Jim Stanley (24 wins – 15 losses)
1985 / USFL Championship Game (vs Baltimore Stars 24 – 28)
1983 / USFL Champions (vs Philadelphia Stars 24 – 22)
1985 / Conference Champions (vs Memphis Showboats 28 – 19)
1985 / Division Champions (vs Tampa Bay Bandits 30 – 27)
1984 / Division Championship Game (vs Los Angeles Express 21 – 27 OT)
1983 / Division Champions (vs Oakland Invaders 37 – 21)
Averaged 31,211 in 1983, 23,644 in 1984 and 17,509 in 1985 (56,057 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history