The Outlaws were originally slated to play in San Diego. However, under pressure from baseball’s Padres, the NFL’s Chargers, and the NASL’s Sockers, the city refused to grant Tatham a lease for Jack Murphy Stadium. Scrambling for a home, Tatham seriously considered playing in Honolulu for its inaugural 1984 season. However, he settled on Tulsa, Oklahoma—even though the city had ...
The Tathams were not exaggerating about Skelly Stadium’s inadequacy as a professional venue. There was virtually no parking around the stadium, which would have held down attendance even without the weather problems. With no other facility in the Tulsa area suitable even for temporary use, they started searching for a new home. They initially planned to move to the University ...
History of the Outlaws
The Oklahoma Outlaws were a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL) from 1983 to 1985. The team was based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had its home games at Skelly Stadium on the campus of Tulsa University. The Outlaws were among the most successful teams in USFL history, with an overall record of 33-15 over their three seasons. They won two division titles and made it to two championship games, though they never managed to win a title before folding along with the rest of the league after its third season.
The Outlaws' first year saw them finish second in their division behind Jim Kelly's Houston Gamblers but ahead of Steve Young's Los Angeles Express squad; they went 12-6 during regular season play and advanced all way to the USFL Championship game against George Allen’s Arizona Wranglers where they ultimately fell 27–21 despite leading 21–20 late into fourth quarter due largely thanks offensive solid performances by quarterback Brian Sipe and running back Kelvin Bryant who both earned All-League honors for 1984 campaign. Next year proved even more successful as the club posted 13 wins en route to capturing the Central Division crown while also advancing once again all way up until the title game where this time, however, they lost 28–24 heartbreakers versus Philadelphia Stars led by Chuck Fusina & Herschel Walker; Bryant once again starred earning yet another All-League selection alongside defensive end John Lee who racked up 11 sacks throughout the entire campaign.
Finally, 1985 marked the final chapter for a franchise that finished atop Central Division standings at 8 wins only to be sadly disbanded shortly thereafter following the conclusion league’s third season; many former players such as Bryant, Sipe, Lee & others would go on have long careers within NFL after disbandment making a lasting impact upon sport itself. In sum, the legacy left behind by Oklahoma Outlaws will forever remain the larger fabric of America’s gridiron landscape, remembered fondly amongst sports fans everywhere.
Tempe – Oklahoma City – Tempe
1983 – 1986 / United States Football League
1985 / Arizona Outlaws
1983 – 1984 / Arizona Wranglers
1984 / Oklahoma Outlaws
Outlaws – The Oklahoma Outlaws were a professional American football team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that played in the United States Football League (USFL) from 1984 to 1985. The team was owned by Bill Tatham and coached by former Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. While the Outlaws did not have much success on the field, their name has become iconic among sports fans for its unique origin story.
The nickname "Outlaws" is derived from an old Wild West legend about a group of outlaws who lived near present-day Tulsa, OK, during the late 19th century. According to this legend, these outlaws formed their lawless society and terrorized locals with robberies and other criminal activities until law enforcement officials eventually caught them. This story resonated with many Oklahomans due to its local roots and connection to Wild West folklore, popularized through films such as Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid around this period. Thus when it came time for owner Bill Tatham to choose a nickname for his USFL franchise, he decided upon “Outlaw” – thus paying homage to both locally relevant history while also capturing some of that classic western spirit associated with America's pastime -football!
In addition, the logo design chosen featured two crossed pistols – further reinforcing this cowboy motif while simultaneously giving off an edgy vibe befitting any modern-day sports franchise. As such, though short-lived, the legacy left behind by the Oklahoma Outlaws lives on today amongst diehard USFL fans everywhere!
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
Despite advancing to the championship game, Dietrhich wanted out after losing millions for the second year in a row. He sold the Wranglers’ assets to Tatham, and Tatham relocated the Outlaws to Arizona for the 1985 season as the Arizona Outlaws, and took the Wranglers’ place at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium. Since Tatham inherited all of the Wranglers’ player contracts, this deal was reported by some outlets as a merger.
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.
Averaged 21,038 fans (40,000 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history