The Tampa Bay Bandits’ majority owners were Canadian businessman John F. Bassett (who was still in litigation against the NFL over his previous Memphis Southmen franchise from the World Football League in the mid-1970s) and Miami attorney Steve Arky. Minority owners included Hollywood mainstay Burt Reynolds, a former college football player who at that time one of the most popular ...
Bandits’ majority owner John Bassett was a strong proponent of the “Dixon Plan”, which was a plan formulated by the USFL’s founding owners that sought to build a sustainable league with budgetary restraint and a commitment to spring football. However, to gain a competitive advantage and draw attention to their teams, some owners attempted to sign more high-profile players to ...
The Tampa Bay Bandits was a professional American football team in the United States Football League (USFL) which was based in Tampa, Florida. The Bandits was a charter member of the USFL and was the only franchise to have the same principal owner (John F. Bassett), head football coach (Steve Spurrier), and home field (Tampa Stadium) during the league’s three seasons of play. The team folded along with the USFL after the league suspended play prior to the 1986 season.
1983 – 1986 / United States Football League
1983 – 1985 / Tampa Bay Bandits
Bandits – A robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area. The team is incorrectly presumed to be named the Bandits due to Burt Reynolds' appearance in the hit Smokey and the Bandit movies; it was named after the owner's daughter's German Shepherd dog.
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
John F. Bassett Bassett, who had registered one of the two “nay” votes, immediately declared his intention to pull the Bandits out of the USFL and organize a new spring football league.
USFL Championship 0
1983 – 1986 / Tampa Stadium
1983 – 1986 / John F. Bassett
1983 – 1986 / Steve Spurrier (35 wins and 19 losses)
1985 / Division Championship Game (vs Oakland Invaders 27 – 30)
1984 / Division Championship Game (vs Birmingham Stallions 17 – 36)
Averaged 39,896 in 1983, 46,158 in 1984 and 45,220 in 1985 (74,315 seat stadium)
Only USFL franchise to have the same coach, owner, and home city throughout the league’s three-year existence.
*Blue is this team’s history