United States Football League founder Donald Dixon was a strong proponent of a USFL franchise in Washington, D.C., and insisted on one despite the dominance of the National Football League′s Washington Redskins in the Washington market. Real estate magnate Marvin Warner originally was slated to own the Federals, but when the USFL announced it was fielding a team in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama – the team which became the Birmingham Stallions – Warner opted to take that franchise instead. The USFL then turned to prominent Washington attorney Berl Bernhard. He stood atop a murky ownership structure, serving as majority owner of a limited partnership owned by a limited partnership that was itself operated by three corporations. As part of this arrangement, Washington Football Partners, a limited partnership, was organized on August 20, 1982, in the District of Columbia to hold the franchise, with Bernhard’s Capital City Sports Management as the general partner. The Federals played in Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Financial projections submitted to potential investors in Washington Football Partners, Ltd., foresaw the Federals losing $1.12 million during the 1983 season, with anticipated revenues of $4.13 million – including $2.6 million in ticket sales – and expenses of just over $5.25 million. Federals ticket sales before the USFL′s first season were disappointing, and after the Redskins won Super Bowl XVII on January 30, 1983 – their first NFL championship since 1942 – only 36 days before the Federals′ first game, Federals tickets sales dried up almost completely.
The Washington Federals were a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League in the mid-1980s.
The franchise was the worst in the USFL in terms of both game play – a combined record of 7-22-0 – and attendance during its two seasons in Washington, prompting the move to Orlando.
Washington D.C. – Orlando
1983 – 1986 / United States Football League
1985 – 1986 / Orlando Renegades
1983 – 1984 / Washington Federals
Federals – Being located in Washington D.C. where the Federal Government resides, the natural nickname for the team is the “Federals.”
Original USFL Team
Final USFL Team
Team’s Final Outlook
Bernhard was in a desperate situation, as he knew that he stood no chance going head-to-head with the Redskins. A few days later, Tampa Bay Bandits part-owner Donald Dizney stepped up and ended Bernhard’s suffering. Dizney bought the Federals, moving them to Orlando and renaming them the Renegades.
USFL Championship 0
1985 / Citrus Bowl Stadium
1983 – 1984 / RFK Stadium
1985 / Donald Dizney
1983 – 1984 / Berl Bernhard
1985 / Lee Corso (5 wins – 13 losses)
1984 / Dick Bielski (3 wins – 14 losses)
1983 – 1984 / Ray Jauch (4 wins – 15 losses)
Averaged 13,850 in 1983 and 7,694 in 1984 (54,794 seat stadium)
*Blue is this team’s history