Michigan Panthers to return as part of USFL reboot in 2022

Team won USFL championship in 1983

The USFL, a professional football league that first launched in 1983 before dissolving after three seasons, is returning in 2022 -- and it’s bringing the Michigan Panthers back with it.

The USFL announced the eight teams that would compete in its first season back next spring, and it includes the Panthers, who actually won the USFL championship in 1983.

A look back: Uniquely Detroit: the Michigan Panthers

The Panthers, at the time, played at the Pontiac Silverdome, which was demolished a couple of years ago.

It’s unclear where the Panthers will be playing, but according to the announcement, all eight teams will play games in one location in the inaugural season.

The USFL was launched in 1983, but crumbled after three seasons because of out-of-control spending and an ill-conceived push led by Trump, owner of the New Jersey Generals, to compete directly against the NFL with a fall season.

Launched originally to serve as more of a complement to the NFL than a direct competitor, the USFL helped change professional football in its short lifespan.

The USFL featured rules innovations, helped usher in underclassmen being drafted by the NFL and pushed the league to pay bigger salaries and create real free agency.

In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $3 judgment it “won” in an antitrust suit against the NFL, a ruling that finished off the league in 1986 before it carried out a Trump-backed move from spring to fall.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.