Michigan Panthers hire ex-NFL coach Jeff Fisher to lead USFL reboot

USFL season begins in April

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams reacts during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 27, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Sean Gardner, 2016 Getty Images)

The Michigan Panthers, part of the USFL reboot this year, have a new head coach -- and you probably know the name.

The Panthers announced Thursday that former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher has been hired as the team’s head coach for the upcoming 2022 USFL season.

The USFL, a professional football league that first launched in 1983 before dissolving after three seasons, is returning in 2022. Back in November 2021, the USFL announced the eight teams that would compete in its first season back this spring, and it includes the Panthers, who actually won the USFL championship in 1983.

Fisher, 63, coached the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1994 to 2010, and then the Rams from 2012 to 2016. His most successful season came in 1999, when the Titans won the AFC and lost in Super Bowl XXXIV vs. the Rams.

All eight teams, including the Panthers, will play in Birmingham Alabama, at both Protective Stadium and Legion Field. The 2022 USFL regular season will begin April 16 and run through mid-June, followed by the playoffs.

A look back: Uniquely Detroit: the Michigan Panthers

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 content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.