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1983 Michigan Panthers season

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1983 Michigan Panthers football
1983 record12-6 ( )
Head coachJim Stanley (1st season)
Home stadiumPontiac Silverdome
← 1982
1984 →

Michigan held its first training camp at City Island Stadium in Daytona Beach, Florida, sifting through over 75 players.

On Monday, March 7, 1983; the Panthers opened the season with a 9-7 win over the Birmingham Stallions at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. This was the first professional football game ever broadcast on ESPN. Serbian kicker (via Central Michigan) Novo Bojovic kicked the winning field goal from 48 yards out in the waning moments.

The Panthers then dropped their next four contests, losing on March 12 to the Tampa Bay Bandits (19-7); Mar. 19 at home to the Oakland Invaders (33-27); Mar. 27 at the Washington Federals (22-16 in OT) and April 4 at home to the Denver Gold (29-21). Their slow start was attributed mostly due to a very porous offensive line that struggled to create holes or time for their offensive stars. Management addressed the issue by signing a bevy of experienced offensive linemen in OT Ray Pinney (Pittsburgh Steelers), OG Tyrone McGriff (Pittsburgh Steelers) and OG Thom Dornbrook (NY Giants). Dornbrook and McGriff would both make USFL all-league teams in 1983.

The Panthers had a six-game winning streak. Then, on May 23, they and the Birmingham Stallions were tied 20-20 in the fourth quarter. Michigan would have had the lead, but the extra point attempt was blocked. The game went into overtime and was won by Birmingham thanks to a 46-yard field goal by Stallions placekicker Scott Norwood.

The Panthers would bounce back with a 42-7 thrashing of the stellar Tampa Bay Bandits, coached by future Florida Gators head coach Steve Spurrier. After making those additions, and installing rookie Bobby Hebert as quarterback, the Panthers then won 11 of their next 13 contests and captured the Central Division championship with a 12-6 record.

In the playoffs, the Panthers hosted the Western Division champion Oakland Invaders before a USFL-record crowd of 60,237. The Panthers' decisive 37-21 victory vaulted them to the inaugural USFL Championship Game in Denver, Colorado.

On July 17, 1983, the Panthers captured the USFL's first championship with a 24-22 win over the Atlantic Division champion Philadelphia Stars. QB Bobby Hebert hit WR Anthony Carter on a 48-yard touchdown strike with 11:59 left in the fourth quarter for what proved to be the deciding score. Hebert was named MVP of the game, throwing for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

The Panthers wound up spending $6 million during the season—three times what USFL founder David Dixon recommended that a team spend in a single season. As a result, they had NFL-comparable talent at several positions.


1983 Michigan Panthers final roster
  • 11 Bobby Hebert
  • 15 Mark Miller
  • 10 Whit Taylor

Running backs

  • 30 Tony Ellis
  • 34 Mike Hagen FB
  • 33 Jim Hargrove FB
  • 28 Ken Lacy
  • 40 John Williams

Wide receivers

  • 1 Anthony Carter
  • 29 Derek Holloway
  • 86 Ron Ingram
  • 82 Frank McClain

Tight ends

  • 89 Mike Cobb
  • 85 Don Echols
Offensive linemen
  • 64 Steve Cox G
  • 73 Greg Fairchild T
  • 70 Chris Godfrey T
  • 74 Russ Graham T
  • 69 Marv Mantos G
  • 56 Tom Piette C
  • 55 Wayne Radloff C
  • 60 Tony Vitale G

Defensive linemen

  • 90 Curtis Anderson DE
  • 72 Phil Dokes DE
  • 77 Jeff Jackson DE
  • 87 Ronnie Paggett DE
  • 65 David Tipton NT
  • Ira Albright NT
  • 50 Ray Bentley
  • 46 Kyle Borland
  • 41 Andy Cannavino
  • 58 Will Cokeley
  • 57 John Corker
  • 53 Mike Edwards
  • 51 Mel Land
  • 59 Robert Pennywell
  • 52 Rickey Young

Defensive backs

  • 25 John Arnaud S
  • 21 Marion Body S
  • 22 Clarence Chapman CB
  • 26 Elbert Gray CB
  • 31 David Greenwood S-P
  • 24 Fred Logan CB
  • 23 Ron Osborne CB

Special teams

  • 3 Novo Bojovic K
Reserve lists

Practice squad {{{practice_squad}}}

Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice squad

Regular season[edit]


Week Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance Television
1 March 7 Birmingham Stallions W 9-7 Legion Field 30,305 ESPN
2 March 12 Tampa Bay Bandits L 7-19 Tampa Stadium 38,789 ABC
3 March 19 Oakland Invaders L 27-33 Pontiac Silverdome 28,952 ESPN
4 March 27 Washington Federals L 16-22 (OT) RFK Stadium 11,404 ABC
5 April 4 Denver Gold L 21-29 Pontiac Silverdome 11,279 ESPN
6 April 10 New Jersey Generals W 21-6 Giants Stadium 17,648 ABC
7 April 17 Chicago Blitz W 17-12 Pontiac Silverdome 11,634 ABC
8 April 23 Los Angeles Express W 34-24 Pontiac Silverdome 13,184 ESPN
9 May 1 Boston Breakers W 28-24 Nickerson Field 10,971 ABC
10 May 7 Arizona Wranglers W 21-10 Sun Devil Stadium 20,423
11 May 16 New Jersey Generals W 31-24 Pontiac Silverdome 32,862 ESPN
12 May 23 Birmingham Stallions L 20-23 (OT) Pontiac Silverdome 20,042 ESPN
13 May 30 Tampa Bay Bandits W 43-7 Pontiac Silverdome 23,976 ESPN
14 June 5 Philadelphia Stars L 20-29 Veterans Stadium 19,727 ABC
15 June 12 Los Angeles Express W 42-17 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 16,023
16 June 18 Washington Federals W 27-25 Pontiac Silverdome 26,418
17 June 26 Chicago Blitz W 34-19 Soldier Field 25,041 ABC
18 July 3 Arizona Wranglers W 33-7 Pontiac Silverdome 31,905 ABC
SF July 10 Oakland Invaders W 37-21 Pontiac Silverdome 60,237 ABC
FL July 17 Philadelphia Stars W 24-22 Mile High Stadium 50,906 ABC


External links[edit]

Template:Michigan Panthers Template:1983 USFL season

This article "1983 Michigan Panthers season" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:1983 Michigan Panthers season. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

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