Jeff Pearlman’s new book — “Football For A Buck” — details the history of the USFL, including the Arizona Wranglers and Arizona Outlaws.
For the better part of the last year, former Sports Illustrated and ESPN writer Jeff Pearlman has been working on a book about the rise and fall of the United States Football League (or USFL). On September 11th, that book, titled Football For A Buck, will finally be in bookstores. The two Arizona teams that competed in the league, the Arizona Wranglers and Arizona Outlaws, are prominently featured.
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“I interviewed a ton of Arizona guys,” Pearlman told me last week before sharing his favorite story from Arizona’s USFL three-year history.
"“In 1983 the USFL had the Arizona Wranglers and the Chicago Blitz. The Blitz were owned by a guy Ted Diethrich, who lived in Arizona. So, after the first season, he no longer wanted to have a team in Chicago. So the USFL allowed the Blitz to be traded for the Wranglers. All the Arizona players became the Blitz. All the Blitz players became the Wranglers. All because an owner didn’t like having to fly 3.5 hours once a week.”-Jeff Pearlman"
While the USFL only lasted three years (1983-85), the Arizona Wranglers were able to make it to one of the championship games. After going just 4-14 in their first season, the team went 10-8 in 1984 before winning two playoff games. Unfortunately, the Wranglers were blown out by the Philadelphia Stars in the title game (23-3).
Greg Landry, a one-time Pro Bowler with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, was Arizona’s quarterback in 1984 while two-time NFL Coach of the Year George Allen was the head coach. Allen, for the record, is currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1985, the Arizona Wranglers merged with the Oklahoma Outlaws to become the Arizona Outlaws.
All of Arizona’s USFL games were played at Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe, AZ.
This will be Jeff Pearlman’s eighth book. Several of his previous works made the New York Times best-seller list, including Sweetness and Boys Will Be Boys. Besides authoring books, Jeff currently writes weekly columns at The Athletic.
You can order the book from Amazon here.