USFL announces reboot starting in 2022 with 8 teams, including Houston Gamblers

The United States Football League was last active in 1985, when stars like Reggie White and former Pres. Trump were part of it.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For those Houston football fans who feel there was unfulfilled potential in the XFL and the Roughnecks, may we introduce you to the USFL and H-Town's new professional gridiron squad: the Gamblers.

Yes, the Houston Gamblers are a "new" old team that once entertained the Bayou City 36 years ago.

But thanks to new interest and funding into the once-defunct United States Football League, the Gamblers and seven other teams across the country get to start a new beginning in 2022.

Back in June, league organizers announced the new incarnation of the league that is meant to be played during the spring that will "deliver high-quality, innovative professional football to fans."

The original USFL was launched in 1983 but crumbled after three seasons because of out-of-control spending and an ill-conceived push led by former Pres. Donald Trump, owner of the New Jersey Generals, which, like the Gamblers, is a franchise in the old league due to play next year, 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 life span. The USFL featured rules innovations, helped usher in underclassmen being drafted by the NFL, and pushed the NFL 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 the Trump-backed move from spring to fall.

One of the stars of the old Gamblers team was Jim Kelly, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback who went on to play in four straight Super Bowls and later garner induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Aside from the Generals and Gamblers, the resurrected league will also field the Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers, Birmingham Stallions, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits.

It is not immediately known where the Gamblers would play their home games, but published reports suggest all of the first season's games for all teams would take place in Birmingham under a bubble format.

ESPN contributed to this story.