Hall of Fame Receives USFL Championship Trophy

The Pro Football Hall of Fame received the United States Football League (USFL) Championship Trophy on Wednesday. The trophy will be a part of an upcoming exhibit the Hall of Fame’s museum and curatorial staff are creating. The exhibit will open later this summer.

The USFL operated for three seasons from 1983 to 1985 before folding. The league played its games during the spring and summer months, opposite of the National Football League’s regular season.

The trophy was designed as a one-of-a-kind award that would be passed to the annual winner of the USFL Championship Game. Similar to the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup, the reigning winner was able to cherish the trophy until it was passed to a new champion. The first USFL Championship Trophy was awarded to the Michigan Panthers after their 24-22 victory over the Philadelphia Stars in the first USFL Championship Game on July 17, 1983.


The trophy features a silver USFL logoed helmet that is mounted to a marble base by a swooping silver armature. The facemask of the helmet is gold. The marble base features mounted gold plaques featuring the names of and scores of the USFL Championship Games.

The trophy was donated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame by Carl Peterson who took possession of the trophy as General Manager of the Baltimore Stars when the team won the final USFL Championship Game on July 14, 1985 with a 28-24 victory over the Oakland Invaders.

Peterson previously served as Director of Player Personnel of the Philadelphia Eagles where he helped lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl appearance (XV) following the 1980 NFL Season. After his stint with the two-time USFL Champion Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, Peterson served 20 years (1989-2008) as President and General Manager of the Kanas City Chiefs. Under his leadership, the Chiefs enjoyed 13 winning seasons and four division titles. He later served as the Chairman of USA Football.

The Hall’s world class collection includes many artifacts and documents from the USFL. Among the pieces in the Hall’s archives that will be displayed in the USFL exhibit along with the championship trophy are the Houston Gamblers jersey and helmet worn by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

A number of members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were part of the USFL including several players who began their illustrious careers in the rival league.

  • George Allen (Coach) – Chicago Blitz 1983; Arizona Wranglers 1984 – Class of 2002
  • Sid Gillman (Front Office Consultant) – Oklahoma Outlaws/Los Angeles Express 1984 – Class of 1983
  • Jim Kelly (Quarterback) – Houston Gamblers 1984-1985 – Class of 2002
  • Marv Levy (Coach) – Chicago Blitz 1984 – Class of 2001
  • Bill Polian (Player Personnel Director) – Chicago Blitz 1984 – Class of 2015
  • Steve Young (Quarterback) – Los Angeles Express 1984-85 – Class of 2005
  • Reggie White (Defensive Lineman) – Memphis Showboats 1984-85 – Class of 2006
  • Gary Zimmerman (Tackle) – Los Angeles Express 1984-85 – Class of 2008