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Memphis Showboats’s Comeback


On the day of a Memphis football game, the multipurpose room at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium is typically crowded with prospects. On Tuesday, a different kind of recruits filled the room.

We’re home now, Johnston remarked.

A press conference was crammed with civic leaders and visitors, including Mayor Jim Strickland, Fred Smith, the creator of FedEx, and officials from a number of Memphis sports teams. Daryl Johnston, executive vice-president of the USFL, only needed to say three words to make it official.

The Memphis Showboats are back after 38 years and will compete in the USFL’s second season on April 16. The Tampa Bay Bandits, who competed in the league’s initial season as the Tampa Bay Bandits, were renamed as the Showboats and competed in the original USFL from 1984 to 1985.

Because of the city’s passionate football supporters, the USFL has returned to Memphis, according to Johnston. “Memphis has a rich history as a fantastic sports city, including the Showboats of the 1980s, who launched the famous Reggie White’s Pro Football Hall of Fame career.”

The new logo, which replaces the previous one with grey and red letters, has a blue steamboat with yellow accents. However, the Showboats and the league’s Houston Gamblers will both play at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in 2023, just like they did in their previous incarnation. Training camp for both teams will take place in March.

The conference frequently referred to White’s attendance. John Fourcade, a former Showboats teammate, was present, and current Showboats coach Todd Haley claimed to have White’s football card from his two seasons with the organisation.

In 2023, a different White will serve as the team’s spokesperson. Brady White, a former quarterback at Memphis, played for the Bandits last year. He achieved team records throughout his time there and is now a graduate assistant for the Tigers (2018-20).

White, the all-time leader in passing yards, victories, and touchdowns at Memphis, said, “For me, being here playing here, living here, I was pumped.” “At first, I was thinking, don’t get me excited then yank my chain and it’s not true. However, it’s definitely very real and quite thrilling. When the original Showboats made it to the playoffs in their second season, their popularity grew. The Showboats had future wrestler Lex Luger on its roster in addition to Reggie White, and Pepper Rodgers served as their coach.

Steve Ehrhart, the former Showboats president and general manager, offered his support for the reorganised squad and pointed out that the announcement on Tuesday fell on the 40th anniversary of the New York meetings that led to the founding of the original USFL. “I wish them success. Ehrhart stated, “We want to ensure that they uphold the legacy. “We’re very proud of them, and we want them to be successful. They possess the tools.

All of the first games of the new USFL, an eight-team league with NBC Sports and Fox Sports television deals, were held in Birmingham, Alabama. With intentions for teams to eventually play in their home areas, the league declared in June that it would grow to include more markets in 2023. According to Brian Woods, president of football operations for the USFL, Fred Smith was a driving force behind the Showboats’ comeback. About six months ago, Woods received a call from Smith while he was watching a USFL game.

He complimented your product and asked how he might bring the USFL to the wonderful city of Memphis, Woods recounted. After hanging up, I immediately called Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks and said, “We need to go to Memphis as soon as possible.” According to Strickland, the Showboats have a one-year contract with the city, and the City Council still needs to adopt a memo of understanding for two additional years. What modifications would be necessary when possible stadium improvements are expected to start after the 2023 Memphis football season are not yet known.

It’s also unknown whether the new Showboats will succeed where previous professional spring football teams failed. Some of the teams that made an attempt to pique that interest included the Memphis Mad Dogs, Memphis Maniax, and Memphis Express, but none of them succeeded beyond one season. But that didn’t stop Johnston or the USFL from going back to the place where the Showboats are still remembered with affection. Since the initial USFL four decades earlier, Johnston noted that the USFL was the first spring football league to complete a second season.

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