1984: The Oklahoma Outlaws were one of six expansion teams joining the USFL in its second season. The Outlaws though took a long road to Oklahoma as they were originally slated to play in San Diego. However, under pressure from baseball’s San Diego Padres, the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and the NASL’s San Diego Sockers, the city refused to grant Owner William A. Tatham a lease for Jack Murphy Stadium. Scrambling for a home, Tatham considered placing his team in Hawaii, but settled on Tulsa’s Skelly Stadium. While the USFL had not considered placing a team in Oklahoma, Tulsa seemed to be excited about being a Major League City. However, Tatham was not happy with Skelly Stadium, calling it less than ideal, for a professional team. The Oklahoma Outlaws had a Hall of Fame pedigree, as Sid Gillman, who came out of retirement at age 71 to serve as the Director of Operations. The Outlaws coached by Woody Widenhofer made their debut on February 26th on a cold wet day in Tulsa, with freeing rain against the Pittsburgh Maulers. Attendance was disappointing at 15,937 as both teams had trouble getting their footing with Oklahoma winning 7-3 as Doug Williams found Derek Hughes on a 12-yard touchdown connection for the winning score in the fourth quarter. Attendance would not get much better as the weather improved, as the Outlaws finished 14th of 16 teams, averaging only 21,038 fans in a 40,000-seat stadium. Early in the season the Outlaws took the USFL by surprise as they won six of their first eight games, led by Doug Williams who after an ugly split with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers over contract negotiations. Williams was among the USFL’s top passers with 3,084 yards with 15 touchdowns before suffering a knee injury late in the season. Unfortunately, the Outlaws could not sustain their initial success as they lost their final ten games and finished the season with a record of 6-12. It would be the only season in Tulsa for the Oklahoma Outlaws as they merged with the Arizona Wranglers following the season as William A. Tatham looking for a bigger market took over the debts of the Wranglers and took most of the roster down with him with two teams becoming a new team called the Arizona Outlaws.
©MMXVI Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the United States Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on December 7, 2016. Last updated on December 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm ET.