The 1984 draft will forever remain an outlier thanks to USFL’s downfall


The 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft will remain one of the most intriguing occurrences in the league’s history.

At the time, due to the influence of the CFL as well as the USFL, the National Football League went ahead and hosted the Supplemental draft. This was done so that if the USFL, which was struggling at the time, folded, there would not be a huge number of free agents available at once.

Nonetheless, the USFL eventually folded in 1986. This then allowed the players who were taken in the Supplemental Draft to move on to their NFL teams. Essentially, the main reason for the Supplemental draft was to not have a huge intake of players, should the USFL fold. Players would already have NFL teams to go too in the event the USFL went under.

The draft was a three-round selection meeting, and the NFL chose 84 players from the available 224 for the USFL to choose from. Most of the huge names in the USFL were not eligible because their rights were already owned by National Football League teams.

Notable players taken in the NFL Supplemental draft

Wild Card Round - Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans
Wild Card Round – Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans

Steve Young

The most notable player taken in the Supplemental Draft was quarterback Steve Young. He was selected first overall by the USFL’s Los Angeles Express.

Young would play with the Express for two years before his move to Tampa. He would stay there for two more years before moving on to the San Francisco 49ers, where he ultimately made his name.

The quarterback would go on to win three Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP award, and he earned two league MVP awards as well. Today, he is a famous member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Reggie White

Another notable player from the draft was legendary defensive end Reggie White. The defender was taken with the fourth pick by the Memphis Showboats.

“Reggie White couldn’t rush the passer.” https://t.co/vTCpGNeRXE

Like Young, White played two seasons in the USFL. After leaving and joining the Eagles, he became known as one of the most feared defenders of his time, White was a 13-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl winner, and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. He led the league in sacks twice, was an eight-time All-Pro, and a member of both the 1980 and 1990 All-Decade teams.

During his time in the league, White would go on to play for three teams: the Eagles, Packers and Panthers. Like Young, White was enshirined into the Hall of Fame for his feats across his stellar career.

Gary Zimmerman

Zimmerman was an offensive tackle that played for the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos, but before that, he was a member of the Los Angeles Express alongside Steve Young.

1984 gave us what might be the most succesful Supplemental Draft in NFL history. It produced players like Steve Young, Gary Zimmerman and Reggie White, alongside ten Pro-Bowlers for a total of 84 picks through three#100Days100StoriesONLY 84 DAYS UNTIL #NFLKickoff https://t.co/ssH1PkgtLM

When the USFL folded in 1986, Zimmerman would find his way to the Vikings after playing two seasons with the Express. During his NFL career, the offensive tackle was a Super Bowl winner, a five-time All-Pro, a seven-time Pro Bowler, and was selected for both the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams.

Zimmerman, like Reggie White and Steve Young, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.


Edited by nicolaas.ackermann12





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