The 1984 Houston Gamblers had one of the most memorable seasons in USFL history. Kelly led them to a league-leading 12 wins and was named the MVP that season, which included an appearance in Super Bowl XVIII.
The “Houston Gamblers 2022 roster” is a blog about the Houston Gamblers. It’s written by someone who was alive during their 1984 USFL MVP season, and it includes a list of all players on the team.
During his 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, put up some impressive stats. The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback passed for more than 35,000 yards and 237 touchdowns while posting a 101-59 regular-season record. He led the Bills to four Super Bowl appearances in a row.
Kelly was given the opportunity to visit Canton, Ohio. While he shone in Buffalo, his stats as a quarterback for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers were incredible.
As the USFL prepares to resume play following a three-year hiatus from 1983 to 1985, we take a look back at Kelly’s breakout season in 1984, when he was awarded the league’s MVP.
Jim Kelly first turned down the Buffalo Bills in order to play for the Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League (USFL).
On Feb. 24, 1985, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, quarterback Jim Kelly speaks to his offensive line during a USFL Western Conference game against the Los Angeles Express. | Allsport/Getty Images/Stephen Dunn
Kelly was a member of the Gamblers for two seasons, starting in 1984. Kelly was taken 14th overall in the quarterback-heavy 1983 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills after four years at the University of Miami. Kelly was not in a good mood.
Kelly’s agent, as the former Hurricane, said there were no clubs he didn’t want to play for when the Baltimore Colts picked John Elway with the No. 1 selection and he declined to sign with them. Kelly indicated there were three squads, according to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com.
“After Elway was selected and the situation that ensued, my agent came at me and said, ‘Hey Jim, is there somewhere you don’t want to play?’ Kelly remarked, “I responded, ‘Oh yes, I don’t want to play for the Minnesota Vikings.’” “‘I don’t want to play for the Green Bay Packers or the Buffalo Bills,’ he says.
The Bills had two first-round choices, 12 and 14, respectively. Kelly exhaled a sigh of relief as they chose tight end Tony Hunter at number 12. They called his name after two choices.
Kelly said, “I couldn’t believe it.” “Within minutes, the phone calls started coming in, and I was telling them how delighted I was to be a Buffalo Bill. “We need to contact the USFL and see what other choices we have,” I remarked as I hung up the phone.
Jim Kelly joined the United States Football League and excelled with the Houston Gamblers.
Kelly was on the verge of signing with the Bills when he got a call from the USFL. His rights were controlled by the Chicago Blitz, but the league reached out to him with an extraordinary offer just before he signed with Buffalo.
“We were on the verge of signing the deal with Buffalo,” Kelly remarked. “However, there was a USFL person on the phone who said, ‘Tell Jim not to sign anything.’” We’ve made him an offer he won’t be able to reject.’
Kelly was courted by the United States Football League (USFL). Kelly was given the opportunity to play for the squad of his choosing. He chose to play in a warm environment under coach Jack Pardee.
“I was heading to Houston and the Astrodome, and I heard they were going to bring in Mouse Davis to do the ‘Run and Shoot’ and toss the football,” Kelly said. “So, for a quarterback playing in a dome, the elements are ideal every week at home, no wind, no rain.” It was a foregone conclusion.”
Kelly made a name for herself in Houston. He completed 370 of 587 passes for 5,219 yards in his debut season in the USFL. He tossed 44 touchdowns in his career. Kelly’s main targets were former NFL wide receivers Richard Johnson and Ricky Sanders. Kelly led the Gamblers to a 13-5 record in the West Division, but they were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Kelly also ran for 493 yards and five touchdowns on 85 carries. In terms of rushing, he ranked third on the squad. The Gamblers topped the league in scoring with 618 points, and Kelly was named MVP.
Kelly bounced back in 1985 with a similar year.
Kelly proved that the 1984 season was not an exception. In 1985, he rebounded admirably with a similar year. As the league shrank from 18 to 14, it took on a new aspect. Each conference was no longer divided into two divisions. The top three clubs from each conference advanced to the playoffs.
Kelly and the Gamblers finished third in the West with a 10-8 record. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals once again.
Kelly finished 360-for-567 for 4,623 yards and 39 touchdowns, demonstrating the Gamblers’ offensive prowess once again. After the 1985 season, the Gamblers disbanded, and Kelly joined the New Jersey Generals. As the league disbanded after its third season, he never played a snap with the club.
Kelly went on to live happily ever after in Buffalo. With his tough-as-nails leadership and tough-as-nails play, he became a fan favorite.
Kelly’s NFL career was a success, and it all started with an MVP season in the USFL.
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The “houston gamblers twitter” is a social media account that posts updates on the Houston Gamblers. The team was founded in 1984 and won their first USFL Championship in 1985.
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