The Memphis Showboats announcement was made, that they will be joining the USFL for the 2023 season. The Memphis Showboats will be playing at Simmons Bank Liberty stadium. The reveal was made at a press conference held by the Mayor and attended by ex Fed Ex Chairman and founder Fred Smith.
With the Memphis Showboats announcement, the specifics are starting to be revealed. “The USFL and Jim Strickland announced that the Memphis Showboats will be returning for the 2023 season. Their first game at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium will be April 16, 2023. (h/t News 24 Memphis) They will be taking over the existing roster of the Tampa Bay Bandits, who will be on hiatus for the 2023 season.
The rumors started on November 6 that this move was imminent. The website USFL Newsroom reported this possible move, citing a November 1 application to trademark the name “Memphis Showboats” for use. Filing a trademark is often a precursor to a business move.
As you remember, the EX- Washington Redskins had a long battle to re-name their Football Club after another, unrelated party had grabbed many of the trademark names they wished. Thus it’s not that unusual the last several years for a leak of a trademark application to become public. (There are also leaks of the team logo, etc; but I’ll report on that only once it becomes announced by the team.)
Coach and Roster status: the head coach for the Showboats is Todd Haley. He has been with the USFL as head coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Bandits . Former Memphis Tiger Brady White has been named as quarterback for the team.
I’ve written about Brady White formerly here on Gridiron Heroics as a newly-hired offensive graduate assistant for the Memphis Tigers football team. He was on the roster for the Tampa Bay Bandits.
USFL Teams and the “Hubs”, how does this Work? If you haven’t been following the USFL, the games all occur at central hubs, last year that one hub being Birmingham. For this year, there’s an excellent article at the Sports Business Journal detailing this year’s outlined setup. Short version: the Houston Gamblers will be part of the Memphis Hub, and the New Orleans Breakers will be part of the Birmingham hub.
The Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium holds about 60,000 fans at full capacity. For a little background, the Liberty Bowl held 50,180 fans when the Memphis Showboats played there in the 1984-1985 Season. Their main claim to fame was future NFL hall-of-famer Reggie White anchoring the defense.
Many Memphians of a certain age (meekly raises hand) saw one or more games in person that wonderful season. Here are some notes (h/t to the Statscrew) of that 1984-1985 season. It’s a different environment from the mid-1980s, but many fans are excited to see their return and will be closely watching as more details are revealed.
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