For people of a certain age, the USFL was manna from heaven — at least while it lasted.
Spring football? With a bevy of pro-quality players? A league that was competing with the monolithic NFL? Sign us up!
And “sign up” we did; while television ratings never went boffo in the three years the USFL existed, they were more than respectable for a newfangled operation, with day games on ABC getting a 6.0 Nielsen rating, and ESPN — and remember, this is 1983, when bull riding and bowling still dominated coverage on the Worldwide Leader — garnering 3.3 nighttime ratings, which was 50% higher than what the regular programming was getting.