Chicago Blitz

Chicago_Blitz_helmet_1984.png
Dan Jiggetts called on former Bears' teammate Vince Evans in 1984.jpg

QB Vince Evans

Dan Jiggetts for websiteArtist Name
00:00 / 07:25
Tim Spencer gets get from his blockers.j

RB Tim Spencer

“Things were so bad the players had to bring their own toilet paper,” Levy said with a chuckle in his voice. “At Christmas time I gift-wrapped a roll of toilet paper for everyone in the organization.” 

Marv Levy 2007

Marv Levy took over in 1984 when toiletr

The Chicago Blitz & Arizona Wranglers were a

strange pair of teams that swapped

franchises before reality television was the

in thing. 

The Blitz were the favorites going into

the 1983 season because they had seasoned

NFL veterans on the roster. Veteran NFL players

like Dan Jiggetts, Doug Plank, Stan White, Perry

Hartnett, Virgil Livers, Wally Pesuit, Bobby Scott,

and Joe Federspiel led the Blitz to a 12-6 record under the legendary coach of George Allen. Rookies like WR Trumaine Johnson and RB Tim Spencer helped the aging quarterback Greg Landry put up 451 points in 18 games.

 

The Blitz had a huge fourth-quarter lead over the Stars, but Philadelphia came back to beat Chicago 44-38 in OT, and go on to the USFL Championship against the Michigan Panthers.

In 1984, the owners of the Blitz and Wranglers swapped franchises:  Chicago’s owner Ted Dietrich, who lived in Phoenix, bought the Arizona Wranglers and sold the Blitz to James Hoffman, the Wranglers’ owner. In essence, the 1984 Blitz were actually the 1983 Wranglers and vice versa. This was a disaster for the Chicago franchise because the Wranglers won only four games in 1983.

 

Enter Marv Levy!

 

Levy was unaware that the position was available because the legendary Allen was coaching the team after leading the Blitz to the playoffs the year before.

 

“Out of the blue I received a call from the new general manager of the Chicago Blitz, Ron Petasnick,” Levy said, who got his first coaching job under Allen in 1971. 

 

“Petasnick told me, ‘the entire franchise [Blitz] is moving to Arizona and we want you to coach.’”  

 

So Allen hitched up his playoff wagon to Arizona, while Levy was left with an empty cupboard.

 

“After I was at work I realized the entire roster was swapped,” Levy said. “I inherited a team that was 4-14, instead of the playoff team that went to Arizona.” 

'

 

Ironically, the "old" Blitz fulfilled expectation as the Wranglers, making it to the USFL Championship,  while the "new" Blitz suffered through a dismal season and folded at the end of the year.

Things were so bad in Chicago, that sometimes the chartered bus wouldn’t pickup the players after the game because the bill wasn’t paid.


 

“Things were so bad the players had to bring their own toilet paper,” Levy said with a chuckle in his voice. “At Christmas time I gift-wrapped a roll of toilet paper for everyone in the organization.” 



 

Allen as Blitz coach.jpg

George Allen