Tampa_Bay_Bandits_helmet_1983-1985.png

Tampa Bay Bandits

The Tampa Bay  Bandits, who were owned by John Bassett and actor Burt Reynolds as a partner, were on of the league's most exciting teams. Led by coach Steve Spurrier, the Bandits were a perennial winner and outdrew the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.  The "Bandit Ball" averaged 43,758 fans per-game. 

 

Spurrier had an exciting team with QB John Reeves throwing for 28 Touchdowns and HB Gary Anderson rushing for 19 in 1984 as the Bandits won 14 games.  Tampa Bay went on to win 35 games and scored 1266 points in their three years of existence.

The Bucs won only 10 games from '83 through '85. “Bandit-Ball was a much hotter draw in Tampa than the Buccaneers were back then,” says Steve Erhart, a former USFL executive. “In the local market place, with Steve Spurrier were a popular and more exciting in a lot of ways than the NFL team.”

Dave Lapham, who was a teammate of Reaves in Cincinnati, “Reaves and Steve Spurrier were a match made in Heaven. A couple of Florida Gators that believed in slinging it – they just clicked. It was like Spurrier was living through Reaves with that offense.”