(Chuck Fusina photo courtesy of Penn State)
(Carl Peterson photo courtesy of Kansas City Chiefs)
Talk of Fame Network
On the 30th anniversary of the demise of the USFL, former Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars’ executive Carl Peterson — who later ran the Kansas City Chiefs — chose his all-USFL team for the Talk of Fame Network, and look no farther than the game’s most important position for his biggest surprise.
Peterson picked the Stars’ Chuck Fusina over Hall-of-Famers Jim Kelly and Steve Young and over Bobby Hebert as his quarterback, and on the latest broadcast of the Talk of Fame Network, he explained why.
“Well, succinctly, Chuck Fusina threw for over 10,000 yards, 66 touchdowns, 33 interceptions in a running offense,” Peterson said. “And Jim Kelly threw for about 9,800 yards, 83 touchdowns and (45) ( interceptions.
“But I think the other criteria that you have to evaluate at quarterback is: Does he help you win? And without question Chuck Fusina helped us win 48 out of 60 games.
“He was the consummate quarterback; one of the brightest people ive ever been involved with. I think even George Allen – the late, great George Allen, who was coaching the Arizona Wranglers (in 1984) – put Chuck up there in his top five, including every NFL quarterback he ever faced and coached.”
Fusina played the lead role in Peterson’s fondest USFL memory, a 1983 come-from-behind defeat of Chicago in the first-ever UFL playoff game. Down by 21 points with nine-and-a-half minutes left, Fusina led a furious rally with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, sending the game into overtime.
The Stars won 44-38, with Fusina completing 14 of 17 for 158 yards in those fourth-quarter drives and in seven minutes of overtime. He also ran three times for 54 yards and two first downs and caught a pass for a touchdown late in the first half.
In short, he did it all.
“Once we were in overtime,” Peterson said, “I think everyone knew what the outcome would be. George Allen (then the Blitz coach) could not say enough to me about that game and, again, the performance of Chuck Fusina.
“Chuck did the same thing at college at Penn State, and (former coach) Joe Paterno told me that ‘the only thing that is important … and Chuck does a thing that we all like … is win.’ And he did a lot of winning for us.