Former New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert caused quite a stir Monday night after the BCS Championship Game when he challenged LSU coach Les Miles for not pushing the ball down the field against a formidable Alabama pass rush.
(Hebert might also have a beef with Miles for benching offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert late in the season. Yes, T-Bob is Bobby's son.)
But Hebert's name being in the news might remind some Michigan sports fans of the days when he was the quarterback of the last professional football team in Detroit to win a championship. Though it happened almost 30 years ago, some fans still fondly remember Hebert leading the Michigan Panthers to a USFL championship in 1983, the league's inaugural season.
Here's a clip of Hebert connecting with former Michigan receiver Anthony Carter for an 80-yard touchdown in May 1983 at the Pontiac Silverdome:
The two hooked up for the decisive score in a 24-22 championship victory over the Philadelphia Stars. Hebert was the MVP of the game, throwing for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
He recently spoke about the Panthers (along with the Saints and Lions before their playoff game) to the Detroit Free Press:
I lived in the Rochester area and played in the Silverdome. I have fond memories. I remember landing at the airport in Pontiac and having 15,000 to 20,000 fans waiting for us when we came back from Denver winning the championship.
Hebert played two seasons with the Panthers before the team merged with the Oakland Invaders in 1985. The USFL decided to go to a fall schedule for the 1986 season, and the Lions weren't about to share a stadium with a competitor, so the Panthers had to move. Hebert went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL.
The former QB is now a sports talk radio host in New Orleans, and isn't exactly the most objective presence in the press box at the Superdome, as you can see from a video clip here. (No cheering in the press box? No one told Hebert. Not that he would care, either.)
We're definitely skewing old here, so it wouldn't be a surprise if you didn't remember the Panthers, other than perhaps seeing their logo on a vintage t-shirt. Heck, I'm old for a sports blogger and I barely remember those guys. Though as a Michigan fan, I was very aware that Carter was on the team and certainly remember the excitement for championship football in metro Detroit.
Anyone else remember the Michigan Panthers?