It’s remarkable that the United Football League could lose so much money – a reported $100 million dollars over its first two seasons – while playing so few actual games. In its 2009 inaugural season, the four-team league staged just twelve games. The following year, the UFL expanded to five teams and played an additional twenty games. Throw in two titles games and the league played a grand total of 34 times in 2009 and 2010 – losing nearly $3 million per game on average.
The Hartford Colonials were a new team for 2010, sort of. The franchise existed the year before as the New York Sentinels, a club which played its three games at a variety of venues just outside New York City, including one game at Hartford’s Rentschler Field. In March 2010, club owner William Mayer formally moved his franchise to Hartford and re-branded the team as the Colonials. Former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Chris Palmer assumed coaching duties. NFL journeyman quarterback Josh McCown signed on as the Colonials best known player and assumed the starter’s role.
The UFL had a national TV deal on the Versus cable network and this October 9th game at Rentschler against the Florida Tuskers was the national game of the week (highlights below). An announced crowd of just over 14,000 – remarkably consistent for all four Colonials home dates in 2010 – turned out to watch the visitors prevail 33-20.
Following the season, Chris Palmer left to become Offensive Coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. The UFL dusted off Jerry Glanville, who last coached pro football in 1993, as his successor for the 2011 season. Before the season could begin, however, the UFL’s growing pile of debts forced the league to contract one of its five teams. 40,000-seat Rentschler Field was the most expensive venue in the league, so the Colonials became the team on the chopping block. The UFL axed the club on August 10, 2011 after months of speculation. Team owner Bill Mayer remained in the league, taking over the owner-less Virginia Destroyers franchise instead.