Alan Risher
Date of birth: (1961-05-06)May 6, 1961
Place of birth: New Orleans, LA, United States
Career information
Position(s): QB
College: LSU
 As player:
Arizona Wranglers (USFL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
Playing stats at

Alan David Risher (born May 6, 1961 in New Orleans, LA) was a quarterback in the United States Football League who played for the Arizona Wranglers. The USFL was a 12 team league in 1983, so although Risher was drafted 170th overall in the league's 1983 draft, he was actually the team's 15th round pick that year.[1] Risher was the starting QB for the Wranglers for most of the league's initial 1983 season. He is known best for directing what is widely acknowledged as the greatest upset in USFL history. He backed up Greg Landry on the 1984 Western Conference Champion Wranglers squad.

He would later play in the National Football League for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers[2] going 2-1 as a starting QB for the Packers during the strike.[3] Risher played collegiate ball for Louisiana State University.[4] Alan, has a son, Chad Risher, who owns his own business in Charlotte, NC.[5]

1983 SeasonEdit

Greatest upset in USFL historyEdit

The matchup between the Arizona Wranglers and George Allen's Chicago Blitz that occurred Saturday, March 12, 1983 is widely considered the greatest upset in league history.

The Wranglers opened their initial season with two rookies competing for the starting QB job. Risher and fellow Rookie QB Todd Krueger of Northern Michigan had both played poorly in the teams' 24-0 opening loss to the Oakland Invaders, combining for 140 total yards passing on 32 attempts. Wrangler Coach Doug Shively decided to go with Risher as the starter in week 2, vs. the league's preseason title favorite, the Chicago Blitz. NFL veteran head coach George Allen had stocked his Blitz team with NFL vets and CFL all-stars. Most media experts saw the Blitz as "NFL caliber" and thought the team would dominate the league. Some even questioned whether the Blitz would lose a game after seeing the team destroy the Craig James-led Washington Federals in week one, 28-7.

The Wranglers, on the flipside, were assumed to be the league's worst team. For three quarters, the matchup between the Blitz and Wranglers played to expectations. With 11:23 left in the fourth quarter Blitz QB, longtime NFL vet Greg Landry, hit TE Paul Ricker with a 15 yard TD pass to put the Blitz up 29-12. After the ensueing kickoff, Risher brought his team to life. He drove his team 85 yards down the field hitting FSU Rookie WR Jackie Flowers on a 10 yard TD pass. The team successfully went for two, when Riser connected with University of Arizona Rookie TE Mark Keel, cutting the lead to 29-20. The Wrangler defense stiffened up and stopped the Blitz on the next series, forcing a punt.

After a short punt, Risher started on the Blitz 45 yard line and quickly took the team in for another score, this one a 9 yard pass to BYU rookie WR Neil Balholm. The kick was good and with 2:48 left in the game, the score was 29-27 Chicago. The Wranglers' Defense came up with another stop and after another punt, Risher and the offense had the ball on the Arizona 42 with 1:06 to play. Risher guided the team into field goal range and with one second left Wranglers kicker Jim Asmus kicked through the game winner.

The Wranglers improbable 30-29 come from behind victory over Chicago is considered by most to be the biggest upset in league history and one of that league's most important moments.[6] The outcome of the game gave viability to the other teams in the league early in the season and told football fans that there was nothing inevitable about any USFL game's outcome.

Risher & the Wranglers FlourishEdit

Fueled by their comeback win, the young Wranglers flourished. Risher started the next 4 games and led the team to a 3-3 record putting the team in a 4 way tie for the Pacific Division lead. Risher struggled in week 7, giving way to Krueger after 2 Interceptions in an ugly 44-23 loss to the potent Johnnie Walton-led Boston Breakers. Risher came back to start the following week, throwing 3 TDs and playing an error free game, leading the Wranglers back into a tie for first in the division with a 24-3 victory over their Division rivals, the Denver Gold.

The Losing StreakEdit

From here the season collapsed for Risher and his 4-4 Wranglers. They would finish with a USFL record 10 straight losses.[7] Although, Riser, Keel, Balholm, and Flowers would all end the season among the league leaders,[8] the team was legitimately among the youngest and least talented in the league. The defense and offense were both inconsistent. As the rest of the league rounded into midseason form, the offense struggled and the Wrangler D had difficulties keeping the games within reach. Talent and depth shortfalls, the "Arizona heat", the young team collectively hitting a "rookie wall", and bad coaching are listed as possible factors credited with the collapse of the 1983 Wranglers.

Risher was generally solid if unspectacular down the stretch, but had one truly awful game --- in the Wranglers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Bandits in week 11, throwing 4 INTs in a very winnable game. In weeks 14-16, Risher was repeatedly yanked from the game by Coach Doug Shively. Risher did not play in weeks 17 and 18.

In spite of the team's finish, Risher would finish the season as the league's 6th ranked QB in 1983.[8]


After the season, the Wranglers were sold to Blitz owner Dr. Ted Diethrich. Coach Shively was fired. The teams traded rosters with the exception of Risher, who stayed in Arizona to serve as backup to Landry on the 1984 Western Conference Champion Arizona Wranglers. Risher would throw 103 passes in 1984 in relief of Landry.

NFL YearsEdit

Risher was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 and started for the Green Bay Packers strike team in 1987, posting a career rating of 80.0 in the NFL in leading the team to a 2-1 record.

Career statsEdit

Year Team GP Att Com Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1983Arizona Wranglers1642423655.7%2672201674.7
1984Arizona Wranglers--1036361.2%7223763.7
USFL Regular Season Career Totals --52729956.7%3394232372.6
Year Team GP Att Com Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1985Tampa Bay Buccaneers16000.0%0000.0
1987Green Bay Packers3744459.5%5643380.0
NFL Regular Season Career Totals 19744459.5%5643380.0

Key to Abbreviations
GP= Games Played
Att= Passes attempted
Com= Passes Completed
Pct= Completion percentage
Yds= Yards
TD= Touchdowns
Int= Interceptions
Rate= Passer rating

Preceded by
Arizona Wranglers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Greg Landry


  1. "Arizona Wranglers 1983 Draft". USFL Info. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  2. " - Alan Risher". Retrieved October 7, 2008.[dead link]
  3. "Alan Risher Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  4. "Alan Risher Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  5. Risher, Chad. "Risher Business Consultants, Inc". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  6. "Arizona Wranglers". Our Sports Central. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  7. "Remember the Arizona Wranglers". Remember the USFL. Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "1983 USFL Statistical Leaders". USFL Info. Retrieved February 12, 2009.