1974 BIRMINGHAM AMERICANS WFL’s only Champion

Gary Davidson in 1973 announced plans for a 12 team Pro League to begin July 1974 and wind up with a World Bowl Championship, the first week of December.  The league unfortunately had few millionaires and too many doctors, dentists and car dealers for owners, thus the lack of a lot money.

The league had three divisions: Eastern with Florida Blazers, New York Stars, Philadelphia Bell, Jacksonville Sharks.  Central Division with Memphis Southmen (probably the most talented team at 17-3), Chicago Fire and Detroit Wheels. Western Division with Southern California Sun, Hawaii Hawaiians, Portland Storm and Houston Texans.

The season would consist of 20 games for each team.  During the season, there were a number of franchise city shifts and folding of teams.  Some teams played 20 games, many played less. The final four were Birmingham Americans, Florida Blazers, Philadelphia Bell and Memphis Southmen.

The WFL had a number of rule changes from the NFL. The changes are:

  1. Touchdowns are worth 7 points.
  2. No kicking of extra points, the Action Point was started from the 2.5 yard line and was earned by a pass or a run.  A TD with an Action Point would give a team 8 points.
  3. Goal post was near the end of the end zone. NFL adopted.
  4. Kickoffs from the 30 yard line.
  5. Missed FGs returned to line of scrimmage. NFL adopted.
  6. Receivers need one foot in bounds for catch.
  7. Fifth quarter split into two 7.5 minute halves to break ties.
  8. No fair catches on punt returns.
  9. An offense back can go in motion toward line of scrimmage.
  10. Harsh marks moved more to center of field. NFL adopted.
  11. Offensive holding reduced to 10 yards from 15 yards. NFL adopted.

The Birmingham Americans going 15-5 during the season, playing tough football beat the Hawaiians 22-19 and then beat the Blazers 22-21 for the TITLE because of a missed Action Point by Florida.

Starting Lineup and some numbers: Offense (39-basic and master)

QB(3)-George Mira-passing one 2, two-3, one-5, three-7s. 49.5% complete, 17 Td and 14 Int.

FB(3)-Charlie Harraway-running two-15s, 4-16s, and two-17s. 496 yards rushing and 3.6 avg.

HB(3)-Paul Robinson-running one-2, one-15, two-16s. 599 yards rushing for 3.6 avg.

WR(4)-Dennis Homan-A-9 61 rec, 930 yards.

E(5)(1974 terminology for wide receiver or Tight End)-Alfred Jenkins A-8 60-Rec, 1326 yards.

E(2)-Jim Bishop C-5 Rec-17 237 Yards.

C(3)-John Matlock 6-3, 248 Lb.

G(5)-Buddy Brown 6-1, 250 Lb. All Pro

G(3)-Joe O’Donnell 6-3, 250 Lb.

T(5)-Bob Wolfe 6-6, 250 Lb. All Pro

T(3)-Paul Costa 6-4, 244 Lb.

Defense (40 basic and master)

FS(3)-Dicky Lyons 3 Int.   SS(4)-Randy Lee 2 Int.

CB(4)-Steve Williams 2 Int.  CB(3)-Cecil Leonard 4 Int.

MLB(4)-Warren Capone 4 Int.

LB(5)-Ross Brupbacher 4 Int. All Pro  LB(4) Jimmy Teal 2 Int.

DT(3)-Clarence Washington 6-3 270 Lb.  DT(3) John Andrews 6-5 265 Lb.

DE(4)-Dick Trower 6-4 245 Lb.  DE(3)-Larry Estes 6-6 260 Lb.

2 thoughts on “1974 BIRMINGHAM AMERICANS WFL’s only Champion

    • There were 146 former or future NFL-AFL players in the WFL.  The USFL had many, many more including HOF Jim Kelly, Steve Young and Sam Mills. a number of USFL players played on Super Bowl teams like Bart Oates, Kent Hull, Kelvin Bryant and Ricky Sanders.  A full research would show that the USFL would standup in certain cases very well vs. the NFL.

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