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The Birmingham Americans were the most successful of the World Football League franchises. Founded in late December 1973, they led the league in attendance and won all 13 home games at legendary Legion Field. The Americans won the 1974 World Bowl and were granted the 1975 title when the league ceased operations.

Franchise history

Businessman Bill Putnam was awarded an expansion franchise for the World Football League and secured a lease to play at Legion Field. Vince Costello, an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals was chosen as Head Coach/General Manager. A few days after the announcement, he turned down the job to become an assistant with the Miami Dolphins. Jack Gotta, head coach of the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, was hired. Gotta put together a solid squad, including veteran quarterback George Mira, rookie passer Matthew Reed, fullback Charley Harraway, wide receiver Dennis Homan and former St. Louis Cardinals and Auburn standout safety Larry Willingham.

Birmingham competed in the Central Division, along with the Chicago Fire, Memphis Southmen, and Detroit Wheels. Their first game was played on July 10, 1974 against the Southern California Sun. The Ams won 11-7. They would go on to win their first 10 games. One memorable game was played against the Chicago Fire in Birmingham, while Hurricane Carmen poured down.

Although they slumped to a .500 record in the second half, it was enough to finish second, behind Central Division winning Memphis at 15-5. After beating The Hawaiians in the semifinals, 22-19, the Americans advanced to the league's title game, hosting what turned out to be the only World Bowl played. Birmingham beat the Florida Blazers 22-21.

After the championship victory, members of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department seized the team's equipment due to unpaid debts. The Birmingham franchise was soon taken over by the re-formed "new" World Football League. A new team came in 1975, the Birmingham Vulcans.

Trivia

Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler signed with Birmingham. Stabler was scheduled to start during the 1976 season, but the league ceased operations. Other notable signees who never played were several Dallas Cowboys linemen.

External links

World Football League
Birmingham Americans (1974) | Birmingham Vulcans (1975) | Charlotte Stars (1974) | Charlotte Hornets (1974-75) | Chicago Fire (1974) | Chicago Winds (1975) | Detroit Wheels (1974) | Florida Blazers (1974) | The Hawaiians (1974-75) | Houston Texans (1974) | Jacksonville Sharks (1974) | Jacksonville Express (1975) | Memphis Southmen (1974-75) | New York Stars (1974) | Philadelphia Bell (1974-75) | Portland Storm (1974) | Portland Thunder (1975) | San Antonio Wings (1975) | Shreveport Steamer (1974-75) | Southern California Sun (1974-75)
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