A public reception was held at the Alabama Sports
Hall of Fame museum celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Birmingham
Americans and the Birmingham
Vulcans. First, a brief history of each team is in order.
The Americans and Vulcans were participants in the
World Football League. The league only lasted one and a half
years. However, the Americans and the Vulcans were the cream of
the crop each year.
In 1974 the Americans were part of the WFL's
inaugural season. Owned by William Putnam and coached by Jack
Gotta, the Americans fought their way through the season's
opponents as well as the league's troubles. Other teams moved, folded
and changed owners but the Americans held firm. Eventually, the Americans made it to the
playoffs, where they won two more games before meeting the Florida
Blazers in the first ever World Bowl. And as was the case
throughout the year, the Americans won another close, hard-fought
game. Birmingham had its first Champion!
In 1975, Putnam decided to shop his franchise
around to other cities. This allowed a group of local businessmen,
headed by Ferd Weil and A. E. "Pee Wee" Burgess, to
bring their own franchise to Birmingham just as the entire league
was reorganizing to try and stay afloat. They were named the
Vulcans and while the team was made up of most of the same
players, they continued the winning tradition set down by the
Americans the year before. Gotta moved to the front office while
Marvin Bass took the reins as head coach. Unfortunately, the
league's future would not be as bright as everyone had hoped, and the league
folded twelve games into the second season.
With such a winning tradition over that brief
time, the Americans and Vulcans became fan favorites through the
years. And to celebrate, a reunion was held to celebrate the 30th
Anniversary of the Americans and Vulcans. Many fans, old and
young, came by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame museum to rekindle
friendships and make new memories. Former players and coaches came
from around the country. A co-owner and two cheerleaders came by.
We even met the IRS agent responsible for helping the World Bowl
take place after the team's ownership had not paid players and
debtors for weeks.
To a man, the players said that playing in
Birmingham was the highlight of their careers and they were
treated so well by the fans here that they never forgot us.
Hopefully, with this reunion we showed them that we had never
forgotten them as well.
Event organizer Greg Allred watches as Brian Clark of
Nestle USA, the event's major sponsor, presents
George Mira with his World Bowl ring.
Quarterback George Mira tells the crowd how
much the team appreciated the positive atmosphere
provided them in 1974 and 1975.
World Football League co-founder Donald Regan
explaining the league's goals and how close they
were to actually
Quarterback George Mira, quarterback Matthew
linebacker Jimmy Teal.
Safety Larry Willingham, tackle Bob Tatarek,
linebacker Warren Capone
and guard Gary Gennerich.
Receiver Dennis Homan, center John Matlock,
fullback Carl Bartles
and linebacker Gary Champagne.