Will Birmingham join the Universal Football League?

October 5, 1973
At a press conference in Dayton, Ohio, the Universal Football League announces its intention to begin play in 1974. Birmingham is among the cities listed as founding franchises.  Other cities named are New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Memphis, Anaheim, Mexico City (Mexico), and Toronto (Canada).

League organizers Tony Rizzano and Louis S. Goldman say their league would field 10 teams from the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Rizzano and Goldman are both sports agents from Dayton, Ohio.

Games would be played with new rules, including several used by the Canadian Football League. "We will use rules that combine the best of U.S. and Canadian football, plus some wrinkles," Rizzano said. Teams will get 3 chances to earn a first down, have 12 players on each side, will kick off from the 20 yard line, and field goals will be worth more points the longer the kick.

Not just the rules are different. The UFL will employ a different type of player. "We expect to man our clubs with faster, more mobile players both in the line and the backfield. We'll feature quarterbacks who can run as well as pass. More movement, more excitement, more scoring - that's what we're after," Rizzano said.

Prospective franchise owners would be charged $3 million in cash for their franchises.

The UFL announcement comes just days after plans were unveiled for Gary Davidson's World Football League. Birmingham, as well as most of the other cities of the UFL, are sites planned for the WFL.

January 15, 1974
Razzano, still holding on to his dream, announces the UFL would hold off until the spring of 1975 to begin play due to stiff competition from the WFL.

With the World Football League playing for almost 2 seasons, the Universal Football League was never able to advance past the planning stages.

Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: January 12, 2018