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Team and League History

February 18, 1982
A local group named Deep South Sports Projects, Inc. announces it has secured a new franchise in the American Football Association and will play a 10 game regular season schedule beginning in May.

In 1978, the Alabama Vulcans played one season in the AFA before folding due to financial difficulties.

This season, the league will be split into three divisions, with the top teams in each division playing in playoff games on August 7th and 14th, with the American Bowl championship game scheduled to be played on August 21st.

The team has already reserved Legion Field for three home games and is negotiating to play their remaining two home games in other stadiums around the state. In doing so, they hope to broaden their fan base.

     American Football Association logo
Former Auburn University wide receiver Jim Patton has been named general manager of the unnamed team. "Deep South is excited about this opportunity to bring professional football to Alabama and to provide a forum for exceptional athletes to perform. We intend to field a winning team, playing an exciting brand of football in a league getting stronger each year. We have the best location and schedule in the Southeast Division and we intend to build a winning organization in every respect."

According to Deep South promotion manager Clay Collins, the name of the franchise will be taken from suggestions made by the fans. "The league has asked for a team name quickly, but since this team will represent Alabama, we feel the fans should name the team. The perfect name is out there in somebody's head and we want to find it."

The AFA will be beginning its sixth season this summer. According to AFA commissioner and president Roger Gill, "It's another shot for that near-miss player who didn't happen to be in the right place at the right time."

Players will be paid 1% of the gate after stadium rental is paid.

April 5, 1982
It is announced the team name would be chosen from popular suggestions of Magic, Ironmen, and Spirit.

April 6, 1982
     Photograph      Photograph
  Co-owner James Patton   Co-owner and head coach
Steve Patton
Steve Patton is introduced as the team's head coach. Steve Patton, who is the brother of general manager Jim Patton, is currently the head football coach and athletic director at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, South Carolina. Steve Patton has no plans to leave his high school job at this time.

At the same press conference, Collins commented on the future of the new franchise by saying, "Our reception has been very good from individuals. Of course, the city has been burned by some teams in the past, and we have to establish our credibility. People are looking for straight shooters, and that's what we intend to be. We're not a group of people coming in from out of town. Everybody in our organization is local and interested in the community. We're not making a lot of promises we can't keep. What we want is to build a solid foundation, pay our bills as we go and be here for the long run. We've met some resistance. A lot of people have been burned by previous pro football groups and we know that. We simply want to let them know where we're coming from. We plan to do something here that hasn't been done before - shoot straight. This is a struggling league we're involved with, and we're not trying to compete with Alabama or Auburn or the National Football League in attendance. We're trying to present another avenue for athletes, not only for Birmingham, but for the state."

April 7, 1982
It is announced that the team will be known as the Alabama Magic. Multiple entries for "Magic" were received, so all the contestant names were placed in a hat and the winner was a local youngster named Scott Adamson.

May 11, 1982
Steve Patton says he wants more time to judge the future of his AFA franchise in light of the news that a United States Football League team is coming to town next year.

"We've got to see how the AFA does this year. And, of course, the other league is a first-year league and we'll have to see how they do. It will give more players an opportunity to play. If they do better than us, we'll probably move to another area, but I don't foresee that. I understand they are going to schedule everything around cable TV, which will probably make them some money. But it doesn't turn me on to have a game every night of the week instead of all on the same night, just for TV. I don't think they're so concerned about people coming to the games. I think I can announce about us getting a cable TV deal going soon. But I'm really all for them. I'm for any business that can employ a lot of people and pay its bills," Steve Patton said.

American Football Association logo 1982                           
American Football Association                           
xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx
  Alabama Magic logo   Austin Texans logo   Buffalo Geminis logo   Canton Bulldogs logo   Carolina Storm logo  
  Alabama Magic   Austin Texans   Buffalo Geminis   Canton Bulldogs   Carolina Storm
  Florida Statesmen logo   NEED
  Georgia Pride logo   Houston Armadillos logo   Jacksonville Sunbirds logo  
  Florida Statesmen   Florida Sun   Georgia Pride   Houston Armadillos   Jacksonville Sunbirds  
  Oklahoma Thunder logo   Racine Gladiators logo   Roanoke Valley Express logo   San Antonio Bulls logo   Shreveport Americans logo  
  Oklahoma Thunder   Racine Gladiators   Roanoke Valley Express   San Antonio Bulls   Shreveport Americans  
  Texas Wranglers logo   Virginia Chargers logo   West Virginia Rockets logo          
  Texas Wranglers   Virginia Chargers   West Virginia Rockets          

American Football Association
  Austin Texans   Alabama Magic   Buffalo Geminis
  Houston Armadillos   Carolina Storm   Canton Bulldogs
  Oklahoma Thunder   Florida Statesmen   Racine Gladiators
  San Antonio Bulls   Florida Sun   Roanoke Valley Express  
  Shreveport Americans     Georgia Pride   Virginia Chargers
  Texas Wranglers   Jacksonville Sunbirds     West Virginia Rockets  

June 25, 1982
The Florida Suns franchise is revoked by the league office due to their lack of sufficient finances.

July 1, 1982
The league revokes the Roanoke Express franchise due to their bleak financial situation.

July 9, 1982
It is reported that the Magic players have yet to be paid for any of the six games played this season.

August 16, 1982
Jim Patton responds to questions of the Magic's future by saying, "We plan to be in business next year." However, the Magic's fan base is a cause for alarm, with the largest crowd of the season being around 1,500. "A lot of the problem was my fault for getting into it without enough money to properly promote. Next year I plan to have the money to promote," Jim Patton said.

Jim Patton believes there are three main reasons his team didn't draw more fans to the stadium; the news Birmingham was getting a franchise in the USFL diverted interest away from the Magic, support from the business community was low and potential fans underestimated the quality of play. "We had the best players who weren't in the NFL. People who didn't come didn't realize how high the quality was, but those who came did realize it."

On the Magic's financial status, Jim Patton said the team should just about break even, "It looks like we'll have everything completely paid in a month or two. I think we'll be the first team ever in Birmingham to do that."

Jim Patton plans for the Magic to play again next summer, but he wants a few changes made in the AFA. The home team picks officials and and he wants that rule changed. He also wants a rule passed that would guarantee players at least $50 a week. If the AFA doesn't go along, the Magic would fold, however. "If I got out of this league I believe I'd get out of football, unless some of the more credible people in the AFA got together and formed a league," Jim Patton said.

August 24, 1982
Jim Patton claims the AFA is taking steps to strengthen itself for the 1983 season. Jim Patton is also a local attorney and has been appointed legal council to the executive committee that is contemplating the changes. "It looks like each team will have to put $50,000 in escrow as sort of a performance bond. There was no escrow this year. And they're considering upping membership dues, probably to $10,000 per member." Currently, membership dues are $5,000. Players will also be guaranteed pay, probably $100 per game as well as 1% of the gate after expenses have been paid. "They're going to go strictly with strong franchises. That may mean 10 or 12 or 15 teams. We started with 18 and ended up with 15 this year. I'm sure next year we'll finish with what we start with. The bottom line is that if the league exists next year it will be a stable league," Jim Patton said.

Despite the USFL's Birmingham Stallions starting up next year, Jim Patton still insists the Magic will return to play in 1983.

The American Football Association played in 1983 with 10 teams, but it would be the league's final season.

However, the Alabama Magic was not one of the 10 teams.

Scott Adamson, winner of the team name contest, grew up to become a beloved newspaper sports writer in Birmingham for many years before moving to South Carolina.
Alabama Magic logoAlabama Magic logo          Austin Texans logo Austin Texans logo               Buffalo Geminis logo

Canton Bulldogs logoCanton Bulldogs logo                 Carolina Storm logo               Florida Statesmen logoFlorida Statesmen logo

               Georgia Pride logo               Houston Armadillos logo

Jacksonville Sunbirds logo               Oklahoma Thunder logo   Oklahoma Thunder logo              Racine Gladiators logo

Roanoke Valley Express logo               San Antonio Bulls logo               Shreveport Americans logo Shreveport Americans logo              

Texas Wranglers logo               Virginia Chargers logo               West Virginia Rockets logo West Virginia Rockets logo

Champions of the
  American Football Association  
Year Team
  1977     San Antonio Charros
1978   Shreveport Steamer
1979   Jacksonville Firebirds
1980   West Virginia Rockets
1981   West Virginia Rockets (2nd)
1982   Carolina Storm
1983   Carolina Storm (2nd)
           Years local team participated

American Football Association logo Teams of the                         
American Football Association                         
xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx
  Alabama Magic logo   Alabama Vulcans logo   Arkansas Champs logo   Austin Texans logo   Baton Rouge Red Wings logo  
  Alabama Magic
  Alabama Vulcans
  Arkansas Champs
  Austin Texans
1977 to 1978;
1980 to 1982
  Baton Rouge Red Wings
  Buffalo Geminis logo   Canton Bulldogs logo   Carolina Chargers logo   Carolina Storm logo   NEED
  Buffalo Geminis
  Canton Bulldogs
1982 to 1983
  Carolina Chargers
1979 to 1981
  Carolina Storm
1982 to 1983
  Charleston Rockets
  Chicago Fire logo   Dallas Wranglers logo   Florida Statesmen logo   NEED
  Fort Worth Stars logo   
  Chicago Fire
  Dallas Wranglers
  Florida Statesmen
  Florida Sun
  Fort Worth Stars
  Fort Worth Wranglers logo   Georgia Pride logo   Houston Armadillos logo   NEED
  Houston Seagulls logo   
  Fort Worth Wranglers
  Georgia Pride
  Houston Armadillos
  Houston Mustangs
  Houston Seagulls
  Houston Titans logo   Jacksonville Firebirds   Jacksonville Sunbirds logo   Kentucky Trackers logo   Mississippi Stars logo  
  Houston Titans
  Jacksonville Firebirds
1979 to 1981
  Jacksonville Sunbirds
  Kentucky Trackers
1979 to 1980
  Mississippi Stars
  Oklahoma City Drillers logo   Oklahoma Stampede logo   Oklahoma Thunder logo   Oklahoma City Warriors logo   Orlando Americans logo  
  Oklahoma City Drillers
  Oklahoma Stampede
  Oklahoma Thunder
  Oklahoma Warriors
  Orlando Americans
  Racine Gladiators logo   Roanoke Valley Express logo   San Antonio Bulls logo   San Antonio Charros logo  
  Pittsburgh Colts
  Racine Gladiators
  Roanoke Valley Express
  San Antonio Bulls
1982 to 1983
  San Antonio Charros
1977 to 1981
  Shreveport Americans logo   Shreveport Steamer logo   Texas Wranglers logo   Tulsa Mustangs logo   Virginia Chargers logo  
  Shreveport Americans
1982 to 1983
  Shreveport Steamer
1978 to 1981
  Texas Wranglers
1981 to 1982
  Tulsa Mustangs
  Virginia Chargers
  Virginia Hunters logo   West Virginia Rockets logo   Wichita Falls Roughnecks logo    Wichita Falls Steelers logo      
  Virginia Hunters
  West Virginia Rockets
1980 to 1982
  Wichita Falls Roughnecks
  Wichita Falls Steelers
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Last update: September 25, 2023