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Birmingham Americans 30th Anniversary logo

 Reunion Recap And Photographs

 
  

July 2004

  
         
   

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.

Photograph
Event organizer Greg Allred watches as Brian Clark of
Nestle USA, the event's major sponsor, presents
quarterback George Mira with his World Bowl ring.

Photograph
Quarterback George Mira tells the crowd how
much the team appreciated the positive atmosphere
the fans provided them in 1974 and 1975.

Photograph
World Football League co-founder Donald Regan
explaining the league's goals and how close they
were to actually fulfilling them.

Photograph
Quarterback George Mira, quarterback Matthew Reed and
linebacker Jimmy Teal.

Photograph
Safety Larry Willingham, tackle Bob Tatarek, linebacker Warren Capone
and guard Gary Gennerich.

Photograph
Receiver Dennis Homan, center John Matlock, fullback Carl Bartles
and linebacker Gary Champagne.

  
         
 
 

 Event Sponsors

   wfl1974.com - A tribute to the Birmingham Americans and Birmingham Vulcans

 Nestle USA - Makers of fine products such as Baby Ruth, Butterfingers, Coffee-Mate, NesQuik, NesTea and Nestle Toll House cookies.

 Tin Roof BBQ - 4524 Southlake Parkway, Hoover - (205) 987-4002

 Carlisle's Barbecue - 3511 6th Avenue South, Birmingham - (205) 254-9266

 Greg Allred

 Gene Crowley

 Tony Walls

 Mark Walls

 Steve Turner

 Joe DeLeonard

 Mark Hayne

 
 
 
   Email Gene Crowley

Last Update: January 21, 2007