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Birmingham Barracudas logo Canadian Football League
Legion Field

Team and League History


July 11, 1988
     Canadian Football League logo
Canadian Football League commissioner Doug Mitchell indicates in an interview that the league may consider dropping its unique rules and expand into the United States.

Mitchell said the league will form a long-term planning committee that would study the prospect of expanding into such cities as Birmingham, Baltimore, Oakland, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Memphis, Portland, Sacramento, and New York.

Mitchell believes that a new league could be organized by someone within the next 4 years and would like to see the CFL move into those cities first.

CFL rules such as a wider field, 12 players to a side, 3 downs to make a 1st down, and the "rouge" which is a single point for balls downed in the end zone, make some wonder if the league would be accepted by American fans. Jerry Sklar, former president and general manager of the defunct United States Football League's Birmingham Stallions, is one of those people. "I think Birmingham is a good football town. I don't know if CFL football would be acceptable here, but I do know that American football is very acceptable here. If they want to expand into the US, they are going to have to change a number of their rules to Americanize their game to make it as popular as it needs to be to be successful."

In Canada, the game of football developed through rugby associations organized in each province. In 1884, the Canadian Rugby Football Union was created as the sports governing body. By 1890, the game was played in each province and it is from this organization that the Canadian Football League developed. 

Melvin Miller, director of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, said the city would welcome the CFL. "Its a pretty stable league. Our ultimate goal would be something with the National Football League but certainly the CFL is not bad."

November 1993
The Sacramento Gold Miners became the first American team to play in the history of the CFL.

November 1994
The CFL adds 3 more American teams, the Baltimore Stallions, the Shreveport Pirates, and the Las Vegas Posse.

January 11, 1995
The CFL announces that Birmingham has been awarded one of the league's 2 expansion franchises for 1995. Memphis will receive the other expansion franchise.

The Birmingham franchise will be owned by insurance magnate A. L. "Art" Williams. Williams, also a published author and motivational speaker, made his fortune in selling term life insurance through his own business before selling it to Primerica Corporation in 1989. Williams also holds a Master's Degree in education from Auburn.

the Las Vegas franchise folded and the Sacramento franchise will relocate to San Antonio.

May 23, 1989
Jack Pardee is named the Birmingham Barracudas head coach.

Pardee is unique among coaches; he is the only person who has been a coach in the NCAA's Division 1-A level, the National Football League, the United States Football League, the World Football League, and now the Canadian Football League. 

During his college years, Pardee played for Paul "Bear" Bryant at Texas A&M. Pardee and Gene Stallings were survivors of Bryant's famed Junction preseason camp in 1954.
 
In 1957, Pardee joined the NFL's Los Angeles Rams as a linebacker and played for 15 years. A battle with cancer forced Pardee to miss the 1965 NFL season. During that time, he was an assistant to Stallings at Texas A&M. Pardee got his first job in the professional in 1973 an assistant with the NFL's Washington Redskins. His first head coaching job came in 1974, when he was hired to coach the WFL's Florida Blazers. Pardee took that team to the World Bowl in 1974 where the Blazers lost to the Birmingham Americans. In 1975, Pardee was the youngest head coach in the NFL when the Chicago Bears hired him and he served in that role for 3 years. From 1978 to 1980, Pardee was head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins. In 1981, he was the defensive coordinator for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. In 1982, Pardee took a break from coaching and worked at Runnels Mud Company as their vice president of marketing. The upstart USFL came calling in 1984, and Pardee was head coach of the Houston Gamblers for 2 years. In 1986 he served as a scout with the NFL's Green Bay Packers. In 1987, he went to the University of Houston as their head coach for 3 years. Pardee was the head coach of the NFL's Houston Oilers from 1990 to 1994.

"I'm not here as a stepping stone to somewhere else. What I plan on doing is spending the rest of my coaching career here," Pardee said.

June 1995

1995
Canadian Football League
North Division South Division
  British Columbia Lions   Baltimore Stallions
  Calgary Stampeders   Birmingham Barracudas   
  Edmonton Eskimos   Memphis Mad Dogs
  Hamilton Tiger-Cats   San Antonio Texans
  Ottawa Rough Riders   Shreveport Pirates
  Saskatchewan Roughriders     
  Toronto Argonauts  
  Winnipeg Blue Bombers  

Baltimore Stallions logo    Birmingham Barracudas logo    British Columbia Lions logo    Calgary Stampeders logo
              
Edmonton Eskimos logo   Hamilton Tiger-Cats logo   Memphis Mad Dogs logo   Ottawa Rough Riders logo
              
San Antonio Texans logo   Saskatchewan Roughriders logo   Shreveport Pirates logo   Toronto Argonauts logo
              
Winnipeg Blue Bombers logo            

Epilogue
In 1996, the Baltimore franchise moved to Montreal to become the Alouettes, but due to financial hardships the remaining American-based franchises folded, effectively ending the CFL's American experiment.



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Last update: May 11, 2018