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Birmingham Americans 30th Anniversary logo

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

A 30th anniversary celebration for the Birmingham Americans and the Birmingham Vulcans.


June 10, 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

The Americans and Vulcans were Birmingham's franchises in the World Football League, which lasted one and a half seasons. 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 R. 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, or 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. As was the case for most of that season, the Americans won a close, hard-fought game.

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 field a brand new franchise for Birmingham. The league itself was reorganizing to try and stay afloat. The new team was named the Vulcans and was made up of most of the same players from the year before. And they continued the winning tradition started by the Americans. Gotta moved to the front office while one of his former Americans assistants, Marvin Bass, took over the reins as head coach. Unfortunately, the World Football League's future would not be as bright as everyone had hoped, and the league folded 12 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. Many fans, old and young, came by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame museum to meet their heroes, rekindle friendships, and make new memories. Former players and coaches came from around the country. A co-owner and two cheerleaders came by. The local Internal Revenue Service agent responsible for helping the World Bowl take place after the team's ownership had not paid players and debtors for weeks dropped by with all his notes!

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 that they never forgot us. Hopefully, this reunion showed them we had never forgotten them as well.
 
 
Photographs
  
Photograph
Event organizer Greg Allred watches as Brian Clark of
Nestle USA, the event's major sponsor, presents
George Mira with his World Bowl ring.
 
Photograph
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
(L to R): Quarterback George Mira, quarterback Matthew Reed,
linebacker Jimmy Teal
 
Photograph
(L to R): Safety Larry Willingham, tackle Bob Tatarek, linebacker Warren Capone,
guard Gary Gennerich
 
Photograph
(L to R): Receiver Dennis Homan, center John Matlock, fullback Carl Bartles,
linebacker Gary Champagne
 
 
Sponsors
 
Nestles logo Carlile's BBQ logo Tin Roof BBQ

(no longer in operation)
 
 
Organizers
 
Greg Alred (WFL1974.com)
Gene Crowley (BirminghamProSports.com)
Tony Walls
Mark Walls
Mark Hayne  
Steve Turner
Joe DeLeonard
 
 
 
Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: October 24, 2018