Wizza

Looking Back At Various Birmingham ProFootball Teams

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With rumors floating of a possible comeback of the XFL, I remembered the last time Birmingham, Alabama had a pro outdoor football team. Up until the United Football League, there had been a Birmingham team in most startup pro football leagues. Now timeline may be a bit iffy like the last look back I did but I hope you will get a general sense of what the teams were like. This is little simpler than last time as many of teams lived brief lives. Sometimes glorious, sometimes not.

 

First off, we have the 1974 Birmingham Americans of the World Football League, they will be first Birmingham team in the WFL and the only champions as the league fold shortly into its 2nd season.

 

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The logo was an A that alluded to the American flag with 3 red stripes making up one half of the A and a solid blue part making the other. Pretty prominently featured is the star made out of the negative space created by the blue and red halves, A little blue triangle was added at the bottom to complete the star. 

 

There were two alternate logos that were used

 

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This one is the primary logo with an Birmingham Americans wordmark up top. Birmingham being in blue and Americans in red.

 

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The 2nd had the blue wordmark moved to the right side and the font changed

 

 

 

 

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The road jerseys were blue with white numbers and an alternating red-white stripes on the sleeve

 

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Pants were white complemented by a red belt and had a blue stripe bookended by red -white stripes on both side. Pants were not changed for home jerseys

 

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Home jerseys were white with blue numbers outlined in red and there was an alternating red-blue stripe on the sleeve. 

 

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it appears the 0 and holes in 8 in the numbers on sleeves ere filled in with red

 

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Socks were the same for both home and road with a pattern of blue-white-red-white-red-white-blue

 

 

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Helmets were white with  grey facemasks and the primary logo were on both sides. There was a blue stripe bookended on both sides by a red stripe. 

 

The Americans would fold after the 1974 WFL season but was replaced with the Vulcans for the 1975 season

 

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The Vulcans primary logo was a blue V with a red flare enclosed in a blue circle. The V was designed to resemble a torch with the flare being a flame, the V following in the Americans footsteps used negative space to create a shape which in the Vulcans case was a football.

 

 

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The alternate logo was the torch V placed in a blue wordmark

 

 

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Uniforms did not change much. 

 

 

 

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Socks were same for both road and home. blue-red stripes bookending a white stripe in middle.

 

 

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Helmets essentially the same aside from a logo change and the addition of a blue facemask

 

 

Although the WFL went under, the Vulcans moniker would resurface in the American Football Association a few years later. As this is a bit obscure minor league football team, scant info exists on the web.

 

Team logo

 

The AFA Vulcans ditched the red, white, and blue color scheme of the previous Vulcans and opted for red and black. The primary logo can be seen as a spin on the Americans land Vulcans logo. As it is the Americans A and the letter V conjoined together. This time with no negative space in the A which is replaced by a football. There still is use of a negative space to create a torch with the insides of a V.

 

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Only uniform I could find is a black uniform with red number outlined in white. The stripes on the sleeves were orange-white-orange-white-orange. Atop the numbers, you can see there is a Vulcans wordmark in orange outlined in white. The V is made of three red stripes and a black part. The V makes a torch out of the negative space and a flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wizza
this was not done.

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The Alabama Vulcans would play one year before folding.

 

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4 years later, the Stallions will come trotting along with the USFL. The logo features prominently a horse atop a the word Stallions bookended on both sides by red and gold stripes. Behind the horse is Birmingham arched into a semi-circle with the inner semi circle being gold, the outer two halves is red and gold.

 

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white jerseys had red numbers outlined in gold with red, white, white, gold stripes on the sleeve with number up top. They were paired with either white pants or gold pants. They both had a solid red stripe down the side.

 

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Red jersey had white numbers outlined in gold with the stripes on the sleeves alternating between white and gold. numbers also on sleeve above stripes. Socks were white for both jersey sets

 

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Helmets were gold with a red facemask and red stripe down the middle. adorning both sides was a red horse. 

 

A few years after the demise of the Stallions came along the Fire of the WLAF. Here is where we start to stray away from conventional/traditional football

looks of previous franchises

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The Fire logo is a blue fire script a red Birmingham. The R is on fire with a massive flame stretching back left.

 

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The uniforms were insanely dark blue. The blue unis had white numbers outlined in red with TV numbers. on the shoulder. A first for Birmingham franchises. The most striking feature is the  red flame on the both sleeves outlined in orange

 

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1991 had red numbers outline by blue. the flame detail is carried over from the black jersey

 

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Pants were white and a blue-orange-red-orange-blue stripe down the side

 

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1992 brought little change to the black jersey as far as I know. The colors on the white numbers unis were switched. 

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See the source image

 

 

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Helmets were in that deep dark blue along with the facemask. adorning each side was flame decals

 

 

Following the demise of the Fire, the CFL rolled in with the Barracudas

 

 

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Logo has Birmingham in blue atop Barra with the Barracuda being in a gradient from white to burnt in orange highlighted by teal all within a black outline. Most prominently is barracuda making the C.

 

 

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Alternate logo has the Barracuda under Birmingham Barracuda script. Barracuda is white highlighted by orange. Birmingham appears to be black with the I,R being white as it is over the Barracuda.

 

 

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White uniforms had teal shoulders and numbers. Numbers are highlighted in burnt orange and on the right side up instead of centrally located. Barracuda fins on the sleeves. most prominently featured is the CUDA which is taken is taken from the logo. On the side of the sleeves is a half white, half burnt orange B with a barracuda wrapped around (pictured better below)

 

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More or less the same for black jersey except numbers are white and highlighted in that burnt orange. 

 

 

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Black helmets with a black facemask. Barracuda decal on both sides of helmet

 

The fish out of water did not last long. Going for one season in 1995 before being along with the rest of the CFL USA teams. 

 

 

Well, we're on the last one, the Birmingham ThunderBolts.

 

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logo continues tradition of wordmarks with white Birmingham Bolts scripts radiating  yellow lightning with purple highlights

 

 

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Various other logos. purple B surrounded by yellow lighting is used on the sleeves while the bolts without Birmingham script is on the front of jersey above numbers

 

 

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The Bolts bring back stripes on the sleeves. Yellow-white stripes on the purple jerseys. White numbers outlined in yellow

 

 

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Purple numbers outlined in yellow on white jerseys. Sleeves are purple

 

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Bolts had white and purple pants. White pants had yellow stripe surrounded by purple down the side while it is yellow-white double stripe on the purple.

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The helmet is incredibly unique. The lightning B logo sits atop the nose bumper and the lightning stretches out to the sides. Also there are white facemasks

 

Well, that's it. After the Bolts, there hasn't been a pro outdoor football team since. 

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When the XFL flamed out, there was a joke going around that Birmingham was a league-killer...

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I loved the Birmingham Fire helmet as a kid. Was glad the Rhein Fire adopted a similar look when the WLAF became NFL Europe, but wasn’t the same.

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15 hours ago, Gothamite said:

When the XFL flamed out, there was a joke going around that Birmingham was a league-killer...

You could say that since they're the common thread that links a lot of startup football league . Birmingham has long been recognized as a football market to which many try to cash in on. The city has been pretty unlucky with the leagues that place teams there. 

 

WFL teams had little to no money and wouldn't last. Also running into college football meant less attendance

 

 USFL was losing money signing NFL players to contracts far exceeding the money they had 

 

WLAF had no support from the NFL owners 

 

CFL was more focused on pocketing expansion fees to keep itself afloat and like the WFL, ran into college football impacting the attendance particularly in the south

 

XFL had a 2OT game that cut into an SNL broadcast which soured NBC execs on the league. 

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31 minutes ago, Wizza said:

You could say that since they're the common thread that links a lot of startup football league . Birmingham has long been recognized as a football market to which many try to cash in on. The city has been pretty unlucky with the leagues that place teams there. 

 

Well, I think it’s also possible that the common thread in  those start-up leagues is their bad judgment, that they keep mistaking Birmingham for a pro football market. ? There’s no shame in that, no judgment, just a statement of fact. 

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21 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

Well, I think it’s also possible that the common thread in  those start-up leagues is their bad judgment, that they keep mistaking Birmingham for a pro football market. ? There’s no shame in that, no judgment, just a statement of fact. 

 

 

Attendance was pretty good for most of the teams though. It is a pro football market but college football is obviously at the top so playing in the spring/summer to avoid college football is wise

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Birmingham as a market has a lot of things working against it, but should still be able to support a much smaller league.  As a rule, I'd probably try to stay out of the heehaw states that are 100% about college football and... well, other unflattering things the south is known for, as it would be very tough to build / convert a fan base.

 

The funny thing with WLAF is that you had teams in Barcelona, London, New York, and... Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham, Sacramento, etc.  If I'm a fan in London, I'm getting psyched for a game against NY, but... Raleigh Durham?  Foreign fans probably had to look at a map to find some of these places, and even then would have had problems.

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Another problem with these start up leagues is that fans may not be willing to dive in and get invested in something that in all likelihood won't last more than 1-2 seasons.  i really hope one of these takes off, but the odds are firmly stacked against it.

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Just now, BringBackTheVet said:

Another problem with these start up leagues is that fans may not be willing to dive in and get invested in something that in all likelihood won't last more than 1-2 seasons.  i really hope one of these takes off, but the odds are firmly stacked against it.

 

Birmingham has eagerly supported most of the teams. You see attendance usually dip around college football season. 

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Between the Fire and the Bolts, Birmingham has at least been home to two of the best uniform sets in football history, so there's that.

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1 hour ago, Wizza said:

 

Birmingham has eagerly supported most of the teams. You see attendance usually dip around college football season. 

 

That second sentence disproves the first.

 

It seems to be a college town first and foremost.  That’s not a knock on Birmingham - there’s no moral superiority in having a pro team or vice versa - just what it is. 

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TL;DR Alabama ruins everything.

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15 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

It seems to be a college town first and foremost.  That’s not a knock on Birmingham - there’s no moral superiority in having a pro team or vice versa - just what it is. 

 

Right. For those unaware, Tuscaloosa is barely 40 miles westard down 20/59, so that definitely has much to do with it.

 

2 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

Birmingham as a market has a lot of things working against it, but should still be able to support a much smaller league.  As a rule, I'd probably try to stay out of the heehaw states that are 100% about college football and... well, other unflattering things the south is known for, as it would be very tough to build / convert a fan base.

 

Such as??

 

I'll probably regret this but...indulge us here.

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2 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

That second sentence disproves the first.

 

It seems to be a college town first and foremost.  That’s not a knock on Birmingham - there’s no moral superiority in having a pro team or vice versa - just what it is. 

 

It doesn't though. Just because college takes precedence doesn't mean they don't also like the pro game. 

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57 minutes ago, Wizza said:

 

It doesn't though. Just because college takes precedence doesn't mean they don't also like the pro game. 

 

But it does mean they won’t also support the pro game.  If attendance drops when the seasons overlap. 

 

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2 hours ago, Buc said:

 

 

Right. For those unaware, Tuscaloosa is barely 40 miles westard down 20/59, so that definitely has much to do with it.

 

 

Such as??

 

I'll probably regret this but...indulge us here.

 

Its not exactly thought of as the most inclusive part of the country. 

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