WideRight

WHAT IF: The World Football League Survived!

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This is another alternate history concept series.  In this series the World Football League (1974-1975) survived until today.  I will use only actual team names, though the history and team locations may end up changing.   Some will relocate from their original cities, others are expansion teams as the league grows.  By the end we will have 20 teams based on actual WFL franchises. All teams will get remakes from 1970's style to the 2010's, though some elements of their "tradition" may be retained. 

 

As the WFL is keen on innovation (check out their position-specific pants idea) they will adopt a lot of the most current trends in design.  All uniforms are made by Under Armor (see crest on right chest of jersey) and the league logo will be a patch on the left chest and found on the rear bumper of each helmet.  One of the traditions of the WFL will be that all teams have their city name in a large font across their jersey.  I will do home & away jerseys first, then, maybe, alternates (the WFL is still not as big as the NFL so maybe not quite as much money to do as many alternates.)

 

BIRMINGHAM VULCANS (1974-2020, 1974 as Birmingham Americans)

Play in the Southern Division with Charlotte, Florida, Jacksonville and Memphis. 

 

Original Logo:

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The first team up (going alphabetically of the 12 1974 franchises) is actually the 1974 Champion, though they are renamed.  The Birmingham Americans, after their 1974 championship, were renamed the Vulcans.  It is this Vulcans team which remains a stalwart of the league throughout its history.  The Vulcans would win 5 World Bowls between 1974 and 1999 before falling on hard times in the 2000's.  

 

In the mid 1980's they updated their logo, adding a gunmetal grey anvil element to their logo and their color scheme.  Their current look makes heavy use of sublimation to create a "fiery glow" on the helmets, jersey yokes and pant stripes. Even the socks have a bit of this glow to them.   

 

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A perfect opportunity to really try some new things for uniforms. Looking forward to the rest. I really like the addition of the anvil, it fits in so seamlessly. 

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Love it.  The anvil addition to the Vulcans is brilliant and I'm shocked it hasn't always been a part of it. (it IS your addition, isn't it?)

 

I'm not sold on the WFL logo yet.  Is that supposed to be the current logo, or just your take on the original logo?  Or is an evolution of the logo over the decades planned?  

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Just concepts or will there actually be an actual alternate history provided? Either way I look forward to it 

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Just concepts, with a little bit of team history (relocations, renaming, new color schemes, some success/failure mention) as I present the 2020 uniforms for the teams.  The Logo is basically the original WFL logo, with a slightly new acronym version.    

 

For B'Ham, the anvil is my new addition to modernize the logo.  It was very 1970's before. 

 

Charlotte is coming soon, then Chicago. 

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Solid start and update...I dig it.

I think you need to tackle the WLAF, USFL, and PSFL as well! 😉

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How does the NFL look in this timeline? I can't imagine a market like J'ville supporting 2 teams.

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CHARLOTTE HORNETS  (1974-1981, 1995-2020. Played as Carolina Hornets from 1982-1994)

Play in the Southern Division with Birmingham, Florida, Jacksonville and Memphis.

 

Original Hornets Look/Logo:

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The Hornets have often been described as a nomadic team.  After moving from New York midway through the WFL's inaugural season, the Hornets have played at 4 different stadiums.  They spent 8 years playing in American Legion field, but the small stadium quickly became one of the worst in the league.  In 1982 the team relocated to the Triangle region and renamed themselves the Carolina Hornets.  Between 1982 and 1995 the team had two stints at NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium, and even played 2 years at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium.  When the WFL and the city of Charlotte agreed on building a new stadium in the Queen City, the Hornets returned and have played to packed houses in Charlotte ever since.  Many believe the move was made to head off the NFL's intentions to expand to Charlotte, a move which never materialized as the NFL found itself forced to expand back into LA once the Rams and Raiders both left town. 

 

The Hornets logo remains unchanged since the 1975 season, but the uniforms have changed quite a bit since their early days.  Charlotte is often cited as one of the first professional teams to don a "unitard" look, wherein the home and away uniforms are the same color from jersey to socks.  This is heightened even more on the road when the Hornets don yellow from helmet to shoes.  Charlotte is the only team in the league not to have a white jersey option after receiving a dispensation from the league office to use yellow as its "light" jersey back in 1982. 

 

In addition to the Unitard look, the repeated motif of the double chevron or double stripe is found throughout the uniform, including the color-contrast sleeves on the jersey.  And, of course, as do all WFL teams since 2002, Charlotte has its city name emblazened on the chest of their jersey.  

 

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Next up among our 12 Charter franchises, Chicago's home town team. 

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4 hours ago, sportsfan7 said:

How does the NFL look in this timeline? I can't imagine a market like J'ville supporting 2 teams.

As I go through the team reveals, elements of the impact of the WFL on the NFL will pop up (as it did in Charlotte's history).  I will say that the WFL, while very competitive and a solid AAA league, never truly challenges NFL dominance, and is now viewed as a 2nd tier league whose players are eligible to move up to the NFL at the conclusion of each 2 year contract.  The league has actually been an excellent option for players in contract disputes with the NFL, or for players who have been cut by NFL teams due to the higher cost of their veteran contracts.   I won't talk much about individual players, but one or two might be mentioned as I give brief historical accounts of each team. 

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The Hornets look great, the monochrome look is era-appropriate, but I think either switching the pants or utilizing white pants (at least for the yellow jersey) would look even better. As much as I like the team staying the Charlotte, losing the NBA's Hornets and even the Panthers isn't worth it (if this was real). 

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5 hours ago, sportsfan7 said:

How does the NFL look in this timeline? I can't imagine a market like J'ville supporting 2 teams.

*deleted* see below

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5 hours ago, sportsfan7 said:

How does the NFL look in this timeline? I can't imagine a market like J'ville supporting 2 teams.

Just let WideRight run with his concepts, I too, am looking forward to this. The reality aspect of cities that now have an NFL team (Houston, Jacksonville) shouldn't really matter at this point. 

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34 minutes ago, Tygers09 said:

Just let WideRight run with his concepts, I too, am looking forward to this. The reality aspect of cities that now have an NFL team (Houston, Jacksonville) shouldn't really matter at this point. 

First off, I wasn't trying to step on any toes and I hope I didn't come of that way @WideRight. I am also looking forward to this. I was mostly just asking out of curiosity and to see if this league would be more like the AAF (Most of the teams in non-NFL markets) or like the XFL (Most of the teams in NFL markets). He also mentioned the NFL not having a team in Charlotte in the write-up.

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No problem, lets just enjoy the designs. : )

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2 hours ago, WideRight said:

CHARLOTTE HORNETS  (1974-1981, 1995-2020. Played as Carolina Hornets from 1982-1994)

Play in the Southern Division with Birmingham, Florida, Jacksonville and Memphis.

 

The Hornets have often been described as a nomadic team.  After moving from New York midway through the WFL's inaugural season, the Hornets have played at 4 different stadiums.  They spent 8 years playing in American Legion field, but the small stadium quickly became one of the worst in the league.  In 1982 the team relocated to the Triangle region and renamed themselves the Carolina Hornets.  Between 1982 and 1995 the team had two stints at NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium, and even played 2 years at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium.  When the WFL and the city of Charlotte agreed on building a new stadium in the Queen City, the Hornets returned and have played to packed houses in Charlotte ever since.  Many believe the move was made to head off the NFL's intentions to expand to Charlotte, a move which never materialized as the NFL found itself forced to expand back into LA once the Rams and Raiders both left town. 

 

The Hornets logo remains unchanged since the 1975 season, but the uniforms have changed quite a bit since their early days.  Charlotte is often cited as one of the first professional teams to don a "unitard" look, wherein the home and away uniforms are the same color from jersey to socks.  This is heightened even more on the road when the Hornets don yellow from helmet to shoes.  Charlotte is the only team in the league not to have a white jersey option after receiving a dispensation from the league office to use yellow as its "light" jersey back in 1982. 

 

In addition to the Unitard look, the repeated motif of the double chevron or double stripe is found throughout the uniform, including the color-contrast sleeves on the jersey.  And, of course, as do all WFL teams since 2002, Charlotte has its city name emblazened on the chest of their jersey.  

 

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Next up among our 12 Charter franchises, Chicago's home town team. 

If you are capable of designing logos, I'd love to see the Hornets with a modern animal logo like the Panthers and other teams with them, that would probably be what Charlotte would do if the league lasted this long.

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12 minutes ago, Bruhammydude said:

If you are capable of designing logos, I'd love to see the Hornets with a modern animal logo like the Panthers and other teams with them, that would probably be what Charlotte would do if the league lasted this long.

Some teams will have updated logos (see Birmingham), others entirely new logos, but some will have had enough success that their logo became "untouchable" for the fans.  Think of the Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys or Vikings.  You really cannot touch those teams, even though their logos were created in the 60's.  The same is what I see happening with the Hornets.  They become iconic and fans would revolt if they tried to create a new hornet.  That won't be the case for all teams, but for some it will. 

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CHICAGO FIRE (1974-2020)

Plays in the Central Division with Detroit, Houston, St. Louis and San Antonio

 

Original Fire Logo/Look: 

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Some teams are built upon legendary championships, while others seem to thrive on disappointment, pain, and heartbreak.  The Chicago Fire of the WFL are firmly in the latter. One of only 2 teams from the original 12 to never win a World Bowl, the Fire are even unlucky when they are winning.  The Fire have made the playoffs on only 10 occasions in their 46 year history, and their high point as a franchise was in 1985, when they made it into their only World Bowl, only to be defeated by the SoCal Sun.  And to make matters worse, the success of the 1985 Bears meant that the Fire's best season ever was largely ignored. 

 

The team began play at Soldier Field, but was unable to fill the large stadium.  After several seasons playing at Northwestern's Ryan Field, the Fire arranged with the Chicago White Sox to return to the city by playing in New Comiskey Park starting in 1992.  After over a decade in Comiskey, the Fire again relocated to what is now called Seatgeek Stadium, a stadium they share with the MLS's Chicago Redstars FC.  The new stadium, with a limited capacity of 20,000 has proven to be the perfect home for the diehard and long-suffering Fire fans. 

 

The Fire uniform has changed only marginally in their 40+ seasons.  Retaining a fire red and black color scheme, the uniform has always featured a red helmet and jersey.  Over time the logo itself has had multiple iterations.  The current logo originated in 1999 and features the original "Fire Man" with a new flame pattern and the famous Chicago "C" similar to the one worn by the Cubs and on the Chicago Theatre.  The flames on the team pants have been around since 1984, while the striped sleeve, accented with a flaming logo has been a feature of the team since 1993.  The newest element is a major shift in the helmet.  For over 30 years the Fire helmet featured a stylized flame on the side and around the helmet's ear hole.  But in 2010, the designers at Riddell and Under Armor worked with Chicago on their most recent design change, and at that time it was decided to move the flame to the center of the helmet, arcing from the front bumper to the back of the helmet.  New helmet designs had made the side-flame decals increasingly difficult to manage.  While the new design does not completely eliminate the need to work around cutouts and pressure points in the helmet, the process is much simpler.  And while there are still some diehard traditionalists who rail on the change frequiently, the shift has generally been a popular one for Fire faithful. 

 

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Notes: Yes, the Fire's flames are from the Tennessee Titans, but in this reality, the Titans do not exist.  The Oilers relocated to Las Vegas in 1998.    Also, the flame on the pants is from the USFL Wranglers, but with the success of the WFL the USFL never existed.  Many of the USFL owners ended up in the WFL.  You will hear about at least one of them later. 

 

Next up, another Central Division team, the Detroit Wheels. 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, WideRight said:

Also, the flame on the pants is from the USFL Wranglers, but with the success of the WFL the USFL never existed.  Many of the USFL owners ended up in the WFL.  You will hear about at least one of them later. 

 

The USFL never seeing the light of day makes total sense as John Bassett's (one of the WFL "founding fathers") family once owned the Toronto Argonauts and he was instrumental in the USFL and owned my favorite team, the Tampa Bay Bandits. I sometimes tend to forget that he owned the Toronto Northmen in the WFL.

 

Good connection there dude.

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