WideRight

WHAT IF: The World Football League Survived!

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On 6/5/2020 at 10:16 AM, WideRight said:

I hate to contradict you, but the original Texans were the Dallas Texans (KC Chiefs) in the early 60's, then the Houston Texans in the WFL, then the San Antonio Texans in the CFL, and now the NFL Houston Texans.  Man, folks in Texas sure like to remind everyone who they are.  I cannot imagine that working in most states.  

Not any different than us folks that live by the Great Lakes and a team from either Buffalo/Chicago/Cleveland/Detroit or Milwaukee (if they had a stadium) and were called the Lakers or Lakesiders. It'd be like DUH?!! 

BONUS: theres even a high school in metro Detroit from a city called St.Clair Shores whose sports teams are...are you ready for this? The Lake Shore Shorians just in case you forgot where you live or are from.. LOL!!!

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Ok, one more for today.  Getting close to the end of our original 12 franchises, only 4 to go.  Then we start looking at the 1984 Expansion, 1995 Expansion, and 1999 Expansion. 

 

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM (1974-Present, 1974-1975 as Philadelphia Bell).

Philly competes in the East with New York, Baltimore, Washington and Columbus. 

 

Original Look/Logo:

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The Philadelphia Freedom began their history as the Philadelphia Bell, a reference to the famous Liberty Bell and the founding of the nation.  In 1976, among the fervor of the Bicentennial, the team renamed itself the Freedom, while retaining their iconic Liberty Bell logo.  Philly has been able to hold its own in a town shared with the NFL's Eagles.  Playing in venerable Franklin Field, the Freedom have built up a pretty solid fanbase over the years.  While the Freedom and the Eagles have demonstrated an amiable relationship, it must be noted that the Freedom do tend to pick up more fans when the "Iggles" are on hard times, and tend to get lost when they are competing for Super Bowl titles.  As for their own titles, the Freedom won their first in 1981, just a year after the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, and then had a long drought until 2004, when they won their second title.  Led by former Penn State QB Chuck Fusina, and a plucky defense of no-names, the Freedom pulled off the upset against the heavily favored Vulcans.  The next year a NY franchise would return to the WFL, allowing Philly and NYC to go at it on yet another front. 

 

The look of the Freedom has changed only marginally since their inaugural season as the Bell.  The Liberty Bell logo has remained steady, while the uniforms in blue and yellow have also changed little, though a darkening of both colors came in the 1980's.  In 2008 they removed the more traditional sleeve stripes for a more modern depiction of the bell on their sleeves, but other than that the Freedom have remained impressively consistent in their look. 

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Next up: We are off to the Great Northwest. 

 

 

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On 6/5/2020 at 12:09 PM, WideRight said:

HOUSTON TEXANS (1974-Present)

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

 

Original Logo/Look:

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Houston has been a stalwart of the league, and one of its most successful franchises for over 40 years.  It took them a couple of years to catch on, but they have built a steady fanbase even when the NFL Oilers were in their heyday.  When the Oilers relocated to Las Vegas in the mid-90's, the Texans spent several years as the city's only pro football team.  With a solid pool of talent from the state of Texas as a big part of their appeal, the Texans have done well representing their state, with 5 World Bowl Championships under their belts.  Eschewing the oversized and underwhelming AstroDome, the Texans played most of their seasons at Rice Stadium, but when the NFL actually came calling, hoping to get Texans support for a new stadium for an expansion team in the city.  The Texans now share the state-of-the-art NRG Stadium with the NFL's Houston Roughnecks, an arrangement which allows the Texans a more modern and high-tech environment, but which has caused some scheduling difficulties for the weeks when the NFL and WFL schedules overlap. 

 

Two major design decisions have helped to boost the popularity of the Texans, and both were really no-brainers, when you look at them.  After playing 3 seasons in their inaugural green & gold uniforms, the Texans realized that there is not a heck of a lot about those colors which make Houstonians proud, so they ditched the Packers/Baylor look for a tried and true favorite, pulling both dark blue and vibrant red from the Texas state flag.  This Navy/Royal and Red combo boosted the connection with the state and the team nickname, and stayed in place until the NFL's Oilers bolted town.  It took Texans ownership no time at all to reclaim "Luv' Ya" Blue and add the sky blue tone to the uniform. 

 

Other changes in their look moved them from a lowercase h to the uppercase H now in use, and the addition of a star on the map of Texas for Houston's location.  Other than that the team's look has stayed quite solid over the years.  Mixing the state flag colors with the old Oilers' blue has made it possible for all kinds of fan homages to the city and the state, and has become a popular look across the state, even after the NFL moved back in to town with the black, orange and metal grey Roughnecks look. 

 

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Next up:  Da dum, Da dum, da dum da dum DADUM!!!!!   Sharks!!! Sharks in the water!!!

 

I feel like the Texans would have shifted away from this drop shadow look in the 90s, probably to something completely different.  And then in the 2000s, after several years of fans hating the new look, they would have brought back the original look, but updated it without the drop shadow, and then in the mid-10s, this would have become a beloved throwback alt. 

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I’d honestly purchase a Sharks, Hawaiians and a Texans jersey.

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1 hour ago, darkpiranha said:

I feel like the Texans would have shifted away from this drop shadow look in the 90s, probably to something completely different.  And then in the 2000s, after several years of fans hating the new look, they would have brought back the original look, but updated it without the drop shadow, and then in the mid-10s, this would have become a beloved throwback alt. 

Yup, totally possible.   I have no plans to do the full history with different period looks, but what you describe sounds very familiar these days.  

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How many WFL teams experimented with teal, purple or both in the 90's?

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5 minutes ago, neo_prankster said:

How many WFL teams experimented with teal, purple or both in the 90's?

 

You shall see.  The 1990's are hard to resist.  So you will see some purple, some teal, maybe even some BFBS.  But, since I am doing 2020 designs, much of that may have been toned down by now.  We have already seen a major move away from the dominance of yellow from the original WFL (So many teams with yellow helmets!!!) and we have seen teal with the Hawaiians and the Sharks.  There has also been a move towards darker colors (navy for Houston, for example).

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A sneak peek at what might be to come.  Here are the NFL team moves in the ongoing WFL universe. 

 

1984  Colts move from Baltimore to Indy

1988  Cardinals move from St. Louis to Phoenix

1995  NFL expands to Nashville (Tennessee Titans) and Raleigh (Carolina Panthers)

1995  Raiders return to Oakland

1997  Oilers move to Las Vegas (Las Vegas Vipers)

1999  NFL expands to Baltimore (Ravens)

2002  NFL expands to Houston (Roughnecks)

2017  Chargers move to Los Angeles.

 

And, of course, this means that the Browns never left Cleveland, the Rams never left LA (or returned), and the Raiders cannot move to Las Vegas, because there is already a team there. The Jags simply do not exist in this universe (only Jason from The Good Place is really upset about that.)

 

But, what does this reflect about the WFL?  What cities that were never in the WFL are in this version?  We are about to see WFL expansion, and at least 1 relocation. 

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Raleigh never could've hosted an NFL team, the ownership group was directly related to Charlotte and it's unlikely that a stadium in Raleigh would've been made large enough for an NFL team, since any team playing at UNC or Duke's stadium would've risked alienating other fans and NC State's arena isn't large enough for NFL games. The other '95 expansion would've most likely been St. Louis or Baltimore, given they had the other ownership groups and stadiums to use.

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2 hours ago, WideRight said:

 

You shall see.  The 1990's are hard to resist.  So you will see some purple, some teal, maybe even some BFBS.  But, since I am doing 2020 designs, much of that may have been toned down by now.  We have already seen a major move away from the dominance of yellow from the original WFL (So many teams with yellow helmets!!!) and we have seen teal with the Hawaiians and the Sharks.  There has also been a move towards darker colors (navy for Houston, for example).

 

Bet you wherever the Sun ended up, they've ditched magenta for purple. 

 

6 minutes ago, QCS said:

Raleigh never could've hosted an NFL team, the ownership group was directly related to Charlotte and it's unlikely that a stadium in Raleigh would've been made large enough for an NFL team, since any team playing at UNC or Duke's stadium would've risked alienating other fans and NC State's arena isn't large enough for NFL games. The other '95 expansion would've most likely been St. Louis or Baltimore, given they had the other ownership groups and stadiums to use.

 

It's his universe, man. 

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33 minutes ago, rjrrzube said:

It's his universe, man. 

That's true. I overstepped in my response, my apologies.

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PORTLAND THUNDER (1974-Present)

The Thunder play in the Western Division with the Hawaiians, San Diego, Seattle and Utah.

 

Original logo/look:

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Arriving in the Rose City only 4 years after the Trail Blazers, the Thunder have become an iconic point of pride for the city.  Playing in Civic Stadium (now Providence Park) the team began as the Portland Storm, but with a shift of ownership, rebranded to the Thunder after only 1 year.  Portland has had some ups and downs as a franchise, at one point looking at a possible relocation to Oakland in the late 1980's, but were able to negotiate a new stadium lease and remained in the Northwest.  They are one of only 2 teams from the original 12 never to win a league title, but have been on the upswing for the past decade, with 7 playoff appearances in that time.  Since expansion to Seattle in 1999, Portland has had a strong rivalry and this has fueled the fanbase.  Current head coach and former OSU coach Mike Riley, has put together a strong team and hopes to break the championship drought. 

 

The Thunder's look went through a major shift in the early 1990's when the royal blue and kelly green were swapped out for a darker forest green and a light blue.  The somewhat awkward lightining bolt T was replaced by a bolt of lightning streaking between two clouds, while the standard sleeve stripes were replaced with shoulder lightning bolts. This final shift drew some negative attention as the team was sued by the San Diego Chargers of the NFL for trademark infringement.  The suit was quickly turned away by the courts, citing that the unique logos of the two teams, unique color schemes and the 10+ year history of the Thunder limited any claim that the team was seeking to profit off of similarity with the NFL franchise.  Many also believe that the lawsuit was simple payback for the Thunder's active pursuit of Chargers QB and former Oregon Duck Dan Fouts during the 1983 offseason. 

 

While pictured here with contrasting jerseys and pants, the Thunder have taken to frequently matching up the dark jersey and pants  to create a unitard/monochrome look.  They have even experimented with a throwback whiite helmet as an alternative to the "northwoods green" helmet displayed here. 

 

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Notes:  Yes, of course, that is the old WLAF Orlando Thunder logo.  With the WFL in existence and with reasonably amenable relations with the NFL, not only does the USFL not exist (we will see a USFL design make its way into the WFL soon) but the WLAF also never comes into existence.  The WFL uses a series of 2 year contracts with its players, allowing for relatively frequent player movement to the NFL, so the NFL never felt the need to develop an additional developmental league.  The design firms hired for USFL, WLAF, UFL and XFL franchises end up working occasionally for the WFL, which is why certain designs you may recognize from each of these leagues may make their way into the WFL teams to come. 

 

Next Up:  Does magenta survive the fashion shifts from leisure suits, past zubaz pants, and into today's age of performance materials?

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Love it. However, wonder what the helmet logo would look like reversing out the silver and white - silver bolt, white outline? 

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5 hours ago, WideRight said:

PORTLAND THUNDER (1974-Present)

The Thunder play in the Western Division with the Hawaiians, San Diego, Seattle and Utah.

 

Original logo/look:

spacer.png

 

Arriving in the Rose City only 4 years after the Trail Blazers, the Thunder have become an iconic point of pride for the city.  Playing in Civic Stadium (now Providence Park) the team began as the Portland Storm, but with a shift of ownership, rebranded to the Thunder after only 1 year.  Portland has had some ups and downs as a franchise, at one point looking at a possible relocation to Oakland in the late 1980's, but were able to negotiate a new stadium lease and remained in the Northwest.  They are one of only 2 teams from the original 12 never to win a league title, but have been on the upswing for the past decade, with 7 playoff appearances in that time.  Since expansion to Seattle in 1999, Portland has had a strong rivalry and this has fueled the fanbase.  Current head coach and former OSU coach Mike Riley, has put together a strong team and hopes to break the championship drought. 

 

The Thunder's look went through a major shift in the early 1990's when the royal blue and kelly green were swapped out for a darker forest green and a light blue.  The somewhat awkward lightining bolt T was replaced by a bolt of lightning streaking between two clouds, while the standard sleeve stripes were replaced with shoulder lightning bolts. This final shift drew some negative attention as the team was sued by the San Diego Chargers of the NFL for trademark infringement.  The suit was quickly turned away by the courts, citing that the unique logos of the two teams, unique color schemes and the 10+ year history of the Thunder limited any claim that the team was seeking to profit off of similarity with the NFL franchise.  Many also believe that the lawsuit was simple payback for the Thunder's active pursuit of Chargers QB and former Oregon Duck Dan Fouts during the 1983 offseason. 

 

While pictured here with contrasting jerseys and pants, the Thunder have taken to frequently matching up the dark jersey and pants  to create a unitard/monochrome look.  They have even experimented with a throwback whiite helmet as an alternative to the "northwoods green" helmet displayed here. 

 

spacer.png

Notes:  Yes, of course, that is the old WLAF Orlando Thunder logo.  With the WFL in existence and with reasonably amenable relations with the NFL, not only does the USFL not exist (we will see a USFL design make its way into the WFL soon) but the WLAF also never comes into existence.  The WFL uses a series of 2 year contracts with its players, allowing for relatively frequent player movement to the NFL, so the NFL never felt the need to develop an additional developmental league.  The design firms hired for USFL, WLAF, UFL and XFL franchises end up working occasionally for the WFL, which is why certain designs you may recognize from each of these leagues may make their way into the WFL teams to come. 

 

Next Up:  Does magenta survive the fashion shifts from leisure suits, past zubaz pants, and into today's age of performance materials?


Oh hey it's the Orlando Thunder but without the ghastly bright colours and the suck.

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What??? The WLAF Thunder colors were some of the best uniforms around! What they suck because they didnt include black or some other dark, gothic color???

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SAN DIEGO SUN (1974-Present, 1974-1985 as Southern California Sun.  1985-2017 as California Sun)

The Sun play in the Western division with Portland, Seattle, Utah and the Hawaiians. 

 

Original Look/Logo:

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Magenta & Orange can only mean one thing, the Sun is out!  The Sun have been a part of southern California culture for over 40 years, playing in Anaheim, LA, Pasadena, and now San Diego.  No one can mistake their color scheme for another team.  The franchise has embodied the freewheeling spirit of the region over the past 4 decades, and with 6 WFL titles under their belts, the Sun have shone quite a bit over the years.  Whether it was the shocking acquisition of Vince Ferragamo from the Rams, the flash in the pan years of Todd Marinovich, or the recent success with Matt Leinart, the Sun have found a way to keep shining.  

 

Yes, the team has moved around a lot, but never leaving the sunny SoCal coast.  They began playing in Anaheim Stadium along with the Rams, then tried their hand at the LA Colisseum when the Raiders returned to Oakland, But the cavernous Colisseum proved to be too  much, so they then tried Pasadena and the Rose Bowl, but again, not a great fit.  When the Rams were joined in LA by the Chargers, it seemed the perfect opportunity to leave LA and head down the highway.  They have played 2019 and 2020 in SDCCU Stadium, but plan to join SDSU in their new stadium in 2021.  

 

The look of the Sun is unmistakable, white helmets adorned with a Sun symbol (though it has evolved over the years), vibrant magenta jerseys, orange pants.  It is a uniform designed for sunset games by the sea.  The use of tapered stripes became popular around 2000 and the Sun jumped on that bandwagon, using a wax & wane pattern on both the helmet and pants.  The sleeves also try to capture the bright colors of sunset through offset taper stripes curling over the shoulder. The secondary logo, adopted when the team shifted from "Southern California" to just "California" combines the sun with the iconic state silhouette.  Should the WFL ever put another team in the Golden State, maybe they will change it up, but since they have been the only Cali team in the league for 40 years, they feel pretty comfortable repping the entire state. 

 

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Only 1 more 1974 founding team left, a team with a big shocking relocation.  Salt Lake City, Utah may make no sense for "the Jazz", but as home the the Grizzlies, it feels just about right. 

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23 hours ago, rjrrzube said:

Bet you wherever the Sun ended up, they've ditched magenta for purple. 

 

Ok, I was wrong! But happily so. This is a nice evolution. 

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3 hours ago, Tygers09 said:

What??? The WLAF Thunder colors were some of the best uniforms around! What they suck because they didnt include black or some other dark, gothic color???

That uniform was a perfect early 90s thing. I loved them too. Still do actually 

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This whole thread is just wonderful. Some nice surprises most of these teams having radical transformations. Love the radical. Shifts of Hawaii Portland Detroit and Houston. They’re all good. Surprised you kept the Suns colors intact. Or at the very least BFBS

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