Lively Tales About Dead Teams

World Football League (1974-1975)


The World Football League was a disastrous attempt to set up a fall-season rival to the National Football League in the mid-1970’s.  League founder Gary Davidson was involved in both the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association start-ups, both of which similarly sought to challenge the hegemony of the established major leagues.  The WFL succeeded in persuading dozens of NFL stars to jump leagues, largely because the NFL had no free agency and the presence of a rival league created the only leverage that most players had in contract negotiations.  Many of the NFL stars who signed “futures” contracts with the WFL never actually made the jump, as the under-capitalized WFL franchises began shutting down almost as soon as they launched.

The league lost an estimated $20 million during its first season of play in 1974.  The league attempted to mount a second season, but folded on October 22nd, 1975 without managing to complete the regular season.  During its short and tumultuous history, the WFL was plaged with midseason shutdowns and franchise relocations, which has made its obscure memorabilia appealing to a certain kind of collector.


World Football League Franchises

Franchise Years Active World Bowl Champions
Birmingham Americans 1974 1974
Birmingham Vulcans 1975 None
Charlotte Hornets 1974-1975 None
Chicago Fire 1974 None
Chicago Winds 1975 None
Detroit Wheels 1974 None
Florida Blazers 1974 None
The Hawaiians 1974-1975 None
Houston Texans 1974 None
Jacksonville Express 1975 None
Jacksonville Sharks 1974 None
Memphis Southmen 1974-1975 None
New York Stars 1974 None
Philadelphia Bell 1974-1975 None
Portland Storm 1974 None
Portland Thunder 1975 None
San Antonio Wings 1975 None
Shreveport Steamer 1974-1975 None
Southern California Sun 1974-1975 None


World Football League Shop

WFL in ’74 T-Shirt by Throwback Max

WIFFLE: The Wild, Zany and Sometimes Hilariously True Story of the World Football League by Mark Speck


World Football League Pennant




Written by AC

March 25th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Posted in

3 Responses to 'World Football League (1974-1975)'

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  1. just a true fan

    Gary Sipos

    14 Apr 12 at 8:13 pm

  2. I was a Pom Pom girl on the Chicago Fire Football league and I looking for photo’s. All the photos I had went missing. I also still have my uniform and pom poms that I am willing to sell.

    Jeanne McNulty Carroll

    Jeanne Carroll

    14 May 13 at 8:49 pm

  3. Hey Guys, I made the specialty team on kick off’s ran a 4.2 &4.1
    40. I’m not mentioned anywhere rooster etc. Please just list me somewhere. Not so good memories. Larry and Paul just came on board.I was out of Atlanta. with Jim Morton and Jimmy Tally.
    I appreciate anything you can do. Victor Von Hardin 73-74. I played
    Monster “Outside Linebacker”.6’2 221. Birmingham Americans
    Von Hardin

    Von Hardin

    3 Jun 17 at 5:58 pm

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