Welcome to the World Football League Website

WFL Newspaper Archives

Los Angeles Times, December 7, 1974


Birmingham (AP) -"It figured that something would spoil the only bright moment the World Football League has had in months. It did.

The Birmingham Americans, who won the World Bowl game Thursday night, lost their shirts Friday. And their pants, shoes and hats, too.

As the league was celebrating the end of its first season, sheriff's deputies were seizing the uniforms of the WFL champions.

"Sp what," said Birmingham owner Bill Putnam, when asked about losing the team's uniforms because the supplier was owed $30,000 for them. "The IRS and everybody else has liens against us, so what's the big deal about losing our uniforms?"

What happened was indicative of the problems the WFL must overcome if there is ever to be another World Bowl. League president Chris Hemmeter says the WFL must find new investors and a solid financial base for a majority of its teams by March. Or it will fold.

But on Friday, the league and its officials were optimistic.

George Mira, the veteran who skillfully drove the Americans to three touchdowns that produced the 22-21 World Bowl victory over Florida, said the WFL had no problems "on the field. We proved this league has the players and now it has to solve its off-the-field problems."

Putnam said he needs to raise $1.5 million to support his team, but has been able to come up with only $850,000 so far. He indicated a major new investor might be forthcoming soon.

Meanwhile, it looked as if Florida and Birmingham players might be paid for the first time in months. Initial estimates of gate receipts from the crowd of 32,376 indicated each Birmingham player would get $1,400 from the game and each Florida player $1000.

But the WFL's problems were forgotten by the Americans on Friday.

"I'm living on a high right now, and I hope it lasts at least several more days," said Americans fullback Charley Harraway.

"Ask these guys which would be more important to them...all their back pay or this moment," said tackle Paul Costa. "It wouldn't be a contest. This is a super feeling."