Welcome to the World Football League Website

1974 Season Book - Week 15

Sports Daily

October 16, 1974

Detroit Wheels and Jacksonville Sharks Fold, WFL To Continue With 10 Teams

The World Football League suffered another blow to its already fragile credibility. The WFL League office announced that the Detroit Wheels and the Jacksonville Sharks were suspending operations. The Wheels, who had filed for bankruptcy protection, claimed over $2 million in debts. The Sharks, plagued by mismanagement, were disbanded when investors couldn't be located to save the franchise. Original owner Fran Monaco surrendered the franchise back to the league after a possible sale to New York financier Wayne Pease fell through. The WFL's remaining teams couldn't continue to finance the teams and followed the advice of Memphis owner John Basset and Chicago owner Tom Origer to disband Detroit and Jacksonville. The players of both teams were left with no immediate future and no insight on their back pay. The WFL announced that a dispersal draft would take place for the Wheel and Shark players. The financial burden became too great when the WFL also took over the operating costs of the Florida Blazers. Blazer General Manager Rommie Loudd filed suit to prevent the WFL from taking over control of the team, claiming that owner David Williams had not made payments on a promised $2.5 million for operations. The WFL scrambled to make schedule arrangements with the remaining teams and announced that Florida would travel to Chicago to play the Fire who were suffering through an injury-riddled season. In Orlando, the Blazers were rumored to be closing in on a financial deal that would secure the future of the team in the Central Florida city. The Blazer players had gone for weeks without pay and coach Jack Pardee was in control of the team until a settlement could be reached with potential owners. WFL Commissioner Gary Davidson informed the teams in the WFL that a new playoff system would be used that increased the number of playoff teams to six. The WFL had announced an eight-team format that was changed to three, and then increased to six. On the field, Memphis Southmen running back JJ Jennings became the first 1,000 yard rusher in WFL history as he gained 104 yards against the Charlotte Hornets, the game was the home opener for the Hornets and drew a sell-out crowd of 25,133 (outdrawing the final three games the team played in New York). Southern California quarterback Tony Adams became the WFL's leading passer with 206 completions out of 376 attempts for 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns. JJ Jennings led the league in rushing with 1,140 yards and Tim Delaney of Hawaii led in receiving with 56 catches for 753 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Americans Back On Track, Win 30-8

American Ross Brupbacher hauls down Storm QB Pete Beathard

birmingham, al.; Veteran George Mira passed for two touchdowns and directed a steady Birmingham attack to lead the Americans to a 30-8 victory over the Portland Storm before a Wednesday night crowd of 25,621 at Legion Field. Charlie Harraway and Joe Profit also scored on short runs for the Americans. Storm quarterback Pete Beathard passed eight yards to Robert Holmes for Portland's only score, on the Storm's first possession. The Birmingham defense led by Ross Brupbacher and Warren Capone shut down the Storm after that. The announced crowd was the lowest attendance in eight home games for the Americans, who have average 47,600 a game.

Memphis Wins 10th Straight, 27-23 Over Hornets

Southmen DB David Thomas breaks up pass to Al Barnes

charlotte, nc.; Danny White hit Ed Marshall with a 13- and 19- yard touchdown passes in the last quarter, leading the Memphis Southmen to their 10th straight World Football League victory, 27-22, over the Charlotte Stars in a home opener from the Hornets. Charlotte, formerly the New York Stars, threatened strongly in the closing seconds. Cheered on by a noisy sellout crowd of 26,133, the Hornets scored with 2:06 to play, then regained possession by recovering an onside kick. Southmen David Thomas saved the game for Memphis with an interception on the Memphis 12 to preserve his teams' win.

Blazers Rout Fire 45-17, Chicago Suffers 5th Straight Loss

Fire QB Bill Cappelman throws against a fierce Blazer pass rush

chicago, il.; The Florida Blazers continued their strong-hold on the Eastern Division by trouncing the Chicago Fire 45-17. Florida scored on runs by Tommy Reamon, Bob Davis, A.D. Whitfield and backup quarterback Buddy Palazzo. The Blazers also scored when Reamon threw a 60-yard pass to Matt Maslowski on a halfback option play. The Fire, losers of five straight, played without WFL passing leader Virgil Carter, running back Mark Kellar and receiver James Scott. 23,298 fans came out to Soldier Field, although only 2,000 remained at the final gun. The Blazers improved to 11-4, and Chicago fell to 7-8.

Weese Leads Hawaiians On 17 Point Surge To Win 25-22

King Corcoran drops back to pass against Hawaii

philadelphia. pa.; Rookie quarterback Norris Weese came off the bench and replaced Randy Johnson and Edd Hargett to guide the Hawaiians to a 25-22 win over the Philadelphia Bell. Weese led a 17 point surge in the second half before 4,900 Bell fans in the 100,000-seat JFK Stadium. Weese threw the winning touchdown pass to Alan Davis with 2:45 left in the game. It was the third score of the night for Davis, who had been cut by the Bell in training camp. Weese completed 11 of 19 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown. Tied at 15-15, the Hawaiians took the lead when defensive back Willie Williams intercepted his third pass of the game, and three plays later A.A. Coppedge kicked a 44-yard field goal. The Bell countered when John Land ran 46 yards on a draw play for a 22-18 Bell lead. Then Weese hit Vince Clements with a 26-yard pass, and then scrambled another 12 yards to set up the winning pass to Davis.

Sun Clinch Western Division

Tony Adams runs for first quarter TD

anahiem, ca.; The Southern California Sun held off a surging Shreveport Steamer team and assured itself a tie for the WFL's Western Division championship. The Sun lost leads 15-0 and 22-15 before running out the clock on the Steamer before 24,223 Sun fans in Anaheim. After the Sun scored on its first two possessions, the Sun faltered, and quarterback Tony Adams was pulled in the fourth quarter for backup Gary Valbuena. Valbuena threw an interception to Steamer Richmond Flowers who ran three yards for a touchdown. Then Shreveport, led by David Mays, went 80 yards in four plays for a touchdown and an action point that made it a 25-22 game.

WFL Week Fifteen MVP:

Al Davis, Hawaiians

Week Fifteen Top Performers:

Passing - Tony Adams, Southern California Sun 16 of 21, 223 yards, 1 touchdown

Rushing - John Land, Philadelphia Bell 16 carries, 121 yards

Receiving - Greg Nelson, Southern California Sun 6 receptions, 107 yards

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Florida 11 4 0 321 194
Charlotte 9 6 0 368 254
Philadelphia 6 9 0 361 319
Jacksonville* 4 10 0 258 259
Central Division
Memphis 13 2 0 469 247
Birmingham 12 3 0 383 286
Chicago 7 8 0 374 427
Detroit* 1 13 0 209 358
Western Division
So. California 11 4 0 384 289
Hawaii 6 9 0 270 361
Shreveport 4 10 1 153 322
Portland 4 10 1 221 355

WFL Transactions:

Portland Storm- waived DB Charles Hinton, placed K Booth Lusteg on taxi squad.; Chicago Fire- signed TE Jimmie Kennedy, QB Bubba Wyche.

NOTE: This page was researched and written by Jim Cusano. This page appeared on the former World Football League Hall of Fame Website and is used with permission.