1974 World Football League season

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The 1974 World Football League season was the first season of the World Football League.

Twelve teams began the inaugural 1974 season, which launched July 10 and lasted 19 weeks, with no bye weeks (in fact, the league doubled up the week of Labor Day by playing four games over the course of three weeks on a Wednesday, Monday (Labor Day), Friday, Wednesday schedule, giving the WFL teams 20 games each). Of those teams, two (the Detroit Wheels and Jacksonville Sharks folded fourteen weeks into the season; two others, the New York Stars and Houston Texans, relocated to other markets (Charlotte and Shreveport respectively) midway through the season. Portland and Detroit played a week 9 regular season game in London, Ontario at Little Stadium.

The season culminated in World Bowl 1 on December 5, 1974, won by the Birmingham Americans.

1974 season[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage

Eastern Division
Team W L T PCT
Florida Blazers 14 6 0 .700
Charlotte Hornets 10 10 0 .500
Philadelphia Bell 9 11 0 .450
Jacksonville Sharks 4 10 0 .286
Central Division
Team W L T PCT
Memphis Southmen 17 3 0 .850
Birmingham Americans 15 5 0 .750
Chicago Fire 7 13 0 .350
Detroit Wheels 1 13 0 .071
Western Division
Team W L T PCT
Southern California Sun 13 7 0 .650
The Hawaiians 9 11 0 .450
Portland Storm 7 12 1 .375
Shreveport Steamer 7 12 1 .375

Notes: (1) Jacksonville and Detroit folded after 14 games; each week thereafter, the teams that had games against those teams played each other. (2) Shreveport Steamer began the season as Houston Texans. (3) Charlotte Hornets began season as New York Stars; upon moving to Charlotte, played one game as Charlotte Stars, and remaining games as Hornets. (4) Chicago forfeited its 20th game to Philadelphia 2-0.

1974 Playoffs[edit]

In the original WFL schedule, the three division champions plus one wild-card were to qualify, culminating in a "World Bowl" on the evening after Thanksgiving (at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville).

With financial problems mounting, various formats were bandied about: (1) the playoffs would simply be canceled, and the team with the best record would be declared the champion; (2) three teams (Memphis, Birmingham, and Florida) would qualify for the playoffs (thus leaving West champ Southern California out); (3) eight of the remaining 10 teams would qualify; and, finally, (4) the top two teams in each division would qualify, seeded entirely by won-lost record.

This last format was followed, with Birmingham and Memphis getting first-round byes. Charlotte was due to play Florida and the Hawaiians due to play Southern California in wild-card games. The wild-card winners would advance to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners would play in the World Bowl. However, Charlotte was forced to drop out due to sluggish advance ticket sales; the Hornets' cut of the gate would have been too meager for the financially strapped team to meet its expenses. Philadelphia replaced Charlotte as the East's second qualifier.

Quarterfinals[edit]

Hawaiians defeated the Southern California Sun, 32-14 (@ Anaheim, California on Wednesday, November 20, 1974)

Florida Blazers defeated Philadelphia Bell, 18-3 (@ Orlando, Florida on Thursday, November 21, 1974)

Semifinals[edit]

Birmingham Americans defeated The Hawaiians, 22-19 (@ Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday, November 27, 1974)

Florida Blazers defeated Memphis Southmen, 18-15 (@ Memphis, Tennessee on Friday, November 29, 1974)

World Bowl[edit]

Main article: World Bowl (WFL)

Birmingham Americans 22, Florida Blazers 21 (@ Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday, December 5, 1974)

1974 All-WFL Team[edit]

Head Coach: Jack Pardee, Florida Blazers (TSN, P&C)
Tri-MVPs: Tony Adams, Southern California, J.J. Jennings, Memphis, and Tommy Reamon, Florida.[1]
Key: PC = voted on by players and coaches of the WFL; TSN = selection by The Sporting News


References[edit]

  1. ^ "WFL All-Star teams". WFL.org. April 6, 2009.