Birmingham Stallions

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Birmingham Stallions
Birmingham Stallions helmet Birmingham Stallions logo

Founded 1983
Folded 1986
Based in Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Home field Legion Field
League USFL
Conference Eastern Conference
Division Central Division (1983)
Southern Division (1984-85)
Team History Birmingham Stallions (1983-1985)
Team Colors Red, Gold, White

              

Head coaches 1983-5 Rollie Dotsch (38-18)
Owner(s) Marvin L. Warner
Others[1]
Division championships 1984, 1985

The Birmingham Stallions were a franchise in the United States Football League, an attempt to establish a second professional league of American football in the United States in competition with the National Football League. They played their home games at Birmingham, Alabama's Legion Field. They competed in all three USFL seasons, 1983–1985. During their run, they were one of the USFL's more popular teams, and seemed to have a realistic chance of being a viable venture had the USFL been better run.[2]

The team's coach was Rollie Dotsch, who was previously an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers during its Super Bowl years and ended up with the second most wins in USFL history. The Stallions starting QB in 1984 & 1985 was Cliff Stoudt, a long-time backup to Terry Bradshaw with the Steelers. Stoudt had finally taken over for the injured Bradshaw in 1983 and had played very well for the first half of the season, but his game fell apart in the second half of the season leading Steeler fans to harshly turn on him. After the season, Stoudt quickly decided it wasn't worth staying in Pittsburgh and signed with the Stallions. (Amusingly, the expansion Pittsburgh Maulers' lone sellout was the game where Cliff Stoudt returned to Pittsburgh. Steeler fans pelted the hated Stoudt with snowballs throughout the game, but Stoudt and Birmingham won, 30-18.)

In Birmingham, Stoudt proved to be an excellent QB, finishing in the league's top 5 in 1984 and 1985, among such peers as Jim Kelly and Chuck Fusina and leading the team to two divisional titles. The Stallions also added Bills star HB Joe Cribbs in 1984. Cribbs led the league in rushing in 1984 and finished 6th in 1985. Former Steeler WR Jim Smith was another of the team's stars. Many other Stallions players would play in the NFL once the USFL went out of existence.

1983 season[edit]

The Stallions scrambled to put a roster together after training camp and signed or claimed approximately 20 players via trades or waivers in the week prior to their first game. However, Dotsch managed to mold them into a fairly competitive team that finished 9-9.

Although the team made a splash in signing their first-round draft pick, quarterback Reggie Collier out of Southern Mississippi, the remainder of the Stallions consisted of mostly unsung former NFL reserves and college free agents.

One of the few the pro veterans signed center Tom Banks (a Birmingham native), who spent ten seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Banks played 116 NFL games (starting 63) while with the Cardinals and was brought in by coach Rollie Dotsch to serve as a mentor to a very young club. Banks eventually retired after the 1984 Stallions' season and became an assistant coach on the Birmingham staff in 1985.

Other NFL veterans who signed with the Stallions included former Kansas City Chief RB Earl Gant (2 years, 20 games with the Chiefs), RB Ken Talton (1 year, 2 games with the Lions), WR/KR Kevin Miller (3 years, 20 games with the Vikings), TE Steve Stephens (1 year, 16 games with the Jets), OT Robert Woods (8 years, 99 games with the Jets and Saints), OG Buddy Aydelette (1 year, 9 games with the Packers), DE Mike Raines (7 years, 104 games with the CFL Ottawa Rough Riders), DE Reggie Lewis (2 years, 22 games with the Buccaneers), LB Dallas Hickman (6 years, 91 games with the Redskins), CB Mike Thomas (6 years, 77 games with the Redskins and Chargers) and SS Billy Cesare (5 years, 46 games with the Buccaneers, Dolphins and Lions),

The Stallions had some success in signing several of their 1983 draft picks to go along with Collier. Guard Pat Saindon (8th round, Vanderbilt), nose tackle Charles Martin (15th round, Livingston College) and reserve guard Mike Turner (16th round, Louisiana State). They also signed two key territorial draft selections in defensive end Jackie Cline from Alabama and offensive tackle Pat Phenix from Ole' Miss.

The Stallions also signed a rookie free agent named Scott Norwood who would later be infamous as the Buffalo Bills kicker who missed a field goal in the dying minutes of the Super Bowl in 1990.

After dropping their opening game on a Monday night (9-7, at home to the Michigan Panthers) the Stallions rebounded on the road the following week with a 20-14 overtime victory in Oakland against the Invaders to record their first franchise win.

However, the Stallions struggled out of the gate with a 2-5 record as Coach Rollie Dotsch and his staff put a patchwork, blue-collar, run-oriented club together.

Prior to the Stallions' sixth game of the season, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Jim Smith (6 years, 73 games with the Steelers) was signed by Dotsch to add some punch to a listless receiving corps. Smith did not disappoint as his arrival helped the offense almost immediately. Dotsch was very familiar with Smith as they were members of two Super Bowl Championship clubs in the Steel City.

The turning point in the season, however, was during a home game in Week #8 (Sunday, April 24) against the Oakland Invaders when backup quarterback Bobby Lane took the reins of the Stallions offense from Collier, who struggled with injuries and inconsistency.

Lane's heroics won the game vs. Oakland and the Stallions went onto win four subsequent games that improved their record to a 7–5 mark. However, the club managed to only win two of their last six games to finish with a 9-9 mark and a fourth-place finish in the Central Division.

All four teams in the USFL Central Division in 1983 were at .500 or above (Michigan 12-6, Chicago 12-6 and Tampa Bay 11-7 all recorded strong campaigns).

The biggest game of the 1983 season for the Stallions came in Week #11 on a Saturday night (May 14, 1983) when they defeated the visiting Los Angeles Express, 35–20, in front of the largest crowd of the year at Legion Field (42,212). The crowd featured over 20,000 people from the families of local steel and Iron workers unions.

The following week, the Stallions went on the road and defeated the eventual USFL Champion Michigan Panthers, 23-20 at the Pontiac Silverdome. The game was highlighted by a disputed touchdown late in the game when a Michigan defender intercepted a ball in the end zone, spiked the ball and had it recovered by a Stallions' player before the play was blown dead.

Birmingham finished the season as the top rushing club in the USFL with 3,017 yards on 701 carries, however, the Stallions ranked 11th in the 12-team loop with 2,999 yards passing.

Late in the season, the club also announced the signing of former Buffalo Bills running back Joe Cribbs, who would join the club at the start of the 1984 season. Cribbs, who played his college ball locally for the Auburn Tigers, signed a three-year contract with the Stallions.

1983 opening-day roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1983 Opening Day Roster (at 7-Mar-83)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve


Rookies in italics
40 Active, 10 Developmental

1983 Birmingham Stallions Schedule[edit]

Week Day Date Opponent Game Site Attendance Final Score W/L Record
1 Monday March 7, 1983 Michigan Panthers Legion Field 30,305 7-9 L 0-1
2 Sunday March 13, 1983 at Oakland Invaders Oakland-Alameda Coliseum 47,344 20-14 OT W 1-1
3 Monday March 21, 1983 Philadelphia Stars Legion Field 12,850 10-17 L 1-2
4 Saturday March 26, 1983 Arizona Wranglers Legion Field 5,000 16-7 W 2-2
5 Saturday April 2, 1983 at Boston Breakers Nickerson Field 10,976 16-27 L 2-3
6 Sunday April 10, 1983 at Chicago Blitz Soldier Field 13,859 11-22 L 2-4
7 Sunday April 17, 1983 Denver Gold Legion Field 26,250 7-9 L 2-5
8 Sunday April 24, 1993 Oakland Invaders Legion Field 18,500 21-9 W 3-5
9 Sunday May 1, 1983 at Washington Federals RFK Stadium 12,818 35-3 W 4-5
10 Monday May 9, 1983 at New Jersey Generals Giants Stadium 38,734 22-7 W 5-5
11 Saturday May 14, 1983 Los Angeles Express Legion Field 42,212 35-20 W 6-5
12 Monday May 23, 1983 at Michigan Panthers Pontiac Silverdome 20,042 23-20 W 7-5
13 Friday May 27, 1983 at Denver Gold Mile High Stadium 38,829 19-21 L 7-6
14 Sunday June 5, 1983 at Tampa Bay Bandits Tampa Stadium 35,623 17-45 L 7-7
15 Sunday June 12, 1983 Boston Breakers Legion Field 20,500 31-19 W 8-7
16 Friday June 17, 1983 Chicago Blitz Legion Field 22,500 14-29 L 8-8
17 Sunday June 26, 1983 at Philadelphia Stars Veterans Stadium 17,973 10-31 L 8-9
18 Saturday July 2, 1983 Tampa Bay Bandits Legion Field 20,300 29-17 W 9-9

1983 Birmingham Stallions Numerical Roster[edit]

No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. College GP/GS
4 Scott Norwood K 6.00 207 James Madison 18/0
8 Skip Johnston P 6.01 175 Auburn 4/0
9 Alan Bollinger P 6.01 190 Auburn 11/0
10 Reggie Collier QB 6.03 207 Southern Mississippi 8/5
11 Melvin Williams QB 6.03 200 Mississippi Valley State 10/0
12 Bobby Lane QB 6.03 205 Louisiana State 18/13
14 Jay Venuto QB 6.01 193 Vanderbilt IA/7G
21 Charles Grandjean SS 5.11 200 Kent State 18/6
23 Earl Gant RB 6.00 207 Missouri 17/14
24 Charlie Trotman SS 5.10 185 Auburn 3/0
26 David Evans CB 6.00 170 Central Arkansas 4/3
28 Frank Reed CB 5.11 193 Washington 15/14
30 Lonnie Johnson RB/KR 6.01 206 Indiana 11/0
31 John Skibinski FB 6.00 222 Purdue 17/0
32 Ken Talton FB 6.00 209 Cornell 15/11
37 David Smilo SS 6.02 190 Eastern Michigan 6/1
40 Cornelius Quarles FB 6.00 220 Howard 15/7
42 Mike Hatchett FS 5.10 176 Texas 18/0
44 Billy Cesare FS 5.11 190 Miami (Fl.) 18/18
45 Billy White RB 5.11 196 Missouri 16/4
49 Mike Thomas CB/FS 6.00 175 Tennessee State 18/17
50 Larry McPherson LB 6.00 225 Fort Valley State 16/16
51 Carl McGee LB 6.03 228 Duke 2/0
51 Freddie Smith LB 5.11 219 Auburn 9/2
52 Tim James C/LS 6.03 250 Elon College 2/0
53 Rich D'Amico LB 6.02 238 Penn State 16/16
54 Tom Banks C 6.01 255 Auburn 18/18
55 Herb Spencer LB 6.03 225 Newberry College 16/12
56 Mike Murphy LB 6.02 222 Southwest Missouri Stat 13/2
57 Dallas Hickman LB/DE 6.06 238 California 18/16
58 Lester Dickey LB 6.01 225 Missouri 2/2
58 Sammy Green LB 6.00 223 Alabama State IA/7G
59 Mark Battaglia G 6.02 255 Penn State 18/11
60 Melvin Land LB 6.03 242 Michigan State 7/4
63 Brett Williams DE 6.03 260 Austin Peay 5/0
64 Mike Turner G/T 6.03 254 Louisiana State 14/2
65 Joe Bock C/LS 6.04 256 Virginia 16/0
69 Bill Searcey G 6.02 270 Alabama 5/0
70 Mark Goodspeed T 6.05 270 Nebraska 1/0
71 Pat Phenix T 6.05 275 Mississippi 16/16
72 Robert Woods T 6.05 250 Tennessee State 16/15
74 Pat Saindon G 6.03 273 Vanderbilt 16/10
75 Jimmy Walker NT 6.02 250 Arkansas 18/16
76 Reggie Lewis DE 6.03 260 North Texas State 14/3
77 Drew Taylor DE 6.05 225 San Jose State 7/4
78 Buddy Aydelette G 6.04 256 Alabama 18/18
79 Mike Raines DE 6.05 260 Alabama 17/13
80 Mike Kincaid WR/KR 5.04 165 Mississippi College 10/0
81 Darryl Mason TE 6.01 220 Arkansas 18/18
82 Ron Frederick WR/PR 5.11 180 Duke 15/4
83 Greg Anderson WR 5.10 170 Alabama State 18/16
84 Sylvester Moy WR 6.00 180 Grambling State 13/2
85 Mike Hirn TE 6.03 234 Central Michigan 6/0
86 Jim Smith WR 6.02 205 Michigan 12/10
87 Kevin Miller WR/KR 5.10 180 Louisville 5/1
88 Steve Stephens TE 6.03 227 Oklahoma State 14/3
89 Johnnie Dirden WR/KR 6.00 190 Sam Houston State 8/0
90 Wendell Ray LB 6.04 233 Missouri 3/2
96 Charles Martin NT 6.04 276 Livingston College 14/2
98 Jackie Cline DE 6.04 275 Alabama 17/16
99 Moochie Allen NT 6.04 258 Southern Mississippi 7/0

1983 Birmingham Stallions Statistics[edit]

No. RUSHING Pos GP-GS Car Yds Avg Lng TDs
32 Ken Talton FB 15-11 228 907 4.0 28 5
23 Earl Gant RB 17-14 133 530 4.0 19 2
40 Cornelius Quarles FB 15-7 107 495 4.6 39 3
45 Billy White RB 16-4 117 349 3.0 14 2
10 Reggie Collier QB 8-5 39 253 6.5 30 4
30 Lonnie Johnson RB 11-0 52 181 3.5 22 3
12 Bobby Lane RB 18-13 42 178 4.2 32 3
11 Melvin Williams QB 10-0 7 58 8.3 17 0
86 Jim Smith WR 12-10 5 39 7.8 21 0
82 Ron Frederick WR 15-4 4 19 4.8 17 0
31 John Skibinski FB 17-0 6 13 2.2 4 0
84 Sylvester Moy WR 13-2 1 -5 -5.0 -5 0
Total 741 3,017 4.1 39 22
Opponents 520 2,330 4.5 73 18
No. PASSING Pos GP-GS Cmp-Att Yds Lng Pct TD IC Skd Lost
12 Bobby Lane QB 18-13 175-346 2,264 53 50.6% 14 18 15 106
10 Reggie Collier QB 8-5 47-108 604 46 43.5% 1 7 14 132
11 Melvin Williams QB 10-0 9-21 131 39 42.9% 0 2 1 5
Total   231-475 2,999 53 48.6% 15 27 30 243
Opponents   278-554 3,520 81 50.2% 22 22 51 414
No. RECEIVING Pos GP-GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TDs
86 Jim Smith WR 12-10 51 756 14.8 39 3
81 Darryl Mason TE 18-18 45 547 12.2 33 2
83 Greg Anderson WR 18-16 28 529 18.9 50 5
23 Earl Gant RB 17-14 24 299 12.5 37 1
32 Ken Talton RB 15-11 21 156 7.4 25 0
82 Ron Frederick WR 15-4 16 290 18.1 46 2
84 Sylvester Moy WR 13-2 12 203 16.9 53 0
40 Cornelius Quarles FB 15-7 12 86 7.2 17 0
45 Billy White RB 16-4 7 47 6.7 8 0
88 Steve Stephens TE 14-3 6 36 6.0 17 1
85 Johnnie Dirden WR 8-0 3 22 7.3 12 0
31 John Skibinski FB 17-0 2 13 6.5 8 0
30 Lonnie Johnson RB/KR 11-0 2 12 6.0 16 1
80 Mike Kincaid WR/KR 10-0 1 3 3.0 3 0
4 Scott Norwood K 18-0 1 0 0.0 0 0
Total 231 2,999 13.0 53 15
Opponents 278 3,520 12.7 81 22
No. KICKOFF RETURNS Pos GP-GS KOR Yds Avg Lng TDs
80 Mike Kincaid WR/KR 10-0 19 404 21.3 43 0
85 Johnnie Dirden WR/KR 8-0 16 322 20.1 41 0
30 Lonnie Johnson RB/KR 11-0 10 190 19.0 39 0
21 Charles Grandjean SS 18-6 8 97 12.1 26 0
87 Kevin Miller WR 5-1 2 34 17.0 21 0
45 Billy White WR 16-4 1 27 27.0 27 0
82 Ron Frederick WR 15-4 1 14 14.0 14 0
40 Charlie Trotman CB 3-0 1 11 11.0 11 0
59 Mark Battaglia G/C 18-11 1 10 10.0 10 0
57 Dallas Hickman LB 18-16 1 0 0.0 0 0
Total 60 1,109 18.5 43 0
Opponents 71 1,183 16.7 67 0
No. PUNT RETURNS Pos GP-GS PR FC Yds Avg Lng TDs
82 Ron Frederick WR/KR 15-4 23 6 170 7.4 15 0
80 Mike Kincaid WR/KR 10-0 15 1 100 6.7 14 0
45 Billy White RB 16-4 1 0 15 15.0 15 0
87 Kevin Miller WR/KR 5-1 4 1 6 1.5 3 0
85 Johnnie Dirden WR/KR 8-0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
32 Ken Talton FB 15-11 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
Total 45 8 291 6.5 15 0
Opponents 45 7 380 8.4 31 0
No. KICKING Pos GP-GS FGM FGA XPM XPA PTS
4 Scott Norwood K 18-0 25 34 34 35 109
Total 25 34 34 35 109
Opponents 14 27 34 37 76
No. PUNTING Pos GP-GS Pnt Yds Avg Lng TB In20
7 Alan Bollinger P 11-0 51 2,008 39.4 56 7 11
8 Skip Johnston P 4-0 21 870 41.4 63 2 2
8 Dario Casarino P 3-0 12 437 36.4 52 1 1
Total 84 3,315 39.5 63 9 13
Opponents 88 3,674 41.8 70 8 27
No. DEFENSE Pos GP-GS Tkl Ast Tot Skd PD FR IC Yds
55 Herb Spencer LB 16-12 83 22 105 7.5 5 2 1 42
44 Billy Cesare SS 18-18 66 23 89 0.0 18 2 4 52
53 Rich D'Amico LB 16-16 71 13 84 1.0 0 2 0 0
57 Dallas Hickmam LB 18-16 61 14 75 6.5 3 0 1 7
28 Frank Reed CB 15-14 59 14 73 1.0 13 1 3 24
75 Jimmy Walker NT 18-16 49 14 63 5.0 3 1 1 27
20 Emmuel Thompson CB 18-13 48 10 58 0.0 19 0 5 24
98 Jackie Cline DE 17-16 38 11 49 5.5 0 1 0 0
49 Mike Thomas FS 18-17 41 8 49 0.0 12 0 2 27
97 Reggie Lewis DE 14-3 33 15 48 2.0 0 0 0 0
79 Mike Raines DE 17-13 31 17 48 8.0 2 0 0 0
50 Larry McPherson LB 16-16 29 14 43 4.0 0 2 4 55
21 Charles Grandjean CB 18-6 26 12 38 0.0 0 0 0 0
42 Mike Hatchett SS 18-0 23 11 34 0.0 0 0 0 0
56 Mike Murphy LB 13-2 27 5 32 1.5 0 0 0 0
26 David Evans CB 4-3 21 7 28 0.0 2 0 0 0
96 Charles Martin NT 14-2 20 7 27 0.0 0 1 0 0
51 Freddie Smith LB 9-2 11 3 14 3.0 0 0 0 0
99 Moochie Allen NT 7-0 6 7 13 0.5 0 0 0 0
77 Drew Taylor DE 7-4 10 0 10 4.5 0 0 0 0
63 Brett Williams DE 5-0 3 3 6 1.0 0 0 0 0
60 Melvin Land LB 7-4 5 1 6 0.0 0 0 1 9
24 Charlie Trotman CB 3-0 3 1 4 0.0 0 0 0 0
90 Wendell Ray LB 3-2 3 0 3 0.0 0 0 0 0
58 Lester Dickey LB 2-2 2 1 3 0.0 0 0 0 0
38 David Smilo FS 6-1 2 1 3 0.0 0 0 0 0
51 Carl McGee LB 2-0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Total 771 234 1,005 51.0 77 12 22 267
Opponents --- --- --- 30.0 -- -- 27 283
No. OFFENSIVE LINEMEN Pos GP-GS
72 Robert Woods LT 16-15
71 Pat Phenix RT 16-16
70 Mark Goodspeed OT 1-0
78 Buddy Aydelette LG/T 18-18
59 Mark Battaglia RG 18-11
74 Pat Saindon RG 10-6
64 Mike Turner RG/T 14-2
69 Bill Searcey OG 5-0
54 Tom Banks C 18-18

1983 Birmingham Stallions End of Season Roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1983 End of Season Roster (at 2-Jul-83)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve


Rookies in italics
43 Active, 7 Developmental

1984 Season[edit]

With the off-season signing of former NFL'ers quarterback Cliff Stoudt, running back Joe Cribbs, full back Leon Perry, defensive end Dave Pureifory and CFL cornerback Ricky Ray, the Stallions outlook for the 1984 campaign was bright.

Coach Dotsch shored up several areas, including the defensive line where three players from the 1983 squad were let go. Also added to the lineup was a college free agent in safety Chuck Clanton who burst onto the scene with the Stallions in 1984 as a major force on a re-build defense.

The Stallions also employed a re-vamped defense with a regular "Nickel" formation featuring, two linebackers and 5 defensive backs - one of the first defenses of its kind utilized in the USFL (the San Antonio Gunslingers were the other team to feature the nickel defense as well in 1984).

The Stallions' first game of the 1984 campaign was before a league record 62,500 fans at Legion Field against another re-constructed club in the New Jersey Generals. With the Generals arriving in town like a circus with new owner Donald Trump, running back Herschel Walker and quarterback Brian Sipe in tow, Birmingham was abuzz with anticipation for the new season.

The opening game against New Jersey was broadcast on national television on ABC, however, the Stallions were listless in a 17-6 loss to the Generals to start the season.

However, the game would mark the start of a nine-game unbeaten streak that took the Stallions into a May 6 contest at Legion Field with a 9-1 record against the 9-1 Philadelphia Stars. In its biggest game since the opener against New Jersey, the Stallions came up flat in a 43-11 spanking at the hands of the Stars who would go onto win the 1984 USFL Championship.

The game against the Stars drew a crowd of 49,500, however, the loss sullied interest in the team for the rest of the season as the club averaged only averaged 27,000 fans per game for their last four home games, despite chalking up a 14-4 record. The decline was also blamed on the USFL's decision in May to move to a fall schedule for the 1986 season - a scenario that transpired in several USFL markets.

With their 14-4 mark, the Stallions captured the Southern Division Championship and a berth in the USFL playoffs with a 35-20 win over the Memphis Showboats in Week #17 at a sold-out Liberty Bowl.

In the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Stallions defeated their southern division rivals the Tampa Bay Bandits with a convincing 36-16 win at Legion Field in front of 32,000.

One week later, the Stallions dropped the Eastern Conference Championship, 20-10 to the Philadelphia Stars in a game played at Franklin Field. The venue was moved to the University of Pennsylvania campus when Veterans Stadium was occupied by the Philadelphia Phillies.

1984 Birmingham Stallions Opening Day Roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1984 Opening Day Roster (at 26-Feb-84)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve


Rookies in italics
40 Active, 10 Developmental

1984 Birmingham Stallions Schedule[edit]

Week Day Date Opponent Game Site Attendance Final Score W/L Record
1 Sunday February 26, 1984 New Jersey Generals Legion Field 62,500 6-17 L 0-1
2 Sunday March 4, 1984 at Los Angeles Express Los Angeles Coliseum 14,789 21-14 W 1-1
3 Sunday March 11, 1984 at Pittsburgh Maulers Three Rivers Stadium 53,771 30-18 W 2-1
4 Saturday March 17, 1984 Memphis Showboats Legion Field 41,500 54-6 W 3-1
5 Monday March 26, 1984 at Tampa Bay Bandits Tampa Stadium 37,899 27-9 W 4-1
6 Monday April 2, 1984 New Orleans Breakers Legion Field 28,100 31-17 W 5-1
7 Saturday April 7, 1984 at Jacksonville Bulls Gator Bowl 43,654 24-17 W 6-1
8 Sunday April 15, 1984 at Michigan Panthers Pontiac Silverdome 42,655 28-17 W 7-1
9 Saturday April 21, 1984 Oklahoma Outlaws Legion Field 41,653 41-17 W 8-1
10 Sunday April 29, 1984 at Denver Gold Mile High Stadium 35,262 31-14 W 9-1
11 Sunday May 6, 1984 Philadelphia Stars Legion Field 49,500 11-43 L 9-2
12 Friday May 11, 1984 Jacksonville Bulls Legion Field 29,500 42-10 W 10-2
13 Friday May 18, 1984 at Chicago Blitz Soldier Field 8,578 41-7 W 11-2
14 Sunday May 27, 1984 at New Orleans Breakers Louisiana Superdome 23,748 31-14 W 12-2
15 Sunday June 3, 1984 Arizona Wranglers Legion Field 32,500 28-38 L 12-3
16 Sunday June 10, 1984 Washington Federals Legion Field 22,100 42-21 W 13-3
17 Saturday June 16, 1984 at Memphis Showboats Liberty Bowl 50,079 35-20 W 14-3
18 Saturday July 2, 1984 Tampa Bay Bandits Legion Field 24,500 16-17 L 14-4
*QF Sunday July 1, 1984 Tampa Bay Bandits Legion Field 32,000 36-16 W 1-0
*SF Sunday July 8, 1984 at Philadelphia Stars Franklin Field 26,616 10-20 L 1-1

1984 Birmingham Stallions End of Season Roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1984 End of Season Roster (at 24-Jun-84)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve


Rookies in italics
43 Active, 7 Developmental

1985 Season[edit]

After having a very successful 1984 season and coming to within a win of the USFL Championship game, the Stallions entered 1985 with high hopes.

Like most USFL teams, the Stallions exercised more fiscal responsibility in 1985 and made only minor upgrades to their roster in the off-season. The only notable addition during the off-season was defensive tackle Doug Smith who was a 2nd round pick by the Houston Oilers in 1984. Smith, an Auburn graduate, was a territorial selection of the Stallions in 1984, and signed with the Stallions after being unable to come to a contract agreement with the Oilers.

After acquiring the first overall pick in the 1985 USFL Open Draft, the Stallions selected a wide receiver from Mississippi Valley State University named Jerry Rice. The USFL draft was held in January 1985, however, when the NFL Draft was held four months later, Rice was considered a "project" by several NFL scouting staffs and dropped to the 16th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers.

Although Rice signed with the '49ers, credit should be given to GM Jerry Sklar and his staff for realizing the potential of Rice well ahead of most other professional scouting staffs.

With the USFL from 18 to 14 teams, the Stallions also acquired some solid depth in safety David Dumars from the Denver Gold, offensive tackle Phil McKinnely from the Memphis Showboats, linebacker Ken Kelley from the Chicago Blitz and defensive back Mickey Sutton from the Pittsburgh Maulers.

Birmingham opened the season, as they did in 1984, by hosting the New Jersey Generals at Legion Field. The game featured the USFL debut of 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie at quarterback for the Generals. In front of 34,785 at Legion Field, the Stallions controlled the majority of the game and won their opener, 38-28 over New Jersey.

The Stallions jumped out to a 5-1 record in 1985 and finished the regular season on a 6-1 clip to claim the Eastern Conference title and the #2 seed in the USFL Playoffs with a 13-5-0 mark. Only the Oakland Invaders had a better record in 1985 with a 13-4-1 record.

Quarterback Cliff Stoudt had a solid season passing for 3,358 yards, 34 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Stoudt's 34 touchdown passes was second only to Houston's Jim Kelly who tossed for 39 majors in 1985.

Stoudt's primary target in 1985 was wide receiver Jim Smith who had a career year catching a USFL record 20 touchdown passes. Smith caught 87 passes for a league leading 1,322 yards and was named to the USFL All-Star team.

Runningback Joe Cribbs recorded his second consecutive 1,000+ yard season with 1,047 yards on 267 carries and 7 touchdowns.

Safety Chuck Clanton also set a professional football record with 16 interceptions in 1985 as he also added 275 returns yards and a major picking off passes. The NFL record of 14 in a season was set in 1952 by Dick 'Night Train' Lane of the Los Angeles Rams. The CFL record of 15 in a season was set in 1972 by Al Brenner of the Calgary Stampeders.

In the USFL Quarter-Final, the Stallions defeated the visiting Houston Gamblers 22-20, at Legion Field.

The following week, the Stallions hosted the defending champion, and nemesis, the Baltimore Stars at Legion Field. After losing to the Stars in the Eastern Conference final in 1984, the Stallions were hoping to exact revenge, however, they dropped a 28-14 decision to Baltimore in what would eventually be Birmingham's last USFL game.

1985 Birmingham Stallions Opening Day Roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1985 Opening Day Roster (at 26-Feb-85)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve
  • None


Rookies in italics
43 Active, 7 Developmental

1985 Birmingham Stallions Schedule[edit]

Week Day Date Opponent Game Site Attendance Final Score W/L Record
1 Sunday February 26, 1985 New Jersey Generals Legion Field 34,785 38-28 W 1-0
2 Sunday March 3, 1985 Denver Gold Legion Field 27,400 23-40 L 1-1
3 Saturday March 9, 1985 at Orlando Renegades Orlando Stadium 25,831 34-10 W 2-1
4 Saturday March 16, 1985 Memphis Showboats Legion Field 34,500 34-19 W 3-1
5 Sunday March 24, 1985 at Baltimore Stars Byrd Stadium 14,529 7-3 W 4-1
6 Saturday March 30, 1985 Jacksonville Bulls Legion Field 41,200 25-18 W 5-1
7 Sunday April 7, 1985 at San Antonio Gunslingers Alamo Stadium 8,873 14-15 L 5-2
8 Saturday April 13, 1985 Oakland Invaders Legion Field 44,500 20-17 W 6-2
9 Saturday April 20, 1985 Tampa Bay Bandits Legion Field 28,900 30-3 W 7-2
10 Sunday April 28, 1985 at Jacksonville Bulls Gator Bowl 41,298 17-27 L 7-3
11 Friday May 3, 1985 at Memphis Showboats Liberty Bowl 29,025 24-38 L 7-4
12 Saturday May 11, 1985 Portland Breakers Legion Field 28,500 14-0 W 8-4
13 Sunday May 19, 1985 at Los Angeles Express Los Angeles Coliseum 4,658 44-7 W 9-4
14 Monday May 27, 1985 Orlando Renegades Legion Field 24,500 41-17 W 10-4
15 Monday June 3, 1985 at Houston Gamblers Astrodome 13,202 29-27 W 11-4
16 Saturday June 8, 1985 Baltimore Stars Byrd Stadium 24,300 14-7 W 12-4
17 Saturday June 15, 1985 at Tampa Bay Bandits Tampa Stadium 42,131 14-17 L 12-5
18 Sunday June 23, 1985 at New Jersey Generals Giants Stadium 44,098 14-6 W 13-5
*QF Saturday June 29, 1985 Houston Gamblers Legion Field 18,500 22-20 W 1-0
*SF Sunday July 7, 1985 Baltimore Stars Legion Field 23,250 14-28 L 1-1

1985 Birmingham Stallions End of Season Roster[edit]

Birmingham Stallions 1985 End of Season Roster (at 23-Jun-85)
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Developmental Squad Injured Reserve


Rookies in italics
43 Active, 6 Developmental

Stallions Single-season Records[edit]

Season-by-season[edit]

Season W L T Finish Playoff results
1983 9 9 0 4th Central --
1984 14 4 0 1st EC Southern Won Quarterfinal (Tampa Bay)
Lost Semifinal (Philadelphia)
1985 13 5 0 1st EC Won Quarterfinal (Houston)
Lost Semifinal (Baltimore)
Totals 38 20 0 (including playoffs)

After football[edit]

A few of those associated with the Stallions made their mark in Birmingham after the league folded:

  • Joey Jones, who played wide receiver, coached football at two local high schools. In 2006, he became the first head football coach at Birmingham Southern College since 1939, when football was cancelled as a varsity sport. In 2008, after just one year at BSC, he returned to his hometown of Mobile and started the college football program at the University of South Alabama.
  • Joe Cribbs returned to the NFL to finish out his football career. He returned to Birmingham to help those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Jim Hilyer, an assistant coach, went on to be the first ever football coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He would also be an assistant to three other pro football teams to play in Birmingham. After football, he was an instructor in physical fitness at the Birmingham Police Academy.
  • Buddy Aydelette is a city councilman with Trussville. Aydelette played offensive lineman for the Stallions and the University of Alabama.

Other history[edit]

The Stallions were the first pro football team to draft Jerry Rice. They received the first overall pick in the 1985 USFL Draft, due to a trade with the Orlando Renegades. Rice never played in Birmingham.

Among those considered to be Birmingham's coach were Bobby Bowden, Gene Stallings, and Hank Stram.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]