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The Chicago Fire was an American football team in the short-lived World Football League for one season, 1974. Founded in late October 1973 by building magnate Thomas Origer, he was the first owner to purchase a franchise, for around $400,000. Chicago was the first franchise to sign a player, wide receiver Jim Seymour, fullback Bill Booker, and the first to sign a "name" player, quarterback Virgil Carter. Carter played in Chicago for the NFL Chicago Bears as well as the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers. Another notable Chicago Fire player was punter Chuck Ramsey, who would later go on to play with the New York Jets. The team played at Soldier Field. They were coached by Jim Spavital, former coach of the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Fire started out well, winning seven of their first 10 games and boasting some of the largest crowds in the league. However, a rash of injuries triggered an 11-game losing streak. Origer was so fed up by the team's collapse that he forfeited the team's final game. At the end of the season, he pulled out of the league and the Fire disbanded.
Another team, the Chicago Winds, replaced the Fire in 1975 WFL play, though the new team was evicted from the second WFL after just five games.
Another team known as the "Chicago Fire," led by running back Billy Marek, played in the American Football Association in the 1980s. There is no official tie between that team and the WFL team.
- "Head coach WFL", Football Digest, August 1974 issue
See also