Jacksonville Sharks (WFL)

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For the Arena Football League team, see Jacksonville Sharks.
Jacksonville Sharks
Established January 1974
Folded September 1974
Based in Jacksonville, Florida
Home field Gator Bowl Stadium
Head coach Bud Asher
Charlie Tate
Owner(s) Fran Monaco
League World Football League
Division Eastern
Colours Black and silver          

The Jacksonville Sharks were a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida. They competed for part of the 1974 season in the World Football League, a failed attempt to launch a major professional football league in the United States in competition with the National Football League. The team played seven home games at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville. The Sharks roster was a mixture of rookies such as Mike Townsend, Eddie McAshan and Reggie Oliver, and veterans like Ike Lassiter, John Stofa and Drew Buie. The Sharks front office claimed to have sold 18,000 season tickets, and the team drew 59,112 for the home opener against the New York Stars and 46,000 against the Southern California Sun. The club later admitted to giving away 44,000 tickets. Six weeks into the season owner Fran Monaco fired head coach Bud Asher, replacing him with Charlie Tate.

Despite this embarrassment, the Sharks were second in the league in attendance. However, the team was so poorly managed that they soon ran dangerously low on cash. Monaco tried to sell the team to New York financier William Pease. However, after it emerged that Pease was under indictment regarding a Connecticut land deal, the WFL took over the franchise on September 22. The players, unpaid for over a month, threatened not to fly to Anaheim to play the Southern California Sun. League Commissioner Gary Davidson paid them $65,000 in escrow and the players made the trip. A week later, after vetoing several prospective owners, the league folded the team.

1974 game results[edit]

Week Winner Loser Location
1 Jacksonville Sharks 14 New York Stars 7 Jacksonville
2 Chicago Fire 25 Jacksonville Sharks 22 Chicago
3 Southern California Sun 22 Jacksonville Sharks 19 Jacksonville
4 New York Stars 24 Jacksonville Sharks 16 New York
5 Jacksonville Sharks 21 The Hawaiians 14 Jacksonville
6 Florida Blazers 33 Jacksonville Sharks 26 Orlando
7 Birmingham Americans 15 Jacksonville Sharks 14 Jacksonville
8 Jacksonville Sharks 14 The Hawaiians 8 Honolulu
9 Memphis Southmen 16 Jacksonville Sharks 13 Jacksonville
10 Jacksonville Sharks 34 Philadelphia Bell 30 Jacksonville
11 Philadelphia Bell 41 Jacksonville Sharks 22 (OT) Philadelphia
12 Portland Storm 19 Jacksonville Sharks 17 Jacksonville
13 Southern California Sun 57 Jacksonville Sharks 7 Anaheim
14 Memphis Southmen 47 Jacksonville Sharks 19 Memphis
15 vs. Florida Blazers Jacksonville (Cancelled)
16 vs. Portland Storm Portland (Cancelled)
17 vs. Birmingham Americans Birmingham (Cancelled)
18 vs. Detroit Wheels Jacksonville (Cancelled)
19 vs. Houston Texans Houston (Cancelled)
20 vs. Chicago Fire Jacksonville (Cancelled)

Jacksonville Express[edit]

The WFL returned to Jacksonville the following season with the Jacksonville Express, which had different ownership and front office personnel than the failed Sharks.[1] The Express had a 6-5 record when the league folded during the 1975 season.