Ambassadors - 1974
“Convoluted” may not be a word that truly conveys the missteps, mishaps, and outright ineptitude that marked the genesis of this Orlando based WFL franchise. There have been quite a few reports regarding the birth and movement of the franchise from a number of sources and the stories differ. Trying to piece what appears to be a credible timeline and history together, the unfortunate story looks something like the following:
Joseph Wheeler, Jr., the owner of Wheeler Industries, a marine engineering
company, gave Davidson $5000.00 to secure the Washington area franchise that was
valued at $500,000.00.
Pardee, Bear Bryant’s All America fullback and linebacker at Texas A&M and most
recently a fifteen-year NFL veteran serving as a player-coach for the Washington
Redskins under George Allen, resigned to become head coach of the newly formed
Washington-Baltimore Ambassadors of the WFL.
RFK Stadium refuses to allow the new WFL entry to use its facilities. Wheeler is
also refused the use of Memorial Stadium at the United States Naval Academy.
newly named Washington Ambassadors create several prototype helmets, which can
be seen right HERE.
announces that he has signed Saints QB Bob Davis to play in 1974 “if the NFL
releases him from his current contract” and that the Ambassadors will, if
necessary, play as a traveling team only.
mid-April, Wheeler announces that his team will not play in Washington, D.C. but
instead will be relocated to Norfolk, Virginia and be known as the Virginia
Ambassadors. He also signs veteran Cincinnati Bengal linebacker Bill Bergey to a
personal services contract that will have the linebacker playing in the 1976
season, after his Bengal contract expires.
May 19, 1974 Wheeler, unable to secure a definite practice or playing site or
the funds to pay existing bills, forfeits ownership. He still owes Davidson and
the WFL the original franchise fee.
-Former UCLA and Boston Patriot linebacker Rommie Loudd is named as the new owner of the franchise and he immediately announces that it is being moved to Orlando, Florida.
If interested in any of these or more WFL helmets please click on the photos below.