Birmingham  WFL

Americans  - 1974 
(Authentic Reproduction)


HELMET HUT is indebted to Mr. Greg Allred (picture below) who is perhaps the ultimate Birmingham Americans and Vulcans fan and historian. He provided a great deal of insight, personal recollections, and behind-the-scenes information that made this specific piece extremely enjoyable and informative. Mr. Allred provided NFL Films with much of their information and on-camera interviews for their LOST TREASURES OF THE NFL feature on the World Football League. He shares much of his knowledge on his website which can be accessed at: 


Birmingham, like Memphis, wished to believe that they were part of the NFL’s expansion plans scheduled for 1976 or 1977. Enough hope was held out that of the two to four possible expansion sites, the city fathers of Birmingham, Memphis, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Honolulu all believed they had an equal opportunity. When Birmingham was dropped from the list, it paved the way for the fledging WFL franchise to secure the rights to Legion Field. The man behind the team that had first stated that it would be named after “the state of Alabama, not a city because we represent the entire state of Alabama” was William Putnam.  Putnam had a varied background that was strongly related to professional sports. As an officer with Morgan Guaranty he assisted in acquiring a loan so that Jerry Wolman could purchase the Philadelphia Eagles. Whatever he did to assist in securing the funds for Wolman, it would prove to be a terrific investment down the line for Bill Putnam. Leaving J.P. Morgan as their youngest vice president to date, he moved to California to become executive vice president of Jack Kent Cooke Enterprises where he negotiated the site of the Los Angeles Forum. He enhanced his reputation in helping to negotiate the purchase of the NBA Lakers and then helped to organize and finance the Los Angeles Kings hockey club. When Wolman wound up in the middle of the “package deal” of starting the Philadelphia Flyers hockey club and building their new home that would be christened The Spectrum Arena, Putnam became a twenty-five percent owner of the new club. On June 23, 1970 Putnam sold that twenty-five percent for $2.3 million to F. Eugene Dixon and walked with the money, founding a construction company in Atlanta. Putnam then became a ten percent investor in the Atlanta Omni Corporation that owned the Omni Arena (which Putnam’s construction company built), the NBA Atlanta Hawks, and the NHL Atlanta Flames.  MORE...

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