Here’s to you Mr. Robinson

Paul Robinson vs Memphis Southmen

Paul Robinson vs Memphis Southmen

Paul Robinson was one of a stable of runningbacks that Birmingham Head Coach Jack Gotta unleashed during the 1974 season. Paul had been a star in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, being named 1968 Rookie of the Year, as well as playing with the Houston Oilers prior to signing with the Ams. Along with Charley Harraway, Jimmy Edwards, Art Cantrelle, and Joe Profit, Robinson gave Birmingham a running attack that came in waves and kept opposing defenses wondering who was coming at them next. Robinson was a swift, swerving runner who had speed, moves, and power when needed.

Labor Day Weekend of 1974 I had the privilege of attending the Birmingham vs Florida game at Legion Field. While rain had soaked the area for days, the rain subsided by halftime, although water would cascade down the steps and portals of the venerable stadium. Matthew Reed further cemented his status as a Birmingham legend, by once again riding to the rescue in the final minutes of the game. Reed scored and then passed to Jim Bishop for the action point to lead the Ams to a thrilling 8-7 victory. After the game as the Birmingham players made their way from the field to the dressing room, several of them removed their red, white, and blue sweatbands and tossed them into the crowd. I caught one that Robinson threw in my direction and wore it myself for weeks after the game…and of course, later put it in a drawer and, as many 12 year-olds will do, forgot about it. Fast forward many years later. While cleaning out their garage, my mom & dad found a box of some of my old stuff and to my surprise, there was the sweatband among the old locker keys, baseball cards, gumball helmets, and other treasures from my youth. Today it sits in a shadowbox in my study, another reminder of a skinny 12 year-old from rural North Alabama’s pro football experience.

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