Birmingham’s Crimson & White touchdowns

Williams jumps the route and picks off Tony Adams pass

When the WFL came to Birmingham, one of the big selling points with fans was the fact that there were several players that played their college football at Alabama & Auburn. While many fans may not have cared as much, there were many fans who bought tickets primarily to see some of their old favorites from the Crimson & White or the Orange & Blue. When the 1974 season kicked off, Birmingham faced the Southern California Sun and the game was a tight, tense defensive battle, that was full of drama and big plays. And turnovers.One of those former Bama players was DB Steve Williams. Williams was known for being a reliable DB, but his main calling card was his speed. Williams could fly. With the Ams trailing the Sun 7-3 as the 4th quarter began, the Sun had began a modest drive when Tony Adam threw to his WR, Dave Williams. However, Ams DB Steve Williams diagnosed the play and darted in front of the Sun’s Williams and picked off the pass at around the 48 yard line and sprinted untouched into the endzone for the very first Ams touchdown. This proved to be the winning margin as, after the action point, the AMs held on for a tense 11-7 victory. It began a 10 game unbeaten run for the ’74 season that would end with the AMs posting a 15-5 regular season record and a 17-5 final record and a World Bowl Victory. Steve would not finish the year with the Ams, as a flurry of midseason personnel changes came about.

When the 1975 Season began the Americans were now known as the Vulcans. And with the new season, brought about another former fan favorite joining the fold. Former Crimson Tider Johnny Musso, who finished his playing days in Canada to join the hometown team in the WFL. Musso delighted fans by scoring a TD in a preseason scrimmage against the Memphis Southmen, who had made a splash with their signing of Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, & Jim Kiick. When the 2 teams met again at Legion Field in October, Musso, again, scored. His TD was the final points in a 21-0 shutout of the Southmen. What no one knew, at the time, was that Musso’s TD proved to be the very last TD ever for the Vulcans. Later the following week, the WFL folded.

It’s really ironic that the first and last TD’s ever scored for Birmingham’s WFL teams were scored by former Bama players. I had a conversation with the late Lee Davis back in 2004, and when I pointed out this fact, Lee, who was an incredible repository of football knowledge, was surprised to hear this and to which he quickly agreed that it was a strange tidbit of info. It was the first, and probably only time, that I ever told Lee something Alabama football related that he didn’t know.

Just one more reason to miss the WFL and also to miss our old friend Lee.