27 August 2000
team reporters for the Birmingham Bolts! Two fans who have been
on top of the Birmingham situation ever since the XFL first
hinted they would be coming to town. Bamaslammer and
Sonny Sanders will be covering the "Bolts"
in the months leading up to the kickoff of the XFL season. We
wish them good luck!
XFL or EX-FL For Birmingham?
By Sonny Sanders - Birmingham
Bolts Team Co-Reporter
is on, Graymont Avenue, an unseen graveyard. It is a final resting-place
for the defunct teams of professional football past. Though the
graves are unmarked the memory of these failures lives on. Therefore
the football fans of Birmingham should be forgiven for their lack
of enthusiasm regarding the XFL. Too many times fancy football
leagues have tried to establish themselves in the Magic City only
to have the foundation crumble beneath them. To the fans in Birmingham
it has become a revolving door of teams that are not the NFL.
XFL must put a quality product on the field. The Birmingham team
more so than others must be a winning franchise. The football
fans in this area are used to the success that Auburn and Alabama
have had. That weighs heavily in the minds of the Birmingham fans.
The Birmingham Stallions of the USFL were successful on the field
and in the stands. Unfortunately the league folded. There is proof
that a winning pro football team can work in Birmingham. The Stallions
of the USFL did very well. The league itself did not fare so well.
The fans will show up out of curiosity. They will stay only if
the quality of the football played is up to their standard.
announcement of Gerry Dinardo was not an announcement that brought
to mind glorious championships though. They remember that he was
fired from LSU after a rather pathetic season. His name has been
etched in their minds as that of less than stellar coach. Dinardo
reputation as a bad coach maybe undeserved. It seems that maybe
he was in the wrong environment at LSU. His record proves that
he can win. Dinardo was 19-25 with Vanderbilt. That is the best
four-year record in twenty plus years. Dinardo went on to compile
a 26-9-1 record in his first three years at LSU. The LSU Tigers
had a six-year losing streak before Dinardo arrived. Then the
bottom fell out. Dinardo claims to be a victim of circumstance.
It's true that one of the toughest coaching jobs is in the SEC.
There is a lot of pressure to win in every facet of the game.
Can he be successful in the XFL? Yes. He knows the talent in this
area and can use that knowledge and his contacts to recruit the
best players that will not head to the NFL.
XFL has made a very good decision in hiring Kent Partridge to
become the director of media relations. Partridge is leaving Texas
Tech University to take this position. He was also the media relation's
director for Auburn. This is a great move for the XFL. Partridge
is well like and highly respected in this area. He is familiar
with the local media and will have a very positive influence on
the Birmingham team. The hiring of Tim Berryman as general manager
will have a positive affect. Berryman was the president and chief
operating officer of the Little Rock-based Arkansas Twisters of
arenafootball2 and the East Coast Hockey League's Arkansas RiverBlades.
The Twisters led the af2 in attendance in the inaugural season.
the money and marketing of the WWF and the television contract
with NBC and UPN the league can and should survive. A winning
team on the field will assure that the XFL will survive in Birmingham.
The fans seem to be in a wait and see mode. The XFL will have
to prove themselves. That seems to be one of Vince McMahon's biggest
Generation X gets its own Team
By Bamaslammer - Birmingham Bolts Team Co-Reporter
familiar with Pro football history in Birmingham can tell you
the disappointments in the past. In the 70's when Birmingham was
often mentioned as an expansion city by the NFL, a play was made
for the Eagles. Most every serious attempt at a pro football rival
to the NFL has made a stop in Birmingham, WFL, USFL, Canadian,
WLAF. Thus leads to the infinite stream of bad press coming from
the local sports writers. I suppose predicting the demise of something
new is the safe bet for sure but I'm not sure if its the right
Lets look at why the XFL is different:
Solid Financial Backing - multiple TV Contracts in hand.
Salary Control - No bidding wars with the NFL.
Central Control - No stupid or egomaniacal owners.
Territorial Draft - Local College Talent.
Short Season - Cheap Season Tickets!
Spring - Nothing Else To Do.
Outdoor Stadiums - Dirt and Grass!
Marketing - WWF - took a joke and made an industry.
Birmingham announcement was slow in coming and it was known almost
30 days before that the deal was done. But the real news at the
press conference was to announce the men who would shape pro football
in Birmingham. Jerry Dinardo was hired by the league to coach.
Jerry has one qualification that would be important in the deep
south, SEC coaching experience. He was generally regarded as doing
alot with a little at Vanderbilt. He was well liked in LSU until
the last two years. Those were dark days for Jerry in that he
had a good team on paper yet the team failed on the field. It
remains to be seen what manner of Professional Coach Dinardo will
be but my guess is a few early wins would make his life here easier.
In charge of putting the fannies in the seats is the GM Tim Berryman
Berryman is definitely what you would call an "outsider".
Hailing from Canada and the CFL. He has made a living starting
and running pro sports Organizations. Berryman helped market the
Arkansas RiverBlades and Louisiana IceGators of the East Coast
Hockey League. Recently he was instrumental in forming the Arkansas
Twisters of the AF2. Berryman has had record attendance at two
of the three organizations he helped run.
man behind the curtain number one may be the most important person
in The old Barracuda's office space. Player Personnel Director
Bob Gates brings 37 years of Pro Football management experience
to Birmingham, again.. You see he's been here before as the Assistant
GM of the Birmingham Fire of the WLAF. Bill's job is to find the
Sam Mills's and Kurt Warner's from the castoffs and washouts that
fill NFL training camps and Arena League rosters.
Gates may have a head start on his counterparts around the league
due to the fact that he has been reviewing the on-line player
applications for the league office from the beginning.
Most people who remember the failures of the past refuse to give
any credence to this new league. Most young people are ready to
give it a try. I guess this is Generation X's chance for Pro Football
in Alabama. Hopefully they will not be disappointed too. I for
one hope so, because Bear is gone, Bo Retired, and The Iron Bowl
is history. Birmingham needs something to call its own.