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Birmingham Thunderbolts

Generation X gets its own Team

By Bamaslammer – Birmingham Bolts Team Co-Reporter

Anyone familiar with Pro football history in Birmingham can tell you of 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 one.

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.

The 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.

The 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.

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