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1975 Jacksonville Express

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Jacksonville ExpressWorld Football League (1975)

Born: 1975 – WFL expansion franchise.
Folded: October 22, 1975

Stadium: The Gator Bowl (70,000)

Team Colors: Black, Gold & Red

Owner: Earl Knabb, et al.

World Bowl Championships: None

 

The Jacksonville Express was a franchise that existed for part of one season in the World Football League (1974-1975).  The WFL was an under-funded effort to challenge the NFL head-to-head in the fall, along the lines of the AFL-NFL rivalry of the 1960’s.  Jacksonville was one of the league’s original cities in 1974, but the Jacksonville Sharks club went kaput midway through the season.

When the WFL re-organized for 1975, they gave Jacksonville another shot under an entirely new ownership group and front office.  Among the few holdovers from the Sharks debacle was Head Coach Charlie Tate.  The new club adopted the Jacksonville Express moniker.

Jacksonville ExpressThe team had a handful of seasoned NFL veterans but no true “stars”.  NFL veteran QB George Mira played for the WFL’s Birmingham Americans the previous year and earned MVP honors in the 1974 World Bowl championship game.  Defensive end Don Brumm was a former 1st round draft pick and Pro Bowler with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals.  The Express also signed young running back Tommy Reamon, who was one of the league’s ‘Tri-MVP’s” in 1974 as a rookie with the since-disbanded Florida Blazers club.

The Express featured one notable rookie in defensive back Steve Foley out of Tulane University.  After the WFL disbanded, Foley latched on with the Denver Broncos and enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL, highlighted by two Super Bowl appearances and an All-Pro selection in 1978.

The Express posted a 6-5 record and were midway through their first season when financial problems finally overwhelmed the league.  League owners met on October 22, 1975 to review the condition of the league and voted 6-4 to disband immediately.  Despite disappointing attendance at the Gator Bowl – just over 10,000 per game, down sharply from the free-ticket fueled number posted by the Jacksonville Sharks a year earlier – the Express were one of the four dissenting clubs who wished to continue.

The league shut down immediately in the wake of the vote.  The Express final game was a 30-13 road loss in Portland, Oregon on October 19, 1975.

 

Jacksonville Express Shop

Express Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

WIFFLE: The Wild, Zany and Sometimes Hilariously True Story of the World Football League by Mark Speck

 

Jacksonville Express Memorabilia

 

In Memoriam

Former Express Head Coach Charlie Tate died on June 10, 1996.  Tate was 77 years old.

 

Downloads

1975 World Football League Standard Player Contract

 

Links

1975 World Football League Media Guides

1975 World Football League Programs

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Written by AC

January 28th, 2013 at 5:58 pm

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