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July 5, 1975 – Southern California Sun vs. San Antonio Wings

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Southern California Sun vs. San Antonio Wings
July 5, 1975
Anaheim Stadium
Attendance: 15,722

World Football Programs
32 pages


This 1975 exhibition season opener for the Southern California Sun of the World Football League (1974-1975) saw the pro debuts of a trio of former University of Southern California stars.  Quarterback Pat Haden and wide receiver J.K. McKay were best friends and co-MVPs of USC’s thrilling 18-17 Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State seven months earlier.  The mostly highly touted rookie star for the Sun – and the entire struggling league – was Anthony Davis, the former Trojans All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up.  Davis was featured on the cover illustration of the evening’s game program (above right).

Davis got off to a strong start, running for 62 yards on 16 carries in the first half and returning a kickoff for 70 more.  (Davis’ breakout would come in pre-season week two, rushing for four touchdowns against Memphis). But Haden was the revelation this evening, coming on in the second half to relieve projected starter Daryle Lamonica, the former Oakland Raiders star who’d lost his NFL job to Ken Stabler.  After a scoreless first quarter, the game turned into a barnburner with the visiting San Antonio Wings taking a 31-29 lead late in the fourth quarter.  Haden engineered a game winning 97-yard drive with a few minutes to play that ended with a one-yard QB sneak into the endzone for the winning score.

Lamonica turned out to be washed up and separated from the Sun after only a few games in 1975.  Haden ended up handling the bulk of the quarterbacking duties, which was rather unexpected since he had an arrangement with Sun management to leave the team at midseason to pursue a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford.  As it turned out, the World Football League ran out of money and shut down in October 1975, the same month that Haden left for England.  Haden returned to Southern California in 1976 and latched on with the Los Angeles Rams, leading the team to three consecutive NFC West division titles from 1976 to 1978.



July 5, 1975 San Antonio Wings Roster

July 5, 1975 Southern California Sun Roster



San Antonio Wings Home Page

Southern California Sun Home Page


Written by AC

September 6th, 2013 at 1:13 am

1975 San Antonio Wings


San Antonio WingsWorld Football League (1975)

Born: March 1975 – WFL expansion franchise
Died: October 22, 1975 – WFL folds in midseason

Stadium: Alamo Stadium (30,000)

Team Colors: Blue, Silver & White

Owner/Governor: Norman Bevan


The San Antonio Wings were a new franchise in the second and final season of the World Football League (1974-1975).  They are sometimes referred to as a relocation of the bankrupt Florida Blazers franchise from the 1974 season, but the transaction was not quite so straightforward.  As part of their entry into the league, the Wings were provided rights to some of the Blazers contracts, but were also treated as an expansion team and allowed to select two players from each of the returning franchises through an expansion draft.

The Wings made their regular season home debut on July 26th, 1975 against the Charlotte Hornets.  San Antonio prevailed 27-10 before an announced crowd of 12,325 at 22,000-seat Alamo Stadium.  The attendance figures were of great interest to the Wings players, who had signed 1975 standard player contracts under the unique terms of the so-called “Hemmeter Plan”.

Named for the league’s technocratic new President, Christopher Hemmeter, the Hemmeter Plan was intended as a league-wide cost control blue print.  Specifically, the Plan sought to convert traditionally fixed costs – such as player salaries and stadium leases – to variable costs paid out as a percentage of revenue.  Teams would sign approximately 42 players and coaches and would allocate 42% of team revenues to their compensation.  Each player and coach would receive a guarantee of $500 a week against 1% of gross revenue.  Players on a team that brought in $2 million in annual revenue could expect to earn about $20,000.  Teams that wished to pay more – to lure an NFL veteran, for example – could do so by offering the standard percentage point plus an additional fixed amount.  The overage needed to be placed in escrow before the season.  Hemmeter pegged break-even at approximately 17,000 fans per game across the league.

But there was a rub.  And the rub was that revenues weren’t sufficient to meet the minimum guarantees.  The 1974 World Football League had a national television contract with the TVS Network, a syndicator that placed sports programming on independent UHF channels.  In 1975 networks were reluctant to get involved with a league where teams had abandoned the major media markets of New York and Houston to set up shop in places like Charlotte and Shreveport, Louisiana.  There was mild interest when the Chicago Winds franchise offered a $4 million package to Joe Namath in the spring of 1975, but it evaporated when Broadway Joe decided to stay in the NFL.  Meanwhile, attendance around the league severely underperformed expectations.  According to The Associated Press fewer than half of the league’s games produced box office takes sufficient to pay out the $500 per player minimum.

The Wings had a Jekyll & Hyde personality under Head Coach Perry Moss.  The club was unbeatable at home  (7-0) and hapless on the road (0-6).  Notable players included Johnnie Walton, one of the first black quarterbacks to start for a pro team, and Willie Frazier, a former All-Pro in the American Football League with the Houston Oilers.  In October 1975, the Wings signed Jerry Tagge, the former University of  Nebraska quarterback and 1st round draft bust of the Green Bay Packers (#11 overall, 1972).  Tagge arrived just in time to start the Wings final game (and throw five interceptions) in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 19, 1975.

Three days later, on October 22, 1975, the World Football League went out of business midway through its second season, due to chronic financial problems.

Pro football returned to San Antonio and Alamo Stadium nine years later with the arrival of the San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League.


==1975 San Antonio Wings Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/5/1975 @ Southern California Sun (Exh.) L 36-31 Program Roster
7/19/1975 vs. Memphis Southmen (Exh.) W 7-0
7/26/1975 vs. Charlotte Hornets W 27-10
8/2/1975 vs. Shreveport Steamer W 19-3 Program
8/9/1975 vs. Southern California Sun W 54-22 Program Roster
8/16/1975 @ Charlotte Hornets L 27-20 Program
8/23/1975 @ Jacksonville Express L 26-19
8/30/1975 vs. Portland Thunder W 22-0 Program Roster
9/7/1975 vs. Southern California Sun W 30-8
9/13/1975 @ Birmingham Vulcans L 33-24 Program
9/21/1975 vs. The Hawaiians W 30-11 Program
9/28/1975 vs. Memphis Southmen W 25-17 Program
10/4/1975 @ Philadelphia Bell L 42-38 Program
10/12/1975 @ Portland Thunder L 28-25 (OT)
10/19/1975 @ Shreveport Steamer L 41-31 Program Roster


==Key Players==


==In Memoriam==

Former Wings owner Norman Bevan died in a car accident on February 2, 2012 at the age of 81.



1975 World Football League Standard Player Contract



1975 San Antonio Wings Statistics on

World Football League Media Guides

World Football League Programs


Written by AC

January 20th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

August 30, 1975 – San Antonio Wings vs. Portland Thunder

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San Antonio Wings vs. Portland Thunder
August 30, 1975
Alamo Stadium
Attendance: 12,197

World Football League Programs
60 pages


I just sold off our last few San Antonio Wings programs this morning to a collector in San Diego for a handful of coins.  It’s a shame to see these go for practically nothing because this team produced great looking memorabilia during their (very) brief existence.   But Wings material has been clogging the catacombs of the Fun While It Lasted archives in a bunker outside Boston, Massachusetts for years now, just as it has clogged e-Bay for more than a decade.   You see, this is what happens when somebody saves everything.

Memorabilia from the World Football League (1974-1975) is relatively desirable.  Like all leagues that had the stones to challenge the NFL, NBA or NHL head-to-head, it’s acquired a devoted cult following among collectors and amateur historians.  By any normal logic, keepsakes and souvenirs from the San Antonio Wings franchise should be especially sought after.  San Antonio was the last city to join the WFL, opening for business in the spring of 1975.  They signed on just in time to go up in smoke with the rest of the league in October of the same year, when the WFL folded without completing its second season.  In their entire existence, the Wings played just 12 regular season and 2 exhibition games.

At some point in that autumn of 1975, some unknown Wings employee or fan pulled everything last piece of paper off the curb and put it on the collectibles market.  And it’s been there ever since.  Go on e-Bay at any given time and you’ll find 50-100 listings for this doomed team that existed for four months nearly forty years ago.  Most of the material is paper promotional materials: programs, ticket stock, press passes and pocket schedules.

Bad news for dealers – this glut of Wings stuff never moves, which is why we finally unloaded ours – but a great entry point for budget-conscious collectors or curious fans looking to learn more about this fascinating league.   While a WFL program from a tough franchise like the Portland Thunder, the Hawaiians or the Charlotte Hornets might run you $20 – $30, you can usually pick up some really attractive San Antonio Wings programs for $4- $6, or buy a stack of old unused game tickets for a few bucks.  (Seriously, there have be thousands of old Wings tickets floating around the collector’s market).


OK – I realize the collector/nerd stuff isn’t for everybody.  Perhaps you wanted to know something about this actual game between the Wings and the Portland Thunder on August 30, 1975.  It was an ass whipping.  The Thunder were a notably weak entry in the league and the Wings were formidable at home.   San Antonio blanked the Thunder 22-0, thanks to two touchdowns passes from Johnnie Walton (one of the first African-American starting quarterbacks in pro football) and 100-yard rushing days from both Bill Sadler and Jim Strong.



1975 San Antonio Wings Roster as of 8/30/1975

1975 Portland Thunder Roster as of 8/30/1975



Portland Thunder Home Page

San Antonio Wings Home Page



Written by AC

January 20th, 2013 at 12:22 am


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