Birmingham Iron

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Birmingham Iron
Birmingham Iron logo.png
Sport Football
League Alliance of American Football
Active 2018 - April 2, 2019
Home field Legion Field
Record 5-3
Coach Tim Lewis
Website aaf.com/birmingham-iron

The Birmingham Iron were a professional American football team that played during the sole season of the "Alliance of American Football" (AAF), which was wholly owned by Legendary Field Exhibitions LLC of San Francisco, California. The Iron compiled a 5-3 record in league began play between February and April 2019. The team played its four home games at Legion Field. The Iron secured second place in the league's Eastern Division and would have played in the playoff semifinals had the league not ceased all operations on April 2.

History

The Alliance of American Football was created by reality show producer Charlie Ebersol and former NFL owner/executive Bill Polian. Birmingham was announced as a charter city in the AAF on June 4, 2018. The franchise's first head coach was announced on June 6 as Tim Lewis, his first job at the position. Tom Ward was named president and general manager that September.

On September 20, the league announced four eastern inaugural franchises' names and logos including Birmingham as the Birmingham Iron. The name was a tribute to the city's iron industry, while the team colors of black, dark grey, and light grey were based on iron ore, coal, and flux, the components used to make steel. Local radio coverage of Iron games was broadcast on WERC-AM.

The Iron's final 52-man roster was set on January 30, 2019. The team's first game was a home shutout victory over the Memphis Express on Sunday, February 10, 2019.

Shortly after the second weekend of play, the Alliance of American Football reported a $250 million commitment of funding from Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon. Dundon was made executive chairman of the league. In March Tom Ward and vice president for marketing Randy Campbell left the league. Jay Roberson took over as "interim chief business officer" for the team. In early April, Dundon withdrew his pledged investment, complaining that without young players on NFL rosters being available, that the league could not succeed. All league operations were suspended immediately, with player contracts terminated and the players forced to leave their temporary housing the same day and to pay their own travel expenses.

Legendary Field Exhibitions filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation on April 17. The league left unpaid debts to the city and to Birmingham area hotels and vendors.

Players

Each team played with a 52-man roster and each player was signed to a uniform 3-year, $250,000 contract ($70,000 in 2019, $80,000 in 2020, and $100,000 in 2021). Paychecks were distributed weekly with bonuses awarded to entire offensive and defensive squads for outstanding performance during the season.

The Iron's assigned area, which designated player rights, included all Alabama colleges, along with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Maryland, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of South Carolina. The Iron also has territorial rights to players from unaffiliated colleges signed by the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League; or by the Montreal Alouettes or Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League.

Notable players on the Iron's roster included quarterbacks Luis Perez and Blake Sims; running backs Ty Isaac, LaDarius Perkins and Trent Richardson; wide receivers Quan Bray, Amir Carlisle, Amba Etta-Tawo, and DeVozea Felton; tight end Rory Anderson; linebackers Beniquez Brown, Xzavier Dickson, Shaheed Salmon and Jonathan Massaquoi; defensive backs Elijah Campbell and Chris Davis Jr, and place-kicker Nick Novak.

Record (5-3)

  • February 10: The Birmingham Iron defeated the Memphis Xpress 26-0 at Legion Field
  • February 16: The Birmingham Iron defeated the Salt Lake Stallions 12-9 at Rice–Eccles Stadium.
  • February 24: The Birmingham Iron defeated the Atlanta Legends 28-12 at Georgia State Stadium.
  • March 3: The San Antonio Commanders defeated the Birmingham Iron 12-11 at Legion Field.
  • March 9: The Orlando Apollos defeated the Birmingham Iron 31-14 at Legion Field.
  • March 17: The Birmingham Iron defeated the San Diego Fleet 32-19 at SDCCU Stadium.
  • March 24: The Memphis Xpress defeated the Birmingham Iron 31-25 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
  • March 31: The Birmingham Iron defeated the Atlanta Legends 17-9 at Legion Field.
  • April 7: Birmingham Iron vs. Arizona Hotshots at Sun Devil Stadium (canceled)
  • April 14: Birmingham Iron vs. Orlando Apollos at Spectrum Stadium (canceled)
  • April 21: AAF Playoff semifinal (canceled)
  • April 27: AAF Championship (canceled)
Preceded by:
Birmingham Steeldogs
Pro Football in Birmingham
2019
Succeeded by:
None

References

  • Inabinett, Mark (July 12, 2018) "Alabama, Auburn players to go on Birmingham AAF team's assignment list." The Birmingham News
  • Patchen, Tyler (September 20, 2018) "Birmingham's new pro football team unveils nickname, logo." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Koplowitz, Howard (February 6, 2019) "Birmingham readies for first professional football game in 18 years." The Birmingham News
  • Dudley, Evan (February 10, 2019) "Birmingham Iron cruises in AAF debut win." The Birmingham News
  • Bean, Josh (March 20, 2019) "2 Birmingham Iron front office executives leave team." The Birmingham News
  • Bean, Josh (April 2, 2019) "Alliance of American Football suspends operations, ending Birmingham Iron's season." The Birmingham News
  • Beahm, Anna (May 1, 2019) "Short-lived football league owes thousands to Jim 'N Nicks, Birmingham-area hotels." The Birmingham News
  • Orr, Connor (May 1, 2019) "The Curious Rise and Spectacular Crash of the Alliance of American Football." Sports Illustrated

External links