1991 Birmingham Fire

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The 1991 Birmingham Fire played their first season at Legion Field under first-year head coach Chan Gailey. The team's record was 5-6-0 with an average of 14.0 points per game scored and 14.1 points per game allowed. The Fire's five home games were played before an average crowd of 25,442.


  • Win Lyle, #1, kicker
  • Gene Benhart, #5, quarterback
  • Hans Riecke, #6, safety
  • Eric Jones, #7, quarterback
  • Kirk Maggio, #8, punter
  • Brent Pease, #10, quarterback
  • Joe Henderson, #20, running back
  • David Clark, #21, running back
  • Anthony Newsom, #24, centerback
  • Steven Avery, #26, fullback
  • Tracy Sanders, #27, centerback
  • Alex Armenteros, #28, safety
  • John Holland, #30, centerback
  • Charles Sanders, #31, fullback
  • John Miller, #35, free safety
  • Derrick Richey, #44, centerback
  • James Henry, #45, centerback
  • Arthur Hunter, #48, safety
  • Bill Anderson, #50, center
  • Paul Yniguez, #52, center
  • Paul McGowan, #53, linebacker
  • John Brantley, #54, linebacker
  • Maurice Oliver, #55, linebacker
  • Steve Hyche, #56, linebacker
  • Steve Thompson, #57, linebacker
  • Michael Tanks, #59, center
  • Jason Kuipers, #60, guard
  • Michael Pavik, #61, guard
  • Darrell Phillips, #62, nose tackle
  • Rich Schonewolf, #63, guard
  • Sergio Vissa, #67, tight end
  • Tony Bwick, #70, nose tackle
  • Otis Moore, #71, nose tackle
  • Okland Salavea, #72, defensive end
  • Buddy King, #73, tackle
  • Junior Jackson, #75, linebacker
  • R.C. Mullin, #79, tackle
  • Willie Bouyer, #80, wide receiver
  • Gary Cooper, #81, wide receiver
  • Phil Ross, #82, tight end
  • Melvin Patterson, #85, wide receiver
  • Mark Hopkins, #87, tight end
  • Ted Wilson, #89, wide receiver
  • Arthur Walker, #96, tackle
  • Pellom McDaniels, #98, defensive end
  • Randy Cockrell, #99, linebacker

Coaching staff

  • Ghan Gailey, head coach
  • Joe D'Alessandris
  • Peter Hurt
  • Stanley King
  • Gene Smith
  • Michael O'Toole
  • Steve Marks

Record (5-6-0)

Regular season (5-5)

  • March 23: Lost 20-5 vs. Montreal Machine. In front of 53,000 fans at Legion Field, the Fire dropped their inaugural game by a final score of 20-5 to the visitors from Canada. Birmingham would not get on the scoreboard until the fourth when Win Lyle hit a 35-yard field goal. The only other points for the home team came later in the fourth when Montreal quarterback Kevin Sweeney was called for intentional grounding from the end zone resulting in a safety.
  • March 30: Won 17-10 vs. Sacramento Surge. 16,500 fans witnessed Birmingham's first victory against the visiting Surge, with game time temperatures hovering near freezing. After a scoreless first, Birmingham would build a 10-0 lead in the second on a 35 yard Win Lyle field goal and a 35 yard Joe Henderson touchdown run. Sacramento would tie the score at 10, but a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown by John Miller in the third would prove to be the game winner.
  • April 8: Lost 23-10 at Montreal Machine. A pair of defensive touchdown proved to be enough in the Machine's 23-10 victory over the visiting Fire. After falling down 13-0, Birmingham would get on the board after a 55 yard touchdown pass from Brent Pease to Stacey Mobley. The Fire's only other points would come in the second on a short Win Lyle field goal as time expired.
  • April 15: Lost 28-0 vs. London Monarchs. The Monarchs would make their first trip across the pond and shutout the Fire 28-0 before 18,500 fans at Legion Field. For the game, Birmingham could muster a mare 112 yards of total offense.
  • April 21: Won 31-6 at Orlando Thunder. After a disappointing showing against London in the previous week, the Fire looked like championship contenders after defeating the Thunder 31-6 in Orlando's Citrus Bowl. Brent Pease was dominant in completing 8 of 15 passes for 171 with a pair of touchdowns. The scores were both hauled in by Willie Bouyer from 21 and 87 yards. Stacey Mobley would then hit Pease on a trick play for a score as well. Birmingham's other points came on a 77 yard interception return by Kerwin Bell and on a pair of Win Lyle field goals.
  • April 29: Won 16-12 vs. San Antonio Riders. A three minute stretch netted the Fire all 16 of their points in a second quarter spurt before 8,000 fans in a persistent rain. Brent Pease would hit Steve Avery for touchdowns of 11 and 32 yards. In between scores, a bad snap on a San Antonio punt resulted in the ball flying out of the back of the end zone resulting in a safety.
  • May 4: Lost 11-6 at Barcelona Dragons. In their first European roadtrip, the Fire would lose 11-6 before 31,490 fans at Barcelona's Montjuic Stadium. The lone Fire points came in the fourth on a 42 yard touchdown pass from Eric Jones to Stacey Mobley.
  • May 12: Lost 10-3 at Frankfurt Galaxy. A costly turnover resulted in the Frankfurt's lone touchdown in this 10-3 loss in Germany. Birmingham's only points came on a second quarter Win Lyle field goal.
  • May 20: Won 24-14 vs. New York/New Jersey Knights. A pair of defensive touchdowns was enough for a 24-14 home victory. The scoring began in the first after Arthur Hunter returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown. After a Win Lyle field goal, Birmingham would score its second touchdown on a fake punt when Kirk Maggio hit Kenny Bell for a 65 yard scoring pass. Tony Bowick would then seal the game late in the fourth after returning a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown.
  • May 25: Won 28-7 at Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks. The Fire clinched a playoff birth after defeating the winless Skyhawks 28-7 before 16,335 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Stacey Mobley would score the afternoon’s first touchdown on a 5 yard run late in the first. Early in the third, the Fire would take a 14-7 lead after a 50 punt return for a touchdown by James Henry. Birmingham would seal the victory with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, a 13 yard run by Elroy Harris and a 9 yard run by Steven Avery.

Playoffs (0-1)

  • June 1: Lost 10-3 vs. Barcelona Dragons. With a berth in the first World Bowl at stake, the Fire faltered in a disappointing 10-3 loss to conclude their inaugural season. The only Fire points came late in the fourth on a 28 yard Win Lyle field goal.


  • Staff reports (March 20, 1991) "Opening-day rosters, schedules." USA Today.
  • LexisNexis database, 1992 various editions, online search via LexisNexis database. Accessed November 5, 2006.