Friday Flashback:  American Football Association

In the late 70s and early 80s the American Football Association (AFA) attempted to be a professional football league to bring the gap between NFL seasons by playing football in the spring/summer.  The league operated from 1977-1983.  Most of the teams were located in the southeastern United States which made it quite a challenge to play during the hot summer months in the south.  The season started on Memorial Day weekend and ended in August to avoid competition with the NFL.  The AFA was pretty much a forerunner of the United States Football League (USFL) which started in the spring of 1983.   Although the AFA tried to be a “major league” alternative, it never evolved more than a semi-pro league with teams moving and folding often.  

The league attempted to gain some stability when they named former Washington Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer as the leagues commissioner in 1981.  He only lasted one season.  

Some of the most successful teams in the AFA were the Jacksonville Firebirds, Alabama Vulcans, Carolina Chargers and San Antonio Charros.  

Personally, I remember being able to tune into some Jacksonville Firebird games on a good night with clear TV reception.  Our local newspaper even carried the stories and league standings.  

Leave a Reply