Friday Flashback:  Middle Georgia Heat Wave

Heat Wave was a fitting name for a football team in Macon, Georgia which began its first season in 1990.  The Heat Wave was one of 12 franchises in the Minor League Football System (MLFS) in its second season of play and attempting to become a developmental league for the National Football League (NFL).

The league was unique in that they did not pay players but found jobs for them and provided housing for them during the season.  This was also an attempt at helping players that still had college eligibility.

The Heat Wave made news right from the start when they hired quick-tempered Lou Saban as their head coach.  Saban had coached the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.  The team also hired NFL-veteran Julius Adams to be their defense coordinator.  

The opening game roster included WR Scotty Barron (Georgia Tech), QB Tony Constantine (Tennessee Tech), RB Donnie Harrell (Valdosta State) and Fred Davis, Jr. (Tulane).   Constantine was quickly replaced by Shannon Boyd who kept the starting job for the rest of the season.

The Heat Wave played an exhibition game against a touring team of football players from Moscow.  The Heat Wave won the game 28-0 in a game which was called in the fourth quarter due to a severe storm which chased away 2,300 spectators that were in attendance.

Four games into the season, Saban resigned due to irreconcilable differences with team management.  Adams was named the head coach for the remainder of the season. 

Middle Georgia was on their way to the playoffs when the league abruptly made changes to shorten the regular season by two games and postseason plans when two teams folded.  The Heat Wave suddenly found their final regular season game against Bay State needing a win to qualify for the playoffs.

One yard separated the Heat Wave from the playoffs.  They battled back from a 16-0 deficit to cut the lead to 23-17.  On their final possession, they moved the ball to the Bay State 1-yard-line with one minute left in the game but were denied as the Titans held on to escape with the win and the playoff berth.

The Heat Wave finished at 6-4 and enjoyed the third-highest attendance in the league with 3,500 per game.

Middle Georgia had planned to return in 1991 but when three more teams folded at the end of the season, the team found themselves without a stable to league and folded.  The MLFS attempt to become a developmental league for the NFL was denied when the World League of American Football (WLAF) was launched.  

1990 Results:

  • Charlotte 20, Middle Georgia 7 (Exhibition)
  • Middle Georgia 28, Moscow 0 (Exhibition)
  • Bay State 13, Middle Georgia 11
  • Middle Georgia 21, Scranton 7
  • Oklahoma City 25, Middle Georgia 0
  • Middle Georgia 25, Florida 7
  • Middle Georgia 23, Scranton 10
  • Middle Georgia 27, Harrisburg 3
  • Colorado Springs 30, Middle Georgia 9
  • Middle Georgia 16, Florida 12
  • Middle Georgia 27, Harrisburg 14
  • Bay State 23, Middle Georgia 17
  • Charlotte (cancelled)
  • Charlotte (cancelled)

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