Jacksonville Sharks

Jacksonville Sharks

The Jacksonville Sharks competed for part of the 1974 season in the World Football League, a failed attempt to launch a second major professional football league in the United States in competition with the National Football League. The team played seven home games at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville. The nickname "Sharks" was roundly criticized by Jacksonville City Council as emphasizing an aspect of the local fauna that was best left unpublicized. The Sharks roster was a mixture of rookies (such as Mike Townsend, Eddie McAshan, and Reggie Oliver) and veterans, like Ike Lassiter, John Stofa, and Drew Buie. The Sharks front office claimed to have sold 18,000 season tickets, and the team drew 59,112 for the home opener against the New York Stars and 46,000 against the Southern California Sun. The club later admitted giving away 44,000 tickets. Six weeks into the season, owner Fran Monaco fired head coach Bud Asher. Asher was replaced by Charlie Tate, but soon afterward the franchise fell into dire straits. The players, unpaid for several weeks, threatened not to fly to Anaheim to play the Sun. League Commissioner Gary Davidson paid them $65,000 in escrow, and the players made the trip. In September the WFL removed owner Fran Monaco and the league took over the debt-ridden franchise on September 20. About three weeks later the league shut down the team.

1974 Game Scores Results:

1, Jacksonville Sharks 14, New York Stars 7 @ Jacksonville2, Chicago Fire 25, Jacksonville Sharks 22 @ Chicago3, Southern California Sun 22, Jacksonville Sharks 19 @ Jacksonville4, New York Stars 24, Jacksonville Sharks 16 @ New York5, Jacksonville Sharks 21, The Hawaiians 14 @ Jacksonville6, Florida Blazers 33, Jacksonville Sharks 267, Birmingham Americans 15, Jacksonville Sharks 148, Jacksonville Sharks 14, The Hawaiians 8 @ Honolulu9, Memphis Southmen 16, Jacksonville Sharks 13 @ Jacksonville10, Jacksonville Sharks 34, Philadelphia Bell 30 @ Jacksonville11, Philadelphia Bell 41, Jacksonville Sharks 22 (OT) @ Philadelphia12, Portland Storm 19, Jacksonville Sharks 17 @ Jacksonville13, Southern California Sun 57, Jacksonville Sharks 7 @ Anaheim14, Memphis Southmen 47, Jacksonville Sharks 19 @ Memphis15, vs. Florida Blazers @ Jacksonville (Cancelled)16, vs. Portland Storm @ Portland (Cancelled)17, vs. Birmingham Americans @ Birmingham (Cancelled)18, vs. Detroit Wheels @ Jacksonville (Cancelled)19, vs. Houston Texans @ Houston (Cancelled)20, vs. Chicago Fire @ Jacksonville (Cancelled)

A second WFL team, the Jacksonville Express, began play in 1975. The Express added quarterback George Mira, who guided the 1974 Birmingham Americans to the World Bowl championship, and running back Tommy Reamon, who survived the payless Florida Blazers on McDonald's vouchers all the way to the league championship game. Charlie Durkee, place kicker for the Houston Texans-Shreveport Steamer and teammate Don Brumm came aboard as well. Several former Sharks returned, including Ron Coppenbarger and Alfred Haywood. Quarterback Kay Stephenson retired as a player but stayed on as the team's player personnel director. Head coach Charlie Tate, who replaced Bud Asher with the defunct Sharks, also returned. Although they were better than the Sharks on the field with a 6-3 Summer Season record and 6-5 overall, the Express folded along with the rest of the league just past mid-season on October 22 1975.

Game Scores: Results: Exhibition.Jacksonville Express @ Chicago Winds - Express win.Jacksonville Express vs Hawaiians - Express win.

Game Scores: Regular Season: W - LAugust 2,1975 - Express @ Memphis Southmen - 26-27 0 - 1August 16,1975 - Express vs Birmingham Vulcans - 22-11 1 - 1August 23,1975 - Express vs San Antonio Wings - 26-19 2 - 1August 30,1975 - Express vs Charlotte Hornets - 14-33 2 - 2September 6,1975 - Express @ Shreveport Steamers - 22-15 3 - 2September 13,1975- Express @ Hawaiians - 15-33 3 - 3September 20,1975- Express vs Philadelphia Bell - 16-10 4 - 3September 27,1975- Express vs Birmingham Vulcans - 26-18 5 - 3

The following games were scheduled but not played:

October 4,1975 - Express vs Portand Thunder October 12,1975 - Express @ Charlotte HornetsOctober 19,1975 - Express @ Portland ThunderOctober 26,1975 - Express @ San Antonio WingsNovember 1,1975 - Express vs Southern Califormia SunNovember 9,1975 - Express @ Birmingham VulcansNovember 16,1975 - Express @ Southern Cal SunNovember 22,1975 - Express @ Philadelphia BellDecember 6,1975 - Express vs Philadelphia BellDecember 13,1975 - Express @ Memphis Southmen

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