I recently made an impulse buy of four cheap packs of 1992 Wild Card World League Of American Football.
I feel like that one line – “1992 Wild Card World League Of American Football” – requires lots of explanation.
The World League Of American Football (WLAF) was a league started by the NFL in 1991. It was an attempt to create a Spring developmental league, as well as to promote American Football in Europe. It lasted for two seasons, went on hiatus, came back as a Europe-only league and later rebranded as “NFL Europe”, then “NFL Europa” before the NFL pulled the plug on it after the 2007 season.
They called it American Football to allow the European teams to differentiate it from Association Football (“Football” in most of the world, “Soccer” in the US and Canada).
Wild Card was a card manufacturer in the early 1990’s whose gimmick was having cards in different denominations. Just like a $100 bill can be exchanged for 100 $1 bills and vice versa, a “100” card of John Doe could be exchanged for 100 regular cards of John Doe, and vice versa.
“1992” was a calendar year in the latter part of the 20th century and — What’s that? That part doesn’t need explanation? OK.
While going through these packs I got the idea of setting up a new section in my Football binder and devoting a couple of pages to non-NFL football teams. For these pages, it would be less important to feature particular players and more important to have a good photo that give an idea of what the uniforms looked like.
What follows are the cards I ended up putting in my binder, ordered by team:
The Monarchs started out playing at Wembley, but would later move to other soccer pitches. I kinda like how they made a crown out of the “M” in the logo.
Here’s the back of this card… I want to say that those red and yellow card numbers (up top after the words “Wild Card”) are difficult to read in person.
I want to “zoom in” on the photo, because the hat that William Kirksey is wearing made me smile:
I’d seen this style of hat countless times in the day, but never for the London Monarchs.
I actually kept two cards from the Monarchs because I liked both cards…
On both of these cards, the Monarchs are playing against the…
NEW YORK / NEW JERSEY KNIGHTS
It’s not clear from this photo, but their color scheme was silver, gold and black. I didn’t feel like it worked that well back in the day, but I guess I’ve softened on it. The chess piece logo isn’t bad.
Not surprisingly, the Knights played in Giants Stadium. I wonder how much the NY/NJ part was for appealing to New Jersey fans, and how much was because the name “New York Knights” was likely copyrighted through the baseball movie “The Natural”. Just a guess, I may be completely wrong on that.
According to Wikipedia, the Galaxy was the only team to remain in existence and in the same city throughout the entire WLAF/NFL Europe run. I like the logo as a helmet logo, but not so much on the sleeves.
Just to be clear, this is Frankfurt, Germany and not the capital of Kentucky (which is spelled “Frankfort” anyway).
At the time of the WLAF, there wasn’t a Canadian Football League team in Montreal. I’m not a fan of the team name or logo.
Another team where everything about the branding leaves me cold. The Surge won the 1992 World Bowl and were the only American team to win the WLAF/NFL Europe championship.
I paid a little bit of attention to the WLAF back in the day, but I did not remember the Glory at all. They were a one-year franchise that had previously been the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks (a team I *do* remember). The two teams combined for one win in twenty games.
SAN ANTONIO RIDERS
In researching how many pro football teams have played in San Antonio, I found out that there’s a new spring football league starting next year, the Alliance Of American Football. San Antonio is one of eight teams in the AAF. Time will tell if the AAF will even take the field.
To answer my original question, San Antonio was in the World Football League of the mid-1970’s, the USFL and the CFL’s brief US expansion.
Back in the early 1990’s I absolutely despised the Orlando Thunder’s “fluorescent snot” jerseys. Obviously, this was before the Seahawks adopted fluorescent snot as one of their colors (and yes, I hate those as well).
There was later a German team called the Rhein Fire, but apparently that team only shared the name and logos with this team… there was no direct connection between franchises.
The Dragons played in four different World Bowls, and won it all in 1997.
“Dragons” is such a cool name for a team, but the only teams I can think of with that name are this one, the Japanese baseball Chunichi Dragons and the A-ball Dayton Dragons. I wonder why that is… especially with everybody crazy about Game Of Thrones, you’d think *someone* would use “Dragons”… particularly in Major League Soccer, where they really should give us a break from all the FC’s and Uniteds.
So that’s the beginning of this little project. I don’t know when I’ll come back to this, I’ve got so many projects that take higher priority, so this project will probably fall into the “as the opportunity presents itself” category.
Talking about the NFL Europa reminded me of this song…