Birmingham Barracudas                                                   

 

                      

                     Luis Zendejas provided a reliable leg for the 'Cudas                               

                           

      

-- team --

 

Toronto

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Montreal

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Hamilton

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Ottawa

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Winnipeg

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Saskatchewan

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British Columbia

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Edmonton

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Calgary

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U.S. Expansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-- contents --

 

Grey Cup

 

 

 

 

Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

-- photos --

 

Shonte Peoples

Mac Cody

Marcus Grant

Keith Woodside

 

-- team story --

 

In 1995 the CFL continued its expansion into the United States with franchises in Birmingham and Memphis. The Birmingham franchise was granted to Art Williams. Having been spurned by the NFL in his attempts to bring a franchise to Birmingham, Williams turned to the CFL and paid a healthy sum rumored to be $3.5 million to bring the CFL to Alabama. The cash infusion for the league was a saving grace as the CFL was in dire financial straits. The absolute necessity for the league to secure money to remain viable clearly was affecting how new franchises were granted and expedited the planning that would and should normally lead to establishing a new franchise.

 

Williams formed a competent front office snagging Roy Shivers from Calgary as the teams General Manager. Longtime football coach and former Houston Oiler head man Jack Pardee was named the teams head coach. The club made a big splash with the signing of Matt Dunigan as the team's quarterback. Dunigan signed a highly lucrative contract and it was felt his southern charm (Dunigan having played at  Louisiana Tech) would attract fans. Dunigan teamed with offensive co-ordinator John Jenkins to form a potent offence.

 

The club started strong on the field and at the box office. 31.185 turned out on July 15th for the home opener to watch Dunigan and the 'Cudas dominate Hamilton 51-28. The club started the season 3-0. The teams first loss was to Baltimore 36-8 on July 29th. The team continued to draw well with 25,321 at their second home game and 30,729 for the loss to Baltimore.

 

Dunigan was enjoying his finest season statistically finding new talent in receivers Marcus Grant and Jason Phillips. By late August attendance had slipped under 20,000 and into September with the NFL competing for fan interest embarrasing totals of 5,289, 6,314 and 6,859 were recorded. The writing was on the wall for the franchise. The team finished the year at 10-8 and in the playoffs but quarterback Matt Dunigan broke his finger in the clubs 2nd last game of the year and would be out of the playoffs.

 

In the season finale Birmingham faced San Antonio in San Antonio. The winner of the game would host the playoff game the next week. Reserve quarterback Kelvin Simmons played in place of Dunigan and performed well but The Barracudas lost to San Antonio 48-42. The next week in San Antonio David Archer and the Texans humiliated Birmingham in their last game ever 52-9.

 

For the season Dunigan led the league in passing yards with 4,911 the highest total of his career. He also threw 34 touchdowns. Marcus Grant was the top receiver on the team with 1,559 yards and 11 touchdowns, Jason Phillips had 1,101 yards receiving with 8 touchdowns. Keith Woodside a former Green Bay Packer was the teams feature running back he had 603 yards rushing and 780 yards receiving.

 

Birmingham as a city has a great football history. College Football is huge in the state and the city of Birmingham. Fan interest was there at the beginning for the team to witness some thrilling action by Dunigan and the Barracudas but by the time September had come around fan apathy was clear. It was a noble effort by Williams to try for success with the Canadian Football League but by midseason ownership realized that the experiment was a failure.  The Birmingham Barracudas down in the southern United States as part of the Canadian Football League was ultimately proved to be a fish out of water.

 

 

-- players --

 

Dunigan

 


-- stadium attendance --

 

Legion Field

Capacity (75,017)

1995 Avg: 16,843

 


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