- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Pullano: You got it.
Walsh: And it has to be a convertible.
Pullano (exasperated): Listen, I'll tell you what, I'll give you a can opener and you can cut the top off it, O.K.?
Eddie Einhorn had the WFL's television franchise in the 1974 season. He was not impressed with the results, although he did "finish in the black," and he did not renew the contract for 1975. Einhorn said, "It started off very strong. We sold over half of it before the season started because of all the hullabaloo. The ratings were good, and we expected a second wave of orders to come in and then we would make real good money. However, after about the fifth week the New York franchise moved. Then that scandal in Philadelphia. The first thing that got the credibility of the league in trouble was that phonying of the attendance. From that day, and the day the Stars moved to Charlotte, we never got another nickel's worth of business.
"At the end of the year no one was getting paid. This was in the paper every day. There was too much competition for the league to survive. By the time we got to the World Bowl we went from about an eight rating to a two. All of this I attribute to credibility. The credibility killed it. Also there is this big city prejudice, see. A person who lives in New York is insulted to go see San Antonio, a burg like that. He wants Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia. If the little burgs ever beat you, it's ridiculous. It's insulting."
Before the 1975 season, Einhorn said, "I went to a big meeting of all the owners at the Waldorf. Hemmeter had everyone there and they made the big announcement about how the new WFL was in existence. Then they said they were hoping to sign Joe Namath. As soon as it was over, I went up to Chris and I told him he had just buried himself. I said, 'Chris, you just did the worst thing you possibly could do. If you don't get Namath you're through. You've put all your credibility on your ability to sign Joe Namath.' I was right, of course. My clients all reacted the same way—they wouldn't buy time until they saw if Joe was signed. Now if the league had signed Namath—although, who knows, he might've got hurt in the first five minutes of play—that would have been the fluff needed to bring the thing back from the dead, at least for the start.
"So the people wouldn't buy it. You can't promise them Joe Namath and then give them some bum. They blew the credibility factor when they blew Namath. After that happened we couldn't sell a thing. We just let it pass. In the final analysis, the league had mediocrity written all over it. It had $250- or $500-a-game players written all over it. I think the lack of a national television package definitely hurt-their credibility, too. If a league's not good enough to have a national TV game of the week, a guy doesn't want to go. It's bush and he's not going to pay money to see it."
The caliber of football in WFL I and WFL II was not all that bad. Portland's Joe Wylie, who played previously with two NFL teams, said, "I felt the play in the WFL was high quality. It was good football. But some things were not NFL, that's for sure. The offenses in the WFL just were not as sophisticated. I played at Oakland and with the Jets, and their workouts were so developed. But in the WFL, how could you develop a system in one year when you're making so many changes? By midseason our playbooks were almost obsolete."
And Jerry Inman, a tackle with the Portland Thunder, said, "I went to the old AFL with Denver in 1966, and I'd say the caliber of ball we played here in the WFL was better than what we played there in the first three years of the Denver franchise. The caliber of ball here was excellent."
Such players as Memphis Running Back Willie Spencer and the Sun's Anthony Davis are clearly of NFL caliber ever though they never played there. But there also was a number of vagabond ballplayers in the league. The Bell's Corcoran was typical of this group. Before the WFL he worked for the Pottstown Firebirds, the Norfolk Neptunes, the Wilmington Clippers and the Lowell Giants. He also had tryouts with four NFL teams.