Team Dallas was not really a team but a practice squad filled with players that
were not drafted by WLAF teams . If a player from one of the World League teams got hurt, team officials look at
a player from Team Dallas to fill the vacancy. The team practiced in Bedford, TX (outside of Dallas) during the week keeping
all of the players in peak shape ready to be pulled at any time to play on the weekend. All ten teams including
Team Dallas use the same offensive and defensive playbooks with the same terminology so that players were interchangeable.
Mike Gottfried, a former college coach at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas and Murray State helped draw up the offensive playbook
while Joe Collier headed the defensive end. Joseph A. Bailey III, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer states,
"All we've done is standardize the language. That way, if you have one player traded from one team to another, or if
you you take a player off our 11th team, he'll have no problem assimilating the terminology."
Whereas the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis features the top 350 prospects in the country, the World League
invited 710 hopefuls to Orlando - 65 for each of the 10 teams and 60 for Team Dallas, the 11th team which served as a practice
squad throughout the 1991 season.
Where did Team Dallas practice?
Practice Field: Pennington Field in Bedford, TX
|John "Jack" Ralston
John Ralston (born April 26, 1927), is a Hall of Fame College
Football Coach. A graduate of the University of California, played linebacker on two Cal Rose Bowl teams before earning his
physical education Academic degree in 1951. He spent three seasons as an assistant at Cal. He was also head football coach
at San Lorenzo High School, South of Oakland, where he had a championship record. He was then named head coach at Utah State
University in 1959. In four years, he compiled a 31-11-1 record and two Skyline Conference championships. He was born in Oakland,
Ralston turned down the Nebraska job
in 1962, and was rewarded by moving to Stanford in 1963 and helped revive a sagging program. Over nine seasons, Ralston guided
the team back to national respectability while building a mark of 55-36-3. In his last two seasons, 1970-71, Ralston's teams
won two Pacific-8 titles and back-to-back Rose Bowl victories over Ohio State and Michigan. During Ralston's tenure at the
school, Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman Trophy.
In 1972, Ralston departed the Bay Area once again, this time for the Rocky Mountains and the Denver
Broncos. The following year, he was UPI's choice as AFC Coach of the Year after Denver achieved its first-ever-winning season
at 7-5-2. In five seasons with the Broncos, Ralston took the team to winning seasons three times, the franchise's only three
winning seasons up to that time.
Ralston coached the Denver Broncos from 1972 to 1976. With no playoff appearances his regular season win/loss/tie record was
After being hired in 1972, the Broncos
continue to struggle under Ralston finishing with a 5-9 record.
1973, a year which included the "Orange Monday," game played in front of a primetime national television audience,
where the Broncos would come from behind and would earn a tie on Jim Turner's 35-yard field goal; Ralston coached the team
into first place with a 6-3-2 record. With their first winning season in franchise history under their belt, and with the
AFC West title on the line the Broncos season ended with a 21-17 loss to the Raiders in Oakland.
In 1974, Ralston coached the Broncos to a 7-6-1 record, for their second winning season in
The 1975 season was a season of mediocre
football for the Broncos and the team finished with a disappointing 6-8 record, but the following year the team played strong
and finished with an impressive 9-5 record. However the record was not good enough to get the Broncos into the playoffs. Despite
the strong showing Bronco players issued a protest vote of no confidence, and Coach John Ralston resigned following the season.
After leaving the Broncos, Ralston held several assistant coaching jobs
which included, the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers, the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, and
as a head coach in the USFL with the Oakland Invaders.
John Ralston also coached in Europe. He was the head coach of the Dutch Lions, the National Football Team of The Netherlands.
With the Lions, Ralston won the bronze medal in the European Championships in Helsinki, Finland, in 1991. After the WLAF,
Ralston coached at San Jose State from 1993-1996.
|Coach John "Jack" Ralston at San Jose State (with Jeff Garcia #5 and Joe Nedney #16)
Assistant Coach: Chet Franklin
Team Dallas Information
Salary: $500 a week (increases to $2000 a week on WLAF Team - base pay)
Squad size: 40 man roster (varies - initially was 60)
Every Thursday for 30 minutes
Player Housing: Best Western Airport
Motel in Irving, TX
|Best Western Aiport Irving, TX
April 24, 1991
The WLAF indicates it may cancel
"Team Dallas" at the end of the season.
WAITING FOR WORLD EXPOSURE Team
Dallas players practice for WLAF shot
Author: Tim Cowlishaw;
Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (DAL)
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
BEDFORD -- It is as much a passageway to a better, brighter future as it is the
end of the line. It is as much a dream as it is a nightmare.
It is Team Dallas,
a title wholly inappropriate for two basic reasons. It is not much of a team since it doesn't play any games,
and it is virtually unknown in Dallas. You won't find Team Dallas apparel
at your local sporting goods store. Team Generic is more like it.
this odd creation of the World League of American Football -- essentially, a 40-man taxi squad that supplies talent for the
league's 10 teams -- isn't a sad story by any stretch of the imagination. Professional athletes practicing
with gusto, trying to catch the eye of a World League scout while earning $500 a week and a room at an airport motel can only
be considered a story of hope. "The attitude here is just as good as the NFL, honest to God,' said John Ralston, who
has coached at the NFL, USFL and major college levels and now works with the Team Dallas
players. "They come on the field and work just as hard. They want an opportunity.' Former NFL assistant coach Chet Franklin
agreed. "This must be the only team anywhere that works out in pads four days a week for six weeks and
never gets to play a game,' Franklin said. "But I spent 20 years in the NFL, and these kids are different. They're not
overpaid, and they're not spoiled.' Tex Schramm, original president of the WLAF, said his idea for Team
Dallas was borne of necessity. "It wasn't some brilliant flash or anything,' he said. "From the
very beginning, the league was going to have to have players under contract, then a draft of signed players. You had to take
the next step because yo u knew teams would become dissatisifed with players and players would get hurt.
"We just made the decision to have a team of players practicing in Dallas with the
same numbering system as the other teams and just make it like training camp.' So four days a week, about
40 players -- the number fluctuates - depending upon whose been signed and whose been called up -- pass through the door marked
by the little Team Dallas sign to work out at Pennington Field.
a safe bet most will never star in the NFL. Some won't even make it in the World League. The realization that the road to
the Super Bowl does not pass through Bedford will set in. But others will make it. After San Antonio lost two quarterbacks,
the Riders picked up Mike Johnson from Team Dallas. He led them to three victories. His
success gives others reason to believe.
The workouts look like, well, workouts. They are
spirited. When the defense stops the offense on fourth-and-goal at the one, there is much jubilation while cornerback Derrick
Richey performs an end zone dance that would play well at Miami. Even with no games on the schedule, the practices
can be useful. Since terminology is standardized throughout the World League, Team Dallas
coaches are able to give players instruction they can benefit from when (or if) they are called up. "We like to think
they're coached better here than they are with the teams,' Ralston said. "This is a great system. NFL
squads notoriously start out with 47 guys, and the next thing you know they're paying 60, they're stashing players. There's
no reason to do that here. This is much better, much cheaper.' This also would never work in a more competitive situation
such as the NFL. Imagine the Los Angeles Raiders being asked to share their reserve squad talent with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But for the World League, where the controls on salaries eliminate cut-throat competition, the system makes sense.
For Team Dallas, the highlight of the week is Thursday's half-hour scrimmage.
Films are sent to every WLAF team. By the following week, some players will be gone, having
gotten the call to Birmingham or Barcelona or Montreal. That will mean a return to a real team and a raise
to $2,000 a week. "It's my third week here, so I'm ready to get to a new tempo, a new environment,' said Richey, a former
Texas A&M cornerback. He played one game with the Birmingham Fire before being waived and landing on Team
Dallas. "Everything's kind of laid back here. You just look forward to the Thursday scrimmage.' Lionel
Vital, Montreal's personnel director and a former Washington Redskins player, watched Thursday's scrimmage. He was back for
more Monday morning . "We've had problems in Montreal; we need football players,' he said. "I'm camping out here,
living by the airport. I want to be the first guy to see these players. It gives my team an advantage.' It
was Vital's team that supplied Team Dallas with forme r Cowboy Keith Jennings
after making him the first tight end selected in the WLAF draft. Jennings, who later was waived by Montreal,
was Dallas' fifth-round draft pick in 1989 but didn't make the club last summer. "Keith is a very talented
guy, probably the most talented receiver in the league,' Vital said. "We just think it was a personality difference with
the coach (Montreal's Jacques Dussault). He's an NFL-caliber tight end. I hope he can put his problems behind him. He'll probably
be out of here in the next few days.' Jennings refused to talk about the circuitous route that has brought him back to Dallas.
To him, perhaps it is an embarrassment to wear the star on his helmet one year, the obscure World League logo the next. -
But others relish the opportunity Team Dallas provides. Take Richard Huff. London did in
the eighth round of the defensive back draft but released him on Mar ch 17, the week before the WLAF openers.
He arrived in Dallas that day and has been a Team Dallas
member since. "I'm one of the old vets here,' Huff said. "This gives us another chance where normally you get cut
and you have to go home. You can prove yourself on the videotape, to the scouts who come through. Sometimes it gets a little
frustrating because you were hoping to get picked up by the fifth week so you'd have half a season to prove yourself.' Next
weekend will be the eighth of the World League's 10-week season. For Team Dallas members,
the only opponent is time, and it is running out. "But you are being paid and you are playing the game you love and they
are giving you a chance to live the dream,' Huff said. Huff dreamed five years ago of being accepted to Yale.
He realized that dream, graduating with a B.A. in economics and political science in 1990.
obvious question: What's a Yale grad doing living in a Best Western outside of Dallas in order to make $500
a week? Huff laughed. "It's the one thing I know I really want to do,' he said. "As far as any other career
choice, I'm not hell-bent for anything. I'm not really gung-ho for finance or banking. Consulting would be nice, but the market's
depressed right now. "Football is something that's in me. I've been playing it as long as I can remember, in the backyard
with my brother, in the snow and the mud. It's one of those things that really adds something to your life.
I'm getting an opportunity here, so I've got to take it.'. Conquering Wall Street can wait. You never
know when the phone in your motel room will ring and the Frankfurt Galaxy will be offering you a chance to live that dream.
1.Richard Huff of Team Dallas, a taxi squad for the World League of American Football, watches
as the team practices at Pennington Field in Bedford. 2.Although the team does not have
any games, Team Dallas coach John Ralston says the "attitude here is just as good as
the NFL, honest to God.' 3.The players return to their hotel in Irving after practice. (1 3: DMN: Evans Caglage)
PHOTO LOCATION: 1 3. World League of American Football (c/bw cf 10054)
The Dallas Morning News Company
TEAM DALLAS UNIFORM
I do not know much about what the Team Dallas uniform was but a guess would have me say that they were probably dark
blue and white with possibly mesh jerseys with screened on numbers. The pants were most likely all white also. The helmets
were black or dark blue, made by Riddell with plastic Kra-lite facemasks. Below you see one with a white facemask
and one with a black one. I talked with a player who was on Team Dallas and he confirmed they were dark blue.
If you know about this uniform, contact me please.
|1991 Team Dallas Game Used Riddell Helmet with Kra-Lite Facemask
|1992 Team Dallas game-used helmet by Riddell VSR-3
|Team Dallas White Jersey *
|Team Dallas Black Jersey *
* Possible jersey designs
TEAM DALLAS ROSTER
Here is an incomplete list of players that were on Team Dallas. I have
not found an official roster of players except what it listed in media guides and team paperwork. Even though Team Dallas
had only 40 players at a time, it was constantly losing and gaining players during the season.
Andre Alexander WR
Gareth Alyson NT
Reggie Berry DB
John Brandom G
Ben Brown QB
Tony Brown T
Fabray Collins LB
Ivan Cook LB
Gary Cooper WR
Richard Davis NT
John El-Masry ILB
Mike Estes DE
J.J. Flannigan RB
Bob Flenoid CB
Russel Foster OLB
Steve Fumi TE
Steve Gage FS
Chris Gaiters WR
O'Neill Gilbert DE
Steve Glasson ILB
Erwin Grabisna DE
Dan Graham C
Jay Gruden QB
Mickey Guidry QB
Anthony Hardy WR
Elroy Harris WR
Joe Henderson WR
Mark Hofland T
Derek Holloway WR
James Howard CB
Chris Jackson RB
Keith Jennings TE
Andre Johnson WR
Dewaine Johnson FB
Mike Johnson QB
Larry Jones G
Jason Kuipers G
Bobby Lilljedahl P
Eric Lindstrom OLB
Derrick Little ILB
Charles Lockett WR
Tony Massey OLB
Bobby McAllister QB
Brian McPhatter FS
Mark Murphy C
Dempsey Norman WR
Charles Odiorne T
Melvin Patterson WR
Joe Pizzo QB
Rickey Royal CB
Toney Sargent WR
Kevin Simons OL
Richard Smith CB
Eric Snelson DE
Robert Stallings T
Colin Sumner WR
Steve Thompson OLB
Chad Thorson ILB
Steve Williams WR
Steve Williams CB