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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


Team Dallas Head Coach

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, California.

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.

Overall, John Ralston coached the Denver Broncos from 1972 to 1976. With no playoff appearances his regular season win/loss/tie record was 34-33-3.

After being hired in 1972, the Broncos continue to struggle under Ralston finishing with a 5-9 record.

In 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 a row.

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.

Coach 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

Player Salary: $500 a week (increases to $2000 a week on WLAF Team - base pay)

Squad size: 40 man roster (varies - initially was 60)

Scrimmages: 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)  


MAY 7, 1991

Dateline: BEDFORD

Article Text:


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.

But 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.

It's 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.

The 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.

PHOTO(S): 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)


1991 Copyright The Dallas Morning News Company
Record Number: 05*07*DAL1197020


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


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

Kenny Bell RB

Reggie Berry DB

John Brandom G

Ben Brown QB

Tony Brown T

David Caldwell NT

Fabray Collins LB

Ivan Cook LB

Gary Cooper WR

Richard Davis NT

Pat Doyle G

John El-Masry ILB

Mike Estes DE

J.J. Flannigan RB

Bob Flenoid CB

 John Fletcher DE

Russel Foster OLB

Steve Fumi TE

Steve Gage FS

Chris Gaiters WR

Jim Gallery K

O'Neill Gilbert DE

Steve Glasson ILB

Erwin Grabisna DE

Dan Graham C

Jeff Graham QB

Jay Gruden QB

Mickey Guidry QB

Anthony Hardy WR

Elroy Harris WR

Wyatt Harris WR

Joe Henderson WR

Mark Hofland T

Derek Holloway WR

James Howard CB

Richard Huff DB

Chris Jackson RB

Keith Jennings TE

Andre Johnson WR

Dewaine Johnson FB

Mike Johnson QB

Larry Jones G

Mike Kelley G

Jason Kuipers G

Bobby Lilljedahl P

Eric Lindstrom OLB

Derrick Little ILB

George Little DE

Charles Lockett WR

Tony Massey OLB

Bobby McAllister QB

Brian McPhatter FS

Marquet Miller DE

Mark Murphy C

Dempsey Norman WR

Charles Odiorne T

Melvin Patterson WR

Yepi Pau'u LB

Joe Pizzo QB

Rickey Royal CB

Lee Saltz QB

Toney Sargent WR

Kevin Simons OL

Richard Smith CB

Eric Snelson DE

Kevin Sprinkles TE

Robert Stallings T

Colin Sumner WR

Steve Thompson OLB

Chad Thorson ILB

Kendall Trainor K

Steve Williams WR

Steve Williams CB



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