CHAPTER 20: The Final Sum
18-1. SuperBowl champions. Sold-out stadium, home field advantage. But the Rebels made a mere 81 million.
My 39% share came to 31.5 million. In order to make my $50 million installment, I had to dip into my reserves to the tune of 18.5 million. That left me with a net line of 6.5 million dollars to my name and 100 million in debt, due in two more equal installments. Gulp.
The only way to stay alive was to increase the previous year's profits by 50%. Once again, with my apologies to Birmingham fans, attending a Rebel game was about to get very expensive. My life depended on it.
After winning the SuperBowl, few players were willing to re-sign for anything less than a fortune. I hated to break up a team that had just brought me and the fans of Birmingham such joy, but the skyrocketing signing bonus demands not only pushed us beyond the salary cap, but may have cost me my life. There are some dark roads in rural Alabama. Things happen when you can't repay a 100-million-dollar debt.
Roster cuts, thus, were inevitable. Players that we desperately wanted to re-sign we just couldn't afford. Consequently, we lost a lot of our bench to other teams. We lost a couple of starters. But when the math came due, there was one big release we had to make. For the last two years we had "franchise tagged" SLB Daryl Smith. Daryl's agent was fuming mad about it, refusing to sign a contract voluntarily with us for any amount. To tag him again would have cost more than 5 million, room we didn't have under the cap. With MLB Atkins and WLB Houston under contract, there was no way we could afford to spend that big of a piece of the salary pie on another linebacker. We had to let Smith go.
In eulogy, Smith was our most highly touted, naturally-talented player. He had been for years. But his constant griping about his contract and his falling production never made him a fan favorite, and we hoped WLB Houston could step into his "star" shoes.
Rnd 1 - Neil Hayes, T, Memphis
Rnd 2 - Damon Kanyuh, CB, Boise State
Rnd 3 - Korey Robinson, QB, Auburn
Rnd 4 - Kelvin Alston, OLB, West Georgia
Rnd 5 - Paul Miller, TE, Arkansas
Rnd 6 - Britt Flynn, RB, Nebraska
Rnd 7 - Jeff Roderick, C, Ohio State
The Birmingham fans showed real class in selling out the stadium. The price hikes were obnoxious, and I really feared a backlash. Of course, the media screamed for blood, but in the end, the fans screamed for tickets--and to them I owe my life.
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.