AP NEWS

San Antonio owns troubled pro football history

February 5, 2019

On days paychecks were distributed, San Antonio Gunslingers practice usually ended with a race to the bank.

Rick Neuheisel, the quarterback during the USFL franchise’s two seasons in 1984-85, said the players knew only some of the checks from owner Clinton Manges would clear. Many of his teammates scoured South Texas in search of a willing cashier.

“People didn’t get in the shower; they ran into cars with their shoulder pads on, trying to get to the closest gas station to get a road map to find out where La Vernia was,” Neuheisel said. “It was wild and then some.”

San Antonio has hosted numerous failed efforts at pro football, including the Wings (1975) of the World Football League, the Riders (1991-92) of the World League of American Football, the Texans (1995) of the Canadian Football League, the Force (1992) of the Arena Football League and the Talons (2011-14) of the AFL.

But none produced as many stories as the Gunslingers — part of a long line of franchises the San Antonio Commanders will look to exceed when the Alliance of American Football opens its inaugural season this weekend.

Neuheisel, now the coach of the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots, looks back fondly on the adventure.

“I just remember it being an unbelievably fun ride,” Neuheisel said. “We had this camaraderie that was unlike any team in the league, just because of what we’d been through. Maybe we wish there would’ve been a little more consistency in the paychecks, but I don’t think any of us would’ve traded it. We had a blast, and the people of San Antonio were wonderful to us.”

greg.luca@express-news.net

AP RADIO
Update hourly