By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
Dakota Nichols knows all about pro football in Birmingham, even though the 31-year-old wasn’t alive when most of those teams were on the field.
“I love Birmingham, so I’ve researched all the history and know all of it,” the Inverness resident said.
Sunday, Nichols was on hand for history as the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football played its first game ever. He and fellow fans had a great time as Birmingham’s latest pro football team sent them home happy with a 26-0 victory.
“I’m just excited to have a pro team back because right now Birmingham pride is out the roof,” Nichols said. “Everybody’s proud of Birmingham, everybody’s moving downtown. We love Birmingham. We’ve got a team to get behind all together.”
The stadium was a chilly 50 degrees and the sky was overcast as the Iron ran onto the field to explosive booms, towering flames and billowing smoke.
But cloudy skies did nothing to diminish the excitement the 17,039 fans showed. A cheer of “Roll Iron Roll” could be heard in the northwest stands.
Perhaps Auburn fans will get equal time next week with “War Iron.”
The shutout has some calling the defense the “Iron Curtain.”
Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson is already a fan favorite. Some fans were seen buying his jersey four and five at a time.
Iron coach Tim Lewis wore a headset with just one ear covered. By the end of the game, he was looking for one that covered both ears.
Considering that his team was giving fans plenty of reason to cheer, that was a good problem.
“It was fantastic,” the first-time head coach said of the support.
“I don’t know how many were here, but it sounded like there were a lot more.”
Pratt City’s Jeffrey White was pleased with the crowd. He said the turnout surprised him.
“I never would have thought on a dreary day like today that we’d get this many people to come out,” he said. “But everybody decided to come out and support the Iron.”
White was dressed in a hoodie coat with another layer of protection under it.
“I decided to come out and make sure I was dressed for it,” he explained, “so I could enjoy myself.”
And did he?
“No doubt about it. I’m looking forward to the next game.”
That next game is Saturday, Feb. 16, when the Iron hosts the Salt Lake Stallions at 1 p.m. at Legion Field. The Stallions lost 38-22 to the Arizona Hotshots in their debut game Sunday.