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Christened "arenafootball2" or "af2" for short, the new league would play by the same rules patented by its parent organization.
After a contest, the team became the "Steeldogs", paying homage to the steel industry that helped grow the city into an industrial giant during the early 20th century.
The inaugural game was played before 14,831 fans and a national television audience into the BJCC Arena on March 31, 2000.
Birmingham's first win came one week later at the BJCC, as the Steeldogs shut down the Greensboro Prowlers 18-7 in one of the lowest scoring games in the history of Arena Football.
The league expanded nearly twofold in 2001 as 28 teams took the field in 2001.
Birmingham opened their season at the Century Tel Center in Bossier City, La., against the expansion Bossier City Battle Wings. It was the first of three consecutive wins to open the 2001 season.
At a press conference on August 12, 1999, the team's name, logo, colors and head coach were all introduced.
Humphrey, the University of Alabama's second all-time leading rusher, would be the team's first coach.
The team's cheerleaders were known as the "Showsteelers." On April 20, 1999, Birmingham's franchise was one of the charter teams in the Xtreme Football League, which soon brokered a deal with the more-established Arena Football League to form the latter's second tier.
The Umbergers sold the franchise to two local men, both of whom were well-acquainted with Birmingham's professional sports history.
Buddy King and Scott Myers, of Hibbett Sports, became the majority and minority owners of the team on January 2, 2002.
The couple also purchased the AF2's Jacksonville Tomcats in the same year, but he decided that Birmingham would be his more "hands-on" investment.
Humphrey was retained as the team's head coach for a second season.
After an early loss at Tulsa, Birmingham rebounded to win eight of their next nine games before dropping three of their next four.