December 17, 2017

NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions./+ 1957 NFL attendance data & info on 1957 NFL teams’ uniforms.

NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions

By Bill Turianski on 17 December 2017
-1957 NFL season
-1957 Detroit Lions season (
-1957 NFL season (
-1957 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1957] (

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1957. Final standings for the 1957 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. Home helmets and jerseys are shown alongside the standings. There also is a small section devoted to 1957 NFL attendance data. At the top-right of the map-page is a section devoted to the 1957 NFL champions, the Detroit Lions (also see the next 6 paragraphs and the illustration below). At the far-right-hand-center of the map page, are 1957 Offensive leaders in the following categories: QB Rating & Passing Yards & Passing TDs: Johnny Unitas, Colts. Rushing Yards & Rushing TDs: Jim Brown, Browns. Total Yards from Scrimmage & total TDs: Lenny Moore, Colts. Receiving Yards: Raymond Berry, Colts.

The 1957 Detroit Lions are champions, demolishing the Cleveland Browns 59-14, and winning their third NFL title in 6 years.
During the 1950s, in just a 6-year span, the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns faced each other 4 times in the NFL title game. They had previously met in 1952, 1953, and 1954, with Detroit winning in close games in ’52 and ’53, and with Cleveland winning big in ’54. But in 1957, the underdog Detroit Lions won big over the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, thanks to 5 turnovers and the steady leadership of back-up QB Tobin Rote.

The betting line was Browns by 3 points, and the Las Vegas odds-makers probably gave that 3 point edge to Cleveland because it was a case of a veteran coach (Paul Brown) versus a rookie coach (the Lions’ George Wilson). And also, the Lions’ team leader and longtime-QB, Bobby Layne, was out injured. And looking at the regular season stats, Detroit had, on paper, a mediocre +20 points difference, which was only 6th-best in the league that year. But the Browns had never won in Detroit. Plus, the Lions were the hottest team in the league at that point, having won their last 4 games, and 6 of 7 (including beating Cleveland 20-7 in week 11). And the Lions were coming off a Tobin-Rote-led 24-point comeback-win over the 49ers, in the Western Conference tiebreaker playoff game, a week earlier. So, the oddsmkers might have thought Cleveland were favorites, but there were plenty of signs pointing to a Detroit win.

1957 NFL Championship Game: Detroit Lions 59, Cleveland Browns 14…
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial photo of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo from Virtual Motor City via Detroit Lions 1950s-era logo [2014 retro-redesign], image from Interior shot of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo by Wayne State University via Virtual Motor City via Photo of Tobin Rote [in 1957 NFL title game], by Marvin E. Newman at Illustrations of Lions and Browns 1957 helmets, by[1957]. Bobby Layne, on crutches, hugs Tobin Rote post-game, photo by AP via Detroit Free Press front page [Dec. 30 1957], photo from

Aided by two 1st-quarter turnovers (1 FR, 1 INT), all 3 possessions by the Lions in the first quarter led to scores (1 FG, and then two 1-yard-TD-runs: the first by QB Tobin Rote, and then another 1-yard-TD by HB Gene Gedman). Then, early in the 2nd quarter, Detroit pulled a trick play…Tobin Rote, who was also the place-holder for Field Goal attempts, called for a fake-FG in the huddle. It resulted in a 26-yard TD pass to End Steve Junker. That made it 24-7, and the rout was on. A 19-yard interception for a TD, by Lions DB Terry Barr, gave the Lions a 24-point lead at halftime (31-7). In the 2nd half, the Browns scored an early 3rd quarter TD, but the Lions answered with 4 TD passes, 3 by Rote, and the final TD pass by 3rd-string QB Jerry Reichow. In the 3rd quarter, Rote threw a stupendous 78-yard-pass to End Jim Doran, and then a 23-yard-TD-pass to Steve Junker. In the 4th quarter, Rote threw a 32-yd-TD-pass to End Dave Middleton. And so, with the game safely in hand, Rote was substituted for Reichow, who then threw a 16-yard TD pass to HB Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassady. Final score: Lions 59, Browns 14.

The 45-point margin of victory by the Lions made it the most lopsided NFL title game since the Bears’ 73-0 win over Washington in 1940. The Lions had won their fourth (and last) NFL title.

1957 Detroit Lions: 3 All-Pro players; plus 7 from the ’57 Lions that were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Note: All-Pro, below, means: 1957 AP, 1st team.
-Jack Christiansen (DB/KR): 1957 All-Pro; Christiansen was inducted into the HoF in 1970.
-Joe Schmidt (MLB): 1957 All-Pro; Schmidt was inducted into the HoF in 1973.
-Lou Creekmur (OT): 1957 All-Pro; Creekmur was inducted into the HoF in 1996.
-Bobby Layne (QB); Layne was inducted into the HoF in 1969.
-Yale Lary (DB/P); Lary was inducted into the HoF in 1979.
-Frank Gatski (C); Gatski was inducted into the HoF in 1985.
-John Henry Johnson (FB); Johnson was inducted into the HoF in 1987.

Two games into the next season (1958), the Lions front-office decided to stick with Tobin Rote, and part with the older and more expensive Bobby Layne. Layne was traded to the basement-dwelling Pittsburgh Steelers, and it is said that an incensed Layne predicted that the Lions would not win another championship for 50 years. He was right. The Detroit Lions have gone 1-10 in the playoffs since 1957, and are the oldest NFL franchise that has never won a Super Bowl title. They haven’t even made it to a Super Bowl: the closest that the Detroit Lions have ever got to a Super Bowl appearance was a loss to Washington in the 1991 NFC championship game. As of late December 2017 [with the Lions failing to qualify for the playoffs], it has been 60 years and counting since the Lions have been the NFL champions. There is just one thing I don’t understand…why is the player who led the Lions to their last NFL title, Tobin Rote, not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (See following link.)

-From the Detroit Athletic blog, Tobin Rote belongs in Canton (by Howard Bak at
-From the Detroit Free Press, 1957 Detroit Lions: Full 60th anniversary coverage (
-From Golden Football Magazine site, NFL Championship Games: 1957, Cleveland Browns @ Detroit Lions [illustrated chart-style article] (
-Video of 1957 NFL Championship Game (at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, MI), Detroit Lions 56, Cleveland Browns 17 [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 1]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 2]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 3] (videos uploaded by Vol Brian at

1957 NFL attendance.
Note: also see the 1957 NFL Average Attendance chart at far-lower-right of the map page {source:}.
In 1957, the NFL was in the midst of its steadily-increasing popularity, and broke 3 million total attendance for the first time. There were 3,062,449 tickets sold for the 72 regular season games of the 1957 NFL season. That averaged out to 42,534 per game (up an impressive +3,914 per game or up 10.1%, from 1956). The highest drawing NFL team was once again the Los Angeles Rams (at 68 K). Second-best draw was the 8-4 San Francisco 49ers (at 65 K), who drew 19-thousand-more-per-game than in 1956 (a league-best 43.9% increase). The 49ers drew so well in ’57 because they had an almost-championship-caliber team, one that came very close to winning the Western Conference (Detroit beat them in a rare conference [divisional] playoff tiebreaker game). So Bay Area fans responded by flocking in droves to Kezar Stadium, to see the Niners. Third-best attendance in 1957 was Detroit (at 55 K). The Detroit Lions of the 1950s, who won 3 NFL titles in that decade (1952, 1953, 1957), really packed them in at Briggs Stadium [aka Tiger Stadium], back then. Fourth-best crowd-size in 1957 was the much-improved Cleveland Browns (at 54 K), who featured rookie sensation Jim Brown (rushing yardage-leader & Rookie of the Year). The Browns had the second-best attendance improvement (17-thousand-more-per-game or +36.2%, from 1956). The other NFL teams of 1957 which drew above 40-thousand were: the reigning champions the New York Giants (at 48 K), the Baltimore Colts (at 46 K), and the Chicago Bears (at 44 K). The Colts are noteworthy here, as it was the still-young franchises’ first plus-40-K-attendance season (6.9-K more per game than in 1956). Their increase in attendance came thanks to the galvanizing presence of Johnny Unitas, who, in his first full-season as their starting QB, led the Colts to their first winning season (7-5). Unitas led the NFL in passing yardage and QB rating in 1957. In the following two seasons (1958 and ’59), the Colts would be champions.

New stadium for Green Bay in 1957. One more thing with respect to attendances deserves a mention…1957 was the first season of Green Bay’s new City Stadium (II) [renamed Lambeau Field in 1965]. The stadium the Packers had played in from 1932 to ’56, the bare-bones City Stadium (I), had just a 25,000-capacity {see this aerial photo circa mid-1950s}. A few years previously, the then-basement-dwelling Green Bay Packers had been told by the league office to either build a bigger stadium or move full-time to Milwaukee (Green Bay played 2 of their 6 home games, each season, in Milwaukee, during this era). When they opened their new stadium in 1957, City Stadium (II) had a 32,500 capacity. {Here is an aerial photo of the first game played at what is now called Lambeau Field, from Sept. 29 1957.} The Packers were drawing 24.0 K in 1956 (which was 96-percent-capacity); in their new stadium in 1957, the Packers drew 26.8 K (82 percent-capacity). In the next two seasons of 1958 and ’59, the Packers drew better, at the 31-K-range…in other words, back to above-95-percent-capacity. Today, the only thing that still remains from the original structure of 1957 is some concrete that comprises the nearest stands to the field, and the structural steel below that. {For more on that, see this article with a great photo of old City Stadium (II)/Lambeau Field circa early 1960s, Lambeau Field started with a chain-link fence around it (by Cliff Christl, Packers team historian, at}. Lambeau Field is the oldest continually-operating NFL stadium, and after the Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field is the third-oldest continually-operating major league venue in the USA and Canada. (Lambeau Field now has a 81.4-k-capacity.) The next NFL team to change their venue would be the Philadelphia Eagles in the following year (1958), when the Eagles moved from the decaying Connie Mack Stadium [aka Shibe Park], into the much-larger Franklin Field.

Helmet and uniform changes in the NFL in 1957.
{1957 NFL uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database site.}
-In 1957, it became mandatory in the NFL for home teams to wear their dark jersey, and for the visiting team to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey. Previously, NFL teams could wear whatever colored jersey they wanted, even if the two teams both ended up wearing dark-colored jerseys. And some teams only wore one jersey the whole season (as the Bears, the Lions, and the 49ers did, the season before, in 1956). This rule change showed the growing influence that television had on the NFL…the rule change was necessary because, on their black-and-white televisions, viewers at home could not distinguish between the two teams when both were wearing dark-colored jerseys. So home-team-dark-jerseys, and visiting-team-whites, was mandated.

-In 1957, the Baltimore Colts would introduce their large-horseshoe-in-center-of-helmet logo, which the Colts franchise still uses to this day; likewise the Colts new jersey design which featured arced shoulder stripes {1957 Colts}. The Colts had previously worn a small-horseshoe-on-the-back-o-f-the-helmet {see this illustration I made for my 1956 NFL post}. Sixty years later, the Colts wear still this exact same helmet-design, with only the dark blue color having changed (and only very slightly, see this illustration I made in 2013, Baltimore/Indianaplois Colts: the 4 shades of blue the Colts have worn}.

-In 1957, the San Francisco 49ers switched their helmet-color from white to gold (a blank metallic-gold helmet), and they also switched to gold pants {SF 49ers 1947-48 gold helmets/3-stripe-red-jerseys [YA Tittle]}. Both the gold helmets and gold pants had been first worn by the 49ers back in 1949, when the team was in the AAFC. Also in 1957, the white jersey of the 49ers had a unique red-gold-red striping {1957 49ers}; {here is a very nice color shot of the 1957 49ers [running out onto the field v Rams at LA Coliseum}...a very nice look, but in the following season of 1958, the Niners went back to their plain-one-color-striping on the sleeves of their white jerseys, which was in the same style as the red jersey's striping, and which dated back to 1950, and which is still worn to this day. The 49ers would keep the gold-helmets-and-pants for one more season ['58], before switching back again to silver helmet and pants (and then introduced the S-F-in-football-logo on that silver helmet in 1962), then the Niners switched back to gold helmet and pants once again, for good, in 1964.

-In 1957, the Chicago Bears, because of the new dark-jerseys-at-home/light-jerseys-away rule, wore white jerseys for the first time in 17 years (worn last in 1940) {1957 Rick Casares game-worn jersey.} (The Bears still wear essentially the same white jersey to this day.)

-In 1957, the Cleveland Browns added jersey-numbers to their orange helmets. {Reproduction of 1957 Jim Brown helmet (} {1957 Browns.} {black-and-white photo of 1957 Browns helmet w/ jersey-numbers [Jim Brown].} This was the first instance of the color brown on the Browns’ helmet (brown stripes flanking the center-white-stripe appeared in {1960}). The Browns would only wear this jersey-numbers-on-helmet style for 4 years (1957-60).

-In 1957, the Green Bay Packers’ alternate helmet-&-color-scheme of white-and-dark-forest-green was worn (this color-scheme existed for 3 seasons for the Packers [1956, '57, '58]). The Packers wore this white-and-dark-forest-green gear only once in ’56 (on opening day). But here, in 1957, when the NFL introduced the aforementioned rule that said home teams must wear dark jerseys at home and light-colored jerseys on the road, the Packers wore the white-and-dark-forest-green colors for all 6 of their road games {1957 Packers}; {1957 Packers at Rams, with Packers in white helmets-and-jerseys-with-dark-green-trim}. Then, in the next season (1958), the Packers wore white-helmets-with-dark-forest-green-jerseys for all 6 home games (and wore a very similar-looking white-with-dark-blue-trim for all 6 road games), making it the only season in the Packers’ history, besides {1922}, when gold (yellow-orange or metallic-gold) was not in their colors. 1958 was also the Packers’ worst season ever [1-10-1]. {Here are the dreary and eminently forgettable uniforms of the 1958 Green Bay Packers.} In 1959, with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers began wearing their current color-scheme of gold (yellow-orange) and dark-green. And were much better.

-In 1957, the Los Angeles Rams wore white jerseys for the first time ever (they only had worn yellow/orange or blue or red/black ['37] or red ['49] jerseys previously). Like the Bears, the Rams had been wearing only one uniform for several seasons (the Rams wore just a yellow/orange jersey from 1951 to ’56). The Rams were the only NFL team in 1957 that had three jerseys (blue, yellow/orange, white) {1957 Rams}.

-In 1957, the New York Giants introduced a subtle alteration of their helmets, placing jersey-numbers on the front of their blank-dark-blue-helmet-with-red-center-stripe. This helmet-design does not get noted at Gridiron Uniforms Database, but at MG’s Helmets, and at the Helmet Project site, the numbers-on-front-of-helmet design for the Giants of this era is noted, but just not by a specific year [when the design originated]. Well, I’ve looked at plenty of 1950s-era Giants helmets recently, and I can tell you for sure that the numbers were added to the front of Giants’ helmets in 1957 (and the jersey-numbers stayed on the front of Giants helmets all the way up to 1974). All you have to do is look at this photo from the Giants’ 1956 title-march {1956 NY Giants on the bench: Gifford, Beck, Conerly, Webster}, and then look at this photo from 1957 {Giants defense takes down Jim Brown, 1957}. The Giants put those jersey-numbers on the front of their helmets in ’57. Even without the Giants’ small-case-NY logo {which wasn’t introduced until 1961}, that ’57 Giants helmet-design with the jersey-numbers on the front was a pretty solid look. I wish more teams would utilize that look (like the Steelers do; see below).

-In 1957, the Pittsburgh Steelers, like the Browns, introduced jersey-numbers on their yellow/orange-gold-with-black-stripe helmets {1957 Steelers}. The Steelers wore this style for 5 years, from 1957-61 {The next link show this style of helmet, 1960 Steelers [Bobby Layne in Steelers huddle].} In 1962, the Steelers got rid of the large-jersey-numbers-on-the-side-of-helmet, and kept the plain yellow/orange-gold-helmet-with-black-stripe, and then later in the ’62 season they finally introduced a logo…the Steelers’ US-Steel-with-starbursts logo (Nov. 1962). {Here is a shot of safety Willie Daniel in the 1962 Steelers’ gold-helmet with US-Steel-and-starbursts logo, which was worn for the last 5 regular season games in 1962.} The US-Steel-logo-with-starbursts on a black helmet was introduced in Jan. 1963. The US-Steel-with-starbursts logo has always been worn on only the right-side of the Steelers’ helmet. In 1963, along with the introduction of the modern-day black-helmet-with-US-Steel-logo, the Steelers re-introduced jersey-numbers on the helmet, but smaller numbers worn on the front of the helmet…a look that the NY Giants pioneered in 1957 (see Giants’ section above). The Steelers have worn the small-jersey-numbers on their helmets ever since 1963…{Steelers helmet circa 1963 (John Baker)}; { Steelers’ helmet ca. 1980 (Jack Lambert)}; {Steelers’ helmets ca. 2016}.
Photo and Image credits on map page…
Detroit Lions…
Detroit Lions mid-1950s-era leather helmet and plastic-shell helmet, photos unattributed at The Football Book published by ESPN via Bobby Layne, 1st photo (color) by George Gellatly at 2nd photo of Bobby Layne, photo unattributed at Lou Creekmur, photo by Frank Rippon/NFL at Color photo of four 1957 Lions players [Charlie Ane, Howard Cassady, Tobin Rote, Yale Lary], photo unattributed at Tobin Rote, 1st photo: 1959 Bazooka trading card from 2nd photo of Tobin Rote: photo of Rote from 1957 NFL Championship Game, by Marvin E. Newman at John Henry Johnson, photo unattributed at Joe Schmidt, photo unattributed at,Joe. Jack Christiansen, photo unattributed at
1957 NFL Offensive leaders…
Johnny Unitas [photo from preseason 1957], photo by Ozzie Sweet/Sport magazine [Dec. 1958] via[Johnny Unitas feature]. Jim Brown [photo from 1957 v Cardinals], photo by Cleveland Browns via Lenny Moore [photo from preseason 1957], photo unattributed at Raymond Berry [photo of 1957 Topps card], from

Map was drawn with assistance from images at these links…
48-state-USA/southern Canada,
Section of Mexico, as well as coastlines-&-oceans,
-Thanks to the contributors at
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1957 season (
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

November 9, 2017

NFL 1956 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: New York football Giants.

Filed under: NFL>1956 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 1:06 pm

NFL 1956 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: New York football Giants

By Bill Turianski on 9 November 2017;
-1956 NFL season
-1956 New York Giants season (
-1956 NFL season (
-1956 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1956] (

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and primary jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1956. Final standings for the 1956 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. In the bottom-right-corner are 1956 NFL attendance figures by team. At the top-right of the map is a section devoted to the 1956 NFL champions, the New York Giants (also see next 9 paragraphs below). At the right-hand-center of the map page, are 1956 Offensive leaders in the following categories…QB Rating: Ed Brown, Bears. Passing Yards & TD passes: Tobin Rote, Packers. Rushing Yards & total TDs: Rick Casares, Bears. Total Yards from Scrimmage: Frank Gifford, Giants. Receiving Yards & TD receptions: Billy Howton, Packers.

The New York Giants demolished the Chicago Bears in the 1956 Championship Game, 47-7 (played at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 30, 1956). The Giants were coached by Jim Lee Howell (Howell is best known for, in 1954, giving both Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry their first NFL coaching jobs). In 1956, the Giants had a balanced team, with the league’s 3rd-best-Offense and the 4th-best-Defense. They were led by the then-34-year-old, and long-time-Giants-QB, Charley Conerly, and featured the 1956 NFL Most Valuable Player, halfback Frank Gifford. The Giants’ defense was spearheaded by a bruising front four that included DE Andy Robustelli (who had just been traded from the Rams). The ’56 Giants had a swift-and-hard-hitting linebacker corps that featured that season’s Rookie of the Year, Sam Huff, and a defensive backfield that included a veteran interception specialist, Emlen Tunnell. (Tunnell had been the first black player to play for the Giants, eight years previously, in 1948.)

In the 1956 final, the New York football Giants faced a team which had the NFL’s highest-scoring offense that year – the Chicago Bears. There was mixed-snow-&-freezing-rain falling before the game, and by game-time, the field was frozen solid. After checking the field conditions, coach Howell ordered the whole team to leave their cleats in the locker room and wear sneakers, for better traction on the frozen field. The Bears, repeating something that happened 22 years earlier [in the 1934 NFL title game in NYC, which they also lost], did not wear the sneakers they had brought. {See this article from the Chicago Tribune, Carved In Ice: Bears-Giants ‘Sneaker’ Title Game}.

So the Giants, in their Pro Keds sneakers, on that frozen field at Yankee Stadium, ran circles around the Bears. Charlie Conerly threw two TDs, including one to Frank Gifford. Gifford was the main offensive force, with 161 yards from scrimmage including a 67-yard pass play. Giants fullback Mel Triplett rushed for 71 yards and a TD. And fullback Alex Webster racked up 103 yards from scrimmage, and ran for 2 TDs. {You can see a photo of FB Alex Webster (in sneakers) on a big-gain pass-play in the 1956 title game, in the photo-section at the top-right of the map page.} The blowout was pretty much sealed late in the 2nd quarter, after Giants DT Rosey Grier had sacked the Bears’ QB Ed Brown for a 9-yard-loss on the one-yard-line, forcing the Bears to punt. The punt was blocked by Giants guard/lineman Ray Beck, and was recovered in the end zone for a TD by Giants rookie DB Henry Moore. That made it 34-7 for the Giants at halftime. And then the Giants scored 13 unanswered points in the 2nd half, to make it a 47-7 final score.

Video: 1956 Football Championship (27:50 video uploaded by Newton Minnow at

1956 was the first year the New York football Giants played in Yankee Stadium. (The New York football Giants, as a renter of the New York baseball Giants, had played at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan ever since the gridiron football team was formed, in 1925.) They left the decaying Polo Grounds and moved the mile east, across the Harlem River, to the South Bronx and Yankees Stadium. And with that move, the Giants’ attendance increased a whopping 26 thousand per game and more than doubled – from 21 K in the Polo Grounds in 1955, to 47 K at Yankee Stadium in 1956. (The New York football Giants would play 18 seasons at Yankee Stadium, before the 1973-76 Yankee Stadium renovation forced them to seek a temporary venue in New Haven, CT at the Yale Bowl [the Giants played in New Haven for the latter-part of the 1973 season and all of the the 1974 season], then the Giants played one season at the New York Jets’ venue [Shea Stadium in Queens, NY]. Then the Giants moved into Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ in 1976.)
Photo credits above – Photo of the Polo Grounds in NFL configuration [photo circa 1955], photo unattributed at Shot of Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium [photo circa 1956], photo unattributed at Photo of New York Giants playing at Yankee Stadium [photo from 1960], photo by Neil Leifer at

In the 1956 NFL season, the Giants had finished 8-3-1, which was a game-and-a-half better than the 2nd-place-Eastern-Conference-finisher, the Chicago Cardinals. Their win over the Bears in the 1956 Championship Game got the Giants their first NFL title in 18 years, and their fourth NFL title up to that point. The Giants would not win another NFL title for 30 years (1986 season). (The Giants now have won 8 NFL titles including 4 Super Bowl titles [last in the 2011 season].) The 1956 New York Giants featured 5 Pro Football Hall of Fame players on their roster (Emlen Tunnell, Andy Robustelli, Rosey Brown, Frank Gifford, Sam Huff), as well as two coaching greats who were early in their careers, and who also were later inducted into the Hall of Fame: Vince Lombardi (Giants’ Offensive coordinator) and Tom Landry (Giants’ Defensive coordinator) {photo of Lombardi & Landry circa 1956}.

6 New York Giants players made the 1956 NFL All-Pro team…
-Frank Gifford (Halfback). Frank Gifford was voted 1956 Sporting News & UPI Most Valuable Player [Pro Football HoF, 1977].
-Sam Huff (Linebacker). Sam Huff was named 1956 NFL Rookie of the Year [Pro Football HoF, 1982].
-Emlen Tunnell (Defensive back) [Pro Football HoF, 1967].
-Andy Robustelli (Defensive End) [Pro Football HoF, 1971].
-Rosey Brown (Offensive Tackle) [Pro Football HoF, 1975].
-Rosey Grier (Defensive Tackle).

Here is a detailed and comprehensive look at the title-winning 1956 New York football Giants,
From Big Blue, The 1956 New York Giants [illustrated article] (by Larry Schmitt on May 30 2015 at

1956 NFL Attendance
Home average attendance (6 home games)
Los Angeles Rams: 61,189.
Detroit Lions: 55,161.
Chicago Bears: 48,476.
New York Giants: 47,063.
San Francisco 49ers: 45,314.
Baltimore Colts: 39,745.
Cleveland Browns: 36,941.
Washington Redskins: 29,148.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 28,392.
Philadelphia Eagles: 24,431.
Green Bay Packers: 24,054.
Chicago Cardinals: 23,545.

Helmet & unifom changes for 1956 NFL…
As of 1956, NFL teams could wear their dark jersey and the visiting team could actually also wear their dark jersey for the same game. Circa the mid-1950s, because of the increasing importance of televised broadcasts of NFL games, that would soon change. You see, if both home and road teams were wearing dark colored jerseys (or both wearing light-colored jerseys), it made it very hard for television viewers to differentiate between the two teams (this was the era of black-and-white television). Here, at[1956, week 1], is an example of color-clashes in NFL games, from the opening week of the 1956 season; note in this link that you can see that 4 of the 6 games in that week would have been very hard to watch on a black-and-white television. That would change the next year (in 1957), when it became mandatory in the NFL for home teams to wear their dark jersey, and for the visitors to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey.

In 1956, three teams ended up wearing their white jerseys more of the time than their dark jersey….the Browns (eleven times in white, including all their 6 home games), the Giants (8 times in white, including 4 of their 7 home games [including the Championship Game versus the Bears]), and the Eagles (7 times in white, including 3 of their 6 home games). The Colts wore their white jersey six times, including in 3 of their home games. The Colts also changed their helmets in 1956 – from a blue helmet to a white helmet, and the Colts continued to feature their prototype-horseshoe-logo – worn on the back of their helmet (see illustration below). In 1956, four teams did not wear a white (or light-colored jersey): Bears, Packers, Rams, 49ers, and three of them only wore one jersey…the Bears (midnight-blue jersey), the Rams (yellow jersey, and the 49ers (red jersey). The Packers wore a dark-forest-green-and-white jersey for their first game, and then wore dark-greyish-blue-and-gold jerseys for the next 11 games (see more on that further below).
[To see info on who wore what, and when, in 1956, go to[1956] and then click on numbers “1|2|3|4…[etc]“, found below the header that reads “1956 NFL Teams”.]

-In 1956, the Baltimore Colts went from blue to white helmets, retaining the small-horseshoe-at-back-of-helmet logo (see images below for the prototype-Colts-horseshoe logos from the 1954-56 era). Some players on the ’56 Colts wore a dark-blue facemask (see following link). {Here are photos of a reproduction of a 1956 Colts helmet (} (In the next year of 1957, the Colts would introduce their large-horseshoe-in-center-of-helmet logo, which the Colts franchise still uses to this day.)
Above: helmet and jersey illustrations by Gridiron Uniform Database at[Colts].

-In 1956, the Green Bay Packers wore white helmets for the first of three seasons (1956-58); and in 1956, the Packers’ alternate color-scheme of white and dark-forest-green was introduced, and it too only lasted for 3 seasons (1956, ’57, ’58). {Here is the only color image I could find of this shade of Packers green: photos of Forrest Gregg & Bart Starr from pre-season 1956.} It really is a forgotten period in the history of the Packers. {Here is a black-and-white photo of Packers QB Tobin Rote in the 1956 Packers dark-green-and-white uniforms (it is from that aforementioned 1956 opening day game of Packers v Lions.} {Here are Gridiron Uniform Database’s illustrations for the uniforms of the 1956 Green Bay Packers.} The Packers wore their dark-forest-green-and-white gear only once in ’56 (as mentioned, on opening day), but in the following season of 1957, when the NFL introduced that rule that said all teams must wear dark jerseys at home and light-colored jerseys on the road, the Packers wore the white-and-dark-forest-green for all their 6 road games {1957 Green Bay Packers}. Then, in the season after that (1958), the Packers wore dark-forest-green-and-white for all 6 home games (and wore a very similar-looking white-with-dark-blue-trim for all 6 road games), making it the only season in the Packers’ history, besides {1922}, when gold (yellow-orange or metallic-gold) was not in their colors. It was also their worst season ever [1-10-1]. {Here are the dreary and eminently forgettable uniforms of the 1958 Green Bay Packers}.)

-In 1956, the San Francisco 49ers switched their helmet-color from dark-red, to white, and wore gear that basically emulated the nearby Stanford college football team (ie, just white helmets and red jerseys, with no silver or gold at all…a very plain look). {Here are photos of 1956 49ers trading cards ; here is the uniform of the 1956 San Francisco 49ers.} The Niners not only looked dull in 1956, but they also looked too much like the Chicago Cardinals of 1956. (The 49ers’ helmets would change again the following season of 1957, to metallic-gold, before switching again back to silver, then to back gold once again, for good, in 1964.)

-In 1956, Washington changed their helmets (yet again), from burgandy, back to metallic-gold. In the early 1950s, Washington had worn a metallic-gold helmet with a burgandy-red center stripe, but in 1956 and ’57 Washington wore a Notre-Dame-style all-metallic-gold helmet {see this 1958 Gene Brito trading card, with Brito in the ’57 Washington uniform}. {Here is a page that shows many color photos of Washington uniforms circa 1950 to ’80,[Washington].} (Washington would keep the gold helmets until late in the 1958 season, when the team introduced their feather helmet [white-and-red-feather on back of burgandy-colored-helmet/used from 1968 to 1964].)
Photo and Image credits on map page…
1956 New York Giants…
Helmet, photo by NY Giants players on bench [photo from 1956]: Frank Gifford (16), Ray Beck (61), Charley Conerly (42), Alex Webster (29), photo unattributed at Frank Gifford [photo ca. 1956], photo unattributed at Sam Huff [photo ca. 1958], photo unattributed at Charley Conerly, [Dec. 3 1956 issue of Sports Illustrated], photo unattributed at Rosey Grier [photo ca. 1957], photo by Robert Riger at Andy Robustelli, [1981 retro-trading-card], from ar. Emlen Tunnell [photo circa 1955], photo by Associated Press via Alex Webster [photo from 1956 NFL Championship Game v Bears], photo unattributed at Rosey Brown [photo circa 1955], photo by David Durochik/Associated Press via

1956 NFL Offensive leaders…
Ed Brown (Bears), 1956 Topps trading card, photo from Tobin Rote (Packers), [1955 action photo v Browns], photo from Bettman Archive via Getty Images via[1955 Packers, game 5]. Rick Casares (Bears) [1957 color photo], original photo unattributed at Frank Gifford [1955 action photo v Colts], photo unattributed at Billy Howton (Packers) [1954 photo], photo by Vernon Biever via

-Map was drawn with assistance from images at these links…
48-state-USA/southern Canada,
Section of Mexico, as well as coastlines-&-oceans,
-Thanks to the contributors at
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1956 season (
-Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

September 19, 2017

NFL 1955 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Cleveland Browns.

Filed under: NFL>1955 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 am

NFL 1955 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Cleveland Browns

By Bill Turianski on 19 September 2017;
-1955 NFL season (
-1953 NFL [Illustrations of 1955 NFL teams' uniforms] (
-1955 NFL season (

-Cleveland Browns 1955 (

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1955. (Alternate uniforms and alternate helmets can be seen in the links to Gridiron Uniform Database pages, in the 1955 NFL teams section further below.) Final standings for the 1955 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. At the top-right of the map is a small section devoted to the 1955 Sporting News & UPI Most Valuable Player, Otto Graham (QB of the Cleveland Browns). At the far-right/center are offensive leaders: QB Rating (Otto Graham), Receiving Yards (Pete Pihos of the Eagles), Rushing Yards (Alan Ameche of the Colts).

The 1955 NFL season was the 36th season of the league. Defending champions the Cleveland Browns, who had beaten Detroit 56-10 in the 1954 NFL Championship Game, won the NFL title for the second-straight year, again in convincing fashion…on December 26, 1955, before 87 thousand at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Browns, led by QB Otto Graham, beat the LA Rams 34-10. Graham was voted the UPI and the Sporting News MVP for the 1955 NFL season. Otto Graham had thus led the Cleveland Browns to 10 straight pro football title games, winning 7 of them (all 4 AAFC titles [1946-49], then NFL titles in 1950, 1954, and 1955). Graham, who had retired after the 1954 season, came out of retirement during the 1955 pre-season, when it was apparent that the Browns had no suitable replacement for him. Graham retired for good after the 1955 title game, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a decade later, in 1965 (which was the third year that the HoF, est. 1963, inducted players).

The NFL of this era (1951 to ’59) featured just 12 teams. There had been 10 teams during the late 1940s, when the NFL was competing with the All-America Football Conference. When the AAFC “merged” with the NFL for the 1950 season, three AAFC teams joined the NFL…the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the first Baltimore Colts (I/est. 1947 in the AAFC and est. 1950 in the NFL). That made the NFL a 13-team league, but only for one year (1950). That was because the original Baltimore Colts team (who wore green-and-silver) only lasted one season in the NFL, going 1-11 and playing to lackluster support in 1950, then folded. But the NFL gave the city of Baltimore another shot a couple years later, and this time, the blue-and-white Baltimore Colts (II/est. 1953), who were formed out of the remains of the ill-fated 1952 Dallas Texans, became an established and successful franchise in Baltimore, before moving to Indiana in 1984 as the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL of 1955 was a league right on the cusp of success. That success in the following decades would be tied to television broadcasts of NFL games, but for now, the NFL was not that much of a profitable enterprise, was resistant to expansion, and still played second fiddle to both Major League Baseball and College football – in terms of media exposure, popularity, and revenue. In this era, the only truly stable NFL franchises were the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, the Chicago Bears, and the highest-drawing team, the Los Angeles Rams. The watershed moment for the NFL in terms of becoming a popular American institution was three years in the future. That would be the 1958 NFL Championship Game, dubbed the Greatest Game Ever Played.

This time period (mid-1950s) saw only 3 NFL teams sporting helmet logos…
nfl_1955_the-only-3-teams-with-helmet-logos_rams_eagles_colts_b_.gif1955 NFL teams’ uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database

Up to 1957, there were only 3 NFL teams with logos on their helmets…the trail-blazing Rams (ram horns helmet logo introduced in 1948), the Eagles (eagle-wings helmet logo introduced in 1954), and the Colts (horseshoe-logo introduced in 1954, albeit a smaller white-horseshoe-on-blue helmet, with the now-famous big-blue-horseshoe-on-white-helmet not being introduced until 1957). By the late 1950s, the proliferation of helmet-logos in the NFL was about to begin. And again, this is also tied to television broadcasting, because by the late 1950s, NFL front offices began to realize that a helmet with a logo would add immeasurably to the team’s brand-value. By 1963, every NFL team (with the exception of the Cleveland Browns) would sport a television-friendly helmet-logo.

-From Todd, How TV and Roy Rogers Helped Put Logos on NFL Team Helmets (by Todd Radom on Feb. 23 2016 at

    NFL teams in 1955 (listed in order of 1955 NFL standings), with helmet histories noted…
    1955 NFL teams’ uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database

1955 NFL Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland Browns 1955: (9-2-1/1955 NFL champions), QB: Otto Graham.
{1955 Browns’ uniforms.} Under innovative head coach Paul Brown (whom the team was named after), the Browns simply dominated pro football in the immediate post-War era, first in the rebel-league the AAFC (winning all 4 AAFC titles), then playing in 6 consecutive NFL title games (1950-55), winning 3 of them. I don’t think many younger NFL fans understand this salient point…the Cleveland Browns of the AAFC joined the NFL in 1950, and promptly won the NFL title in their first season there! The Browns wore white helmets in their AAFC years (this being some of the last few years that leather helmets were worn). Then Paul Brown introduced a higher-visibility orange helmet for the Browns, upon entering the NFL in 1950. A white center-stripe was added to the orange helmet in 1952, which was the first year the Browns wore the modern plastic-shell helmets. Flanking center-stripes of brown were added in 1960. The Browns wore player-numbers on their helmets for a few years (1957-60), but switched back to the iconic plain-orange helmet that the franchise wears to this day. Although now the hapless Browns wear ugly brown facemasks (and appalling gear now), instead of the classic grey facemasks and understated uniforms they sported previously.
{Cleveland Browns uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}
Below is an illustration I put together in 2012 [originally, here...
NFL, AFC North - Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list (up to 2012 season) / Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers).]
Image and Photo credits above – Helmet and uniform illustrations from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of 1951 Bowman Paul Brown trading card from Tinted b&w photo of Otto Graham unattributed at Photo of 1950 Bowman trading card of Lou Groza at Photo of Jim Brown from Photo of Marion Motley in 1948 AAFC championship game from Cleveland Plain Dealer archive via

2. Washington 1955: (8-4), QB: Eddie LeBaron.
{1955 Washington uniforms.} Washington wore a duller shade of burgandy in this mid-1950s time period. Actually Washingtons’ burgandy color back then had more brown in it, and less red, and was more like plum. Washington’s modern-day burgandy color dates back to 1969, which was also when their gold color stopped being old-gold (brownish-gold) and was switched to the brighter yellow-orange gold they still wear {1969 Washington uniforms}. 3 years after 1955, in 1958, Washington was the fourth NFL team to introduce a helmet-logo…it was an unusual back-of-the-helmet-oriented logo – of a large feather, in red-and-white, on a brownish-burgandy helmet {1958 Washington}. The weird feather-logo helmet lasted 7 years, and that was replaced by a diagonally-positioned gold-spear-with-feather logo {1965 Redskins uniforms}. Washington wore the spear helmet-logo for just 5 seasons. They should have kept it: in my opinion it is a very strong emblem, and proof of this can be seen in the fact that Florida State have basically created their brand on the back of this now iconic symbol. Washington switched from burgandy helmets to yellow-orange helmets with a capital-R-with-feathers logo, for a two-year period, in the early 1970s, when former Packers head coach Vince Lombardi was the Washington GM and head coach. Then Washington switched back to burgandy helmets in 1972, with the Indian-in-profile-with-feathers logo they still use to this day, and with white-burgandy-gold-burgandy-white center-striping. Yellow facemasks were introduced in 1978. {See a condensed evolution of Redskins’ helmets in this nice illustration, unattributed at pinterest, here.}
{Washington uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}

3. New York Giants 1955: (6-5-1), QB: Charley Conerly.
{1955 Giants’ uniforms}. Red was the Giants’ primary jersey color in their early days, and all the way up to the early 1950s, but the New York football Giants have worn helmets of dark-royal-blue-with-red-accents for over 80 years. The first year with that color-scheme for their headgear was all the way back in 1931 (their 7th season) {1931 Giants’ uniforms}. The Giants tried white-helmets-with-blue-accents for a few years (1934-36), but went back to the much stronger blue-with-red, and have stayed that way since 1937. In 1949, the Giants introduced a subtle but effective red center-stripe on their dark royal blue helmets, and that look has stood the test of time {1949 Giants’ uniforms}. The similarly subtle-yet-effective small-case-‘ny’ logo was introduced in 1961 {1961 Giants’ uniforms}. They tried messing with their helmet in 1975 {1975 Giants’ uniforms}, adding white facemasks and needlessly adding flanking white center-stripes to their 1975 helmet, but which, more importantly, had a very poorly-thought-out new NY-logo in a hideous font (that font can be described as dystopian-future-sans-serif). What a headache. That abomination lasted exactly one season, and then the all-caps-italicized-GIANTS logo was introduced in 1976. That logo lasted 24 years. Then, in 2000, the Giants went retro and futuristic simultaneously, reviving the small-case-‘ny’ logo, as well as the white-jerseys-with-red-numbers-/-silver-pants look they sported in the 1950s and early 1960s, plus adding a modern touch with a metallic sheen to their blue helmets, which were once again combined with grey facemasks.
Here is a great article on Giants uniforms from the Big Blue Interactive site, Becoming Big Blue – A History of the New York Giants Uniforms (by Larry Schmitt on July 8 2013 at
Image credits above –
{New York Giants’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}

4. Chicago Cardinals 1955: (4-7-1), QB: Lamar McHan.
{1955 Cardinals’ uniforms}. The Chicago Cardinals usually wore white helmets, but in the early-and-mid-1950s they would wear red helmets for night games. And when, in 1957, the NFL made it a rule that home teams wore dark jerseys and road team wore white, the Chicago Cardinals wore red helmets (with white jerseys/red pants) for all their away games. But that was the last time the Cards sported red helmets (1957). The Chicago Cardinals were always obscured by the more-dominant Chicago Bears, and it was only a matter of time before the franchise moved to greener pastures…5 years after 1955, the franchise relocated to St. Louis, MO. And 28 years after that, the franchise moved from Missouri to Arizona (in 1988). Both times they moved, they kept their colors of deep-red-and-white (with black trim added in 1964). {1960 St. Louis Cardinals’ uniforms.} When the Cardinals moved from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960, the Cardinals introduced their bold frowning-cardinal-head logo, which in my opinion is one of the best looking helmets ever made {1960 Ken Gray game-worn Cardinals helmet {}. The Cardinals tweaked the helmet-logo in 2005, with the cardinal looking more angry and more cartoon-like. {You can see the difference between 1960-cardinal and 2005-cardinal here (} {2005 Arizona Cardinals’ uniforms.} But at least they kept the grey facemasks.
{Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

5. Philadelphia Eagles 1955: (4-7-1), QBs: Adrian Burk & Bobby Thomason.
{1955 Eagles’ uniforms.} A Depression-era expansion franchise (est. 1933), the Eagles were named after the emblem of the National Recovery Act, which was an eagle (see this article, The Other NRA (Or How the Philadelphia Eagles Got Their Name), by Rebecca Onion at As mentioned earlier, the Eagles, in 1954, were the second-ever NFL team to introduce a helmet logo. This was a few years after the Eagles had sported an unusual helmet-design, sort of a proto-logo, which some call the feather logo {see this, 1948 Eagles’ uniforms}. But it wasn’t really a feather, it was simply the silver top-and-center-section of the helmet, painted in along a seam-line of their primarily green leather MacGregor helmets; {Steve Van Buren circa 1948}. This design lasted from 1941 to 1949; it was on those quirky MacGregor helmets from ’41 to ’48, then the last year they wore it, in ’49, they were playing with the new plastic-shell helmets { [Pete Pihos 1949]}. It looked pretty cool. The Eagles, perhaps not incidentally, won titles with this helmet (1948 & ’49 NFL titles). I don’t really think it was a coincidence that the eagle-wings helmet logo the Eagles came up with a few years later very closely resembles the general wavy-line shape of that “feather” helmet of the late 1940s. {1954 Eagles’ helmet.} It also, of course, looks pretty cool. And the Eagles of this era also, perhaps not incidentally, were title-winners (1960 NFL title). So why mess with it? The Eagles have tweaked it several times, though, starting in the early 1970s, when they reversed the colors so it was a green-eagle-wings on a white helmet (plus sweet black-bordered numbers on the jerseys) – a very under-rated uniform {1973 Eagles}. In 1974, the Eagles went back to green helmets, and re-introduced silver into the uniforms. Since 1996, the Eagles have worn a much darker shade of green, dubbed midnight-green, and introduced black facemasks; these days the Eagles now feature black more prominently {2016 Eagles}.
{Philadelphia Eagles’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

6. Pittsburgh Steelers 1955: (4-8), QB: Jim Finks (led 1955 NFL in passing yardage).
{1955 Steelers uniform.} Pittsburgh only wore one uniform in 1955. In the pre-Super Bowl era (before 1965), the Steelers were a cash-strapped and perennial last-place team most seasons. They always wore yellow-orange (gold) helmets. In 1953, they added a black center-stripe to the helmets, then added player-numbers for a few years (1957-61). In November 1962, the Steelers introduced their now-famous US-Steel-with-starbursts logo {1962 Steelers.} It was also on a yellow-orange helmet, with a narrow black center-stripe. The Steelers wore that design for the last couple games of the 1962 season, but they just put the helmet-logo-decals on one side of the helmet, in case it didn’t look too good and then they wouldn’t have to scrape off so my decals (true story). Turned out the logo (and the blank-side of the helmet) looked good, {1962 Steelers helmet.}. A few months later, in a post-season exhibition game in January 1963, the Steelers decided to try the logo out on a black helmet, and then the Steelers debuted the black-helmet-with-Steel-logo for the 1963 regular season, and the Steelers never did end up putting a logo on the left side of their helmet. That was a genius move.
{History of the Steelers logo (}
{Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database

1955 NFL Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Rams 1955: (8-3-1), QB: Norm Van Brocklin.
{1955 Rams uniform.} Like the Steelers, the Rams only wore one uniform in 1955, but the LA Rams could easily afford more gear, seeing as the Rams were hands-down the top draw in the NFL back then (often drawing well above 60 K at the then-100-K+-capacity LA Memorial Coliseum). The Rams started out in Cleveland and wore red-and-black their first season in the NFL {1937 Cleveland Rams.} The Cleveland Rams are one of the only Major League teams to ever win a title and then re-locate before the following season. This happened in 1945/46, when the 1945-title-winning Cleveland Rams decided to move to Los Angeles rather than face the prospect of being out-drawn and overshadowed in 1946 by the brand-new Cleveland Browns of the AAFC. So the Cleveland Rams moved to LA in 1946 and became the first Major League team on the West Coast. And a couple year later the Rams became the first team to sport a helmet-logo. The first helmet logo in the NFL was the famous golden Rams horns worn by the 1948 Los Angeles Rams (and are worn to this day by the franchise). The Ram’s-horns logo was created by LA Rams halfback and defensive back and off-season commercial artist Fred Gehrke. He came up with the idea, presented it to the Rams owner, and ended up painting every Rams player’s leather helmet in the dark-blue-and-yellow-orange ram’s-horn design (this took Gehrke the whole summer of 1948, and he got paid 1 buck per helmet, and then he was obliged to keep pots of blue and gold paint in his locker that whole 1948 season in order to repair and repaint scuffs and dings on his teammates’ helmets.
{Article on Rams 1948 helmet here,[category/nfl-1948-season].} The next year {1949}, the Rams front office tried to tweak the uniform by getting rid of the dark blue and playing in red, but that garish look lasted just the one year, and the Rams wisely went back to blue the next year (1950). By then the Rams were playing in the plastic-shell helmets and the ram’s-horns were decals. The Rams got rid of the yellow-orange and wore white Ram’s-horns for 9 years (1964-72). After moving to St. Louis, MO in 1995, the Rams kept their dark-blue-/-yellow-orange uniforms the same for several years, then switched their yellow-orange to metallic-gold in 2000, which was the season after the franchise won its first and only Super Bowl title (in 1999). When the Rams moved back to LA in 2016, they re-introduced the white ram’s horns in an alternate uniform, and in 2017 re-adopted the white ram’s-horns look.
{Los Angeles Rams’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

2. Chicago Bears 1955: (8-4), QB: Ed Brown (also: George Blanda).
{1955 Bears uniform}.
The Bears were one of the strongest NFL franchises all through the first 4 decades of the NFL (1920s-50s), and the Bears are still the second-most-successful NFL franchise (with 9 NFL titles, behind only the Packers’ 13 NFL titles). The Bears won their 8th NFL title in 1963, but by the early 1970s the rot of the late George Halas era had set in. It then took the Bears 22 years to win their 9th title (and only Super Bowl title), in the 1985 season. And it is now 31 more years without another title. The Bears have not actually always worn midnight-blue-and-orange. Gridiron Uniforms Database has shown, through research into old news clippings, that the franchise, which started out in Decatur, Illinois as the Decatur Staleys, wore red jerseys for their first three seasons (1920-22). {1921 Chicago Staleys [Bears].} {1922 Chicago Bears.} {See this article at the site from June 2014, The Chicago Bears Weren’t Always Blue-and-Orange, by Phil Hencken and Bill Schaefer [of the Gridiron Uniform Database] at} The Bears also have not always only worn plain dark-navy-blue helmets…in the 1930s, their helmet designs varied wildly, from Michigan-Wolverine-type striping {1932 Bears}, to white helmets or bizarre orange-helmets-with-starburst-navy-blue-converging-stripes {1934 Bears}, to plain orange helmets or rather nice navy-blue-helmets-with-3-orange-center-stripes {1937 Bears}. But by 1940, the Bears had gotten rid of the excess flourishes in their gear, and their modern-day look was established {1940 Bears}. And right when they had finally nailed down their (very solid) look, in the early 1940s, the Bears began their greatest era ever, with 4 NFL titles in 7 seasons (NFL titles in 1940, ’41, ’43, and ’46). {George Halas with Sid Luckman, ca. 1947.} From 1941 to 1954, the Bears did not wear a white jersey (for 15 years). {Here is a nice color photo from 1948, Bears v Cardinals.} In the early 1950s, the Bears began sporting their unique rounded-and-sans-serif numbers (as opposed to the block-shaped-and-serif numbers that were standard template for the rest of the NFL teams). And for a long time, like up to the early-1990s, the Bears were the only NFL team that had a significantly different font for the numbers on their jerseys {Bears 1958 uniform illustration by Heritage Sports} {Mike Ditka ca. 1962}. The Bears’ pointed-C- helmet-logo was introduced in 1962 (a white C); the orange-pointed-C-with-white-trim helmet-logo was introduced in 1973; midnight-blue facemasks were introduced in 1982.
Chicago Bears Helmet History
Image credits above –
{Chicago Bears’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

3. Green Bay Packers 1955: (6-6), QB: Tobin Rote.
{1955 Packers uniforms.}
The Green Bay Packers pre-date the NFL by one year, and started out in 1919, as the company-team of a central Wisconsin meat-packing concern called the Indian Packing Co. The semi-pro Packers turned pro 2 years later, joining the NFL in the league’s second season, in 1921. As you can see in the next link, {1921 Green Bay Packers}, the Packers did not originally have green in their uniforms. Why did the Packers wear navy-blue-and-gold originally? Probably in emulation of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football team, who of course, have always worn navy-blue-with-plain-gold-helmets, and who were, without any doubt, the most famous football team in the USA in the 1920s (and on). Here is what the Packers looked like when they were in the middle of their still-unprecedented 3-straight-title-wins of 1929/’30/’31 {1930 Packers.} The Packers first sported green in their color-scheme in 1935 {1935 Packers.} For a 23-year stretch (1934 to 1957), the Packers basically couldn’t decide whether to wear blue-and-gold or green-and-gold, switching between the two color-schemes 8 times…but they never wore navy-blue along with green on the same article of clothing (also sort of like the Notre Dame college football team, which only brings out the green gear once in a while, for big games). This latter part of this time period, from the late 1940s to the late 1950s – when the Packers had an identity-crisis in regards to their colors – also just happens to coincide with the Packers most futile years. When the Packers were in the middle of a basement-dwelling 7-season/23-wins-and-60-losses stretch (from 1948 to ’54), here is what they wore {1951 Packers.} Those green pants the Packers wore in 1951 look pretty bush-league. It got worse, as you can see in the following link…{1958 Packers.} White helmets for the Packers? Talk about erasing your brand-identity for no good reason! Oh, and by the way, the 1958 Packers, in that wishy-washy dark-greyish-green-and-white gear, had their worst season ever (1-10-1). Coincidence? I think not. But salvation was just around the corner, because Vince Lombardi arrived in Green Bay the next season, and he put the team in the uniforms-of-champions that we all associate with the Pack {1959 Packers.} Two season later the Packers’ football-shaped-G logo was introduced {1961 Packers/first season with football-shaped-G-logo}. And since then, the Green Bay Packers, the biggest community-owned pro sports team in the world, have not messed with their uniforms in any fundamental way…except for one small detail: in 1983, dark-green facemasks were introduced.
{Green Bay Packers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

4. Baltimore Colts 1955: (5-6-1), QB: George Shaw.
{1955 Colts uniforms.}
The Baltimore Colts of 1955 were a 3-year-old-expansion team. Circa 1955, the Colts still had not yet established themselves…both in terms of on-field success, or in terms of a visual identity. Their uniforms then did feature the soon-to-be iconic horseshoe-logo (although in reverse colors to what it later became). But the horsehoe logo circa 1954-56 was not prominently displayed – it was placed on the lower-back of each side of the helmet (behind the ears). It was as if the franchise was unsure of the logo, and was hiding it. I mean, why even bother having a helmet logo if you are going to place it on the lower-back part of the helmet, where it is hard to see? Well, the Colts finally realized this, and two seasons later, in 1957, they placed the horseshoe-logo, now much larger, front-and-center on the helmet. Also in 1957, the Colts introduced the uniform design that has been in use by the franchise ever since. This uniform design features jerseys that look simple but are rather brilliant: the jersey has two arced stripes on the shoulders, which mirror (in reverse) the arc of the horseshoe on the helmet. You don’t even have to notice that to notice how bold-yet-understated the Colts’ uniform-design looks. I mean, I spent over 40 years looking at Colts uniforms before I realized that their jersey-stripes mirrored the horsehoe’s shape on their helmet. (I finally realized that when I put together this Colts uniform-history-chart…, which is from this post from 2013.) Exactly one year after they introduced these built-to-last uniforms, and led by QB Johnny Unitas, the Baltimore Colts were NFL champions (in 1958 and 1959). In 1984, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indiana, as the Indianapolis Colts; they did not mess with their uniforms when they moved. In fact, there have been very few changes in the Colts’ uniforms in the 60 years since 1957 (and you can see them in the chart I made at the link in the previous sentence). But for all intents and purposes, the look the Colts established in 1957 remains to this day. Colts’ facemasks: white facemasks from 1978-94; blue facemasks from 1995-2003; grey facemasks re-instated since 2004. Some might say the Colts uniforms are boring. I say they look like champions.
{Indianapolis Colts’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

5. San Francisco 49ers 1955: (4-8), QB: YA Tittle.
{1955 49ers uniforms.}
Like the Browns, the 49ers were an AAFC team before they joined the NFL in 1950. The San Francisco 49ers changed their helmet-color 9 times before they finally settled on the gold helmets that all NFL fans know. It seems obvious that a gridiron football team named after a gold rush would wear gold helmets, and the Niners actually did wear gold (leather) helmets in their second season {1947 49ers}. But in their early days, the 49ers wore helmets that were usually white {1946}, or red {1954}, or silver {1962}. That last link shows the first year the 49ers had a helmet-logo {again, 1962}. That lasted two seasons, then the 49ers finally went with gold helmets in 1964 {in 1964 49ers}. So in 1964, the 49ers trademark look was introduced…a gold helmet with grey facemasks and with the plain-but-dignified football-shaped-SF-logo and with red-white-red center-stripes, and a jersey with 3 stripes on the upper-arms that had no gold in it at all, and with gold pants. That classic uniform-design was used for 32 years. The helmet-logo got a black oval outline in 1996 {1996 49ers}. But in 1996, the 49ers changed a whole lot more as well, and, in my opinion, the changes were not for the better…the helmet got center-stripes of black-red-black, plus they made the facemasks deep-red. And they also messed with their jerseys and pants in 1996: to a garish look with drop-shadow numbers in gold and black. Now, I know the Niners had worn drop-shadow numbers before (in 1955 and ’56, as a matter of fact), but after they had worn their classic gear for over 3 decades, it just didn’t work. The additions really ruined the 49ers’ look in this time period. The red facemasks and the loud jerseys made them look like an arena football league team. It also broke their visual link to their championship-glory-days. The lack of gold pants for the 49ers only existed for 2 seasons (1996 and ’97), but those tacky jerseys lasted another 11 years. Then the 49ers wisely went back to their classic look in 2009 {2009 49ers}. I guess you could say less is more. And grey facemasks always look better.
{San Francisco 49ers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

6. Detroit Lions 1955: (3-9), QB: Bobby Layne (also, Harry Gilmer).
{1955 Lions uniforms.}
The Detroit Lions started out as the southern-Ohio-based Portsmouth Spartans, who wore purple-and-gold and were one of the last vestiges of the small-town-era of the early NFL (the Green Bay Packers of course being the last vestige of small-town NFL teams). {1932 Portsmouth Spartans.} After 4 NFL seasons (1930-33), and just missing out on the 1932 NFL title, the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit as the Lions, and switched to their now trademark “Honolulu Blue” and Silver. In their second season in Detroit, the Lions won the 1935 NFL title {1935 Lions uniforms}, then stayed competetive on into the late 1930s, but were basement-dwellers through most of the 1940s. But the 1950s were the glory days of the Detroit Lions. The Lions have a modern history of failure, but in the 1950s, led by QB Bobby Layne, the Lions won 3 NFL titles (1952, ’53, ’57), beating the Browns all three times in the title games. Even so, several seasons in the 1950s saw the Lions with 3-or-4-win seasons, and 1955 was one of those seasons. The odd thing about the 1950s Lions was that for a while, the team ended up having gold helmets (and not their customary silver helmets). This happened in 1953 (and the Lions won their second NFL title that year) {1953 Lions}. Not only was the entire Lions squad in 1953 wearing gold helmets, but there is photographic evidence that as late as 3 seasons later (1956), some players on the Lions were still wearing a gold helmet, instead of a silver helmet (see link 5 sentences below for that photo, and an article). How the helmet turned gold probably wasn’t intentional (initially), and can be attributed to the fact that circa 1953, the plastic-shell helmets were still new, and processes for turning the blank helmets into an NFL team’s colors had not been perfected (the process back then involved spray-painting the insides of the clear-plastic-shell helmets). The Lions’ gold helmets of the 1953-56 era was the unintended result of a helmet-painting process where the paint turned from a silver color to a definite gold color (and then the paint degraded further, so that all the Lions 1953 helmets now show green splotches where a copper-colored pigment in the helmet paint turned green {1953 Bobby Layne game-worn helmet}. And then in the following seasons some Lions players opted to keep wearing their 1953-issue (gold) helmet, while the rest of the Lions squad were wearing newly issued ’54 and ’55 silver helmets. The following article at the Gridiron Uniform Database Blog goes very deep into this {…“Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold…” by Bill Schaefer from November 2013 at} The Lions introduced their rampant-blue-lion logo in 1961, on a helmet with blue-silver-blue center-stripes {1961 Lions}; the silver center-stripe turned white in 1968 (and was augmented by thin black stripes in 2009). Blue facemasks were worn from 1984-2002. Black facemasks were worn from 2003-16. The rampant-lion was given detail in 2009. Grey facemasks were re-introduced in 2017, when the Lions went back to a just-silver-and-blue helmet (good move) {2017 Lions helmet}.
{Detroit Lions’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}
Thanks to all at the following links…
-1953 NFL [Illustrations of 1953 NFL teams' uniforms] (
-Blank maps… USA,
Section of Mexico, and coastlines-&-oceans,
Otto Graham photos: color photo unattributed at; shot of Graham scoring TD in 1955 NFL Championship Game, photo by AP at
-NFL 1955 stats leaders photos: Alan Ameche [photo from 1955 (v 49ers)], photo by Frank Rippon/NFL at Pete Pihos of Philadelphia Eagles [photo from circa 1948 (v Rams)], photo by AP via Otto Graham photo [from 1954 (v Eagles)], photo unattributed at
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

November 18, 2015

NFL, 1988 season: map with helmets./+ an illustration for Super Bowl XXIII [23] champions the San Francisco 49ers./+ top-3-leaders in 1988 Offensive stats (QB Rating, Rushing Yds, Receiving Yds)/+ a brief history of the oldest team in the NFL – the Cardinals (who moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1988).

Filed under: NFL>1988 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 8:00 pm

NFL, 1988 season: map with helmets

    NFL, 1988…

By Bill Turianski on 18 November 2015;

The 1988 NFL season & Super Bowl XXIII (23)…
-NFL 1988 standings, etc, here, 1988 NFL_season/Final standings (
The NFL was coming off a 1987 season which saw a 24-day player-strike that shortened the season by one game [to 15 games]. Reigning champions in 1988 were Washington.

The biggest change in the NFL in 1988 was, of course, the franchise shift that saw the NFL’s oldest team – the Cardinals – move from St. Louis, Missouri to Greater Phoenix, Arizona {see the short article at the foot of this post}. The Cardinals remained in the [NFC] East Division (finishing 7-9). (The Cardinals became part of the re-vamped NFC West in 2002.)

The playoff races in the NFL in 1988 were very tight in several divisions, with a 3-way/10-6 tie for first place in the NFC West going to the San Francisco 49ers, via the tiebreakers; and with a 2-way/10-6 tie for first place in the NFC East going to the Philadelphia Eagles, also via the tiebreakers. (The New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants both went 10-6, yet failed to make it to the postseason.) And in the AFC West, the Seattle Seahawks won their last 2 games to eke out a divisional title (by going 9-7). To round out the playoff teams, in the AFC, along with Seattle, it was Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland (wild-card), and Houston (wild-card). In the NFC, along with San Francisco and Philly, it was Chicago, Minnesota (wild-card), and the LA Rams (wild-card).

Cincinnati and Buffalo shared the best record in the AFC at 12-4, and the two would meet in the AFC Championship game, with QB (and 1988 NFL MVP) Boomer Esiason leading the Bengals over Jim Kelly’s Bills, 21-10. In the NFC, the Bears had the best record at 12-4, with their divisional rival the Minnesota Vikings posting the second-best record in the conference as an 11-5 wild-card team. In the NFC Championship game, the Bears fell 28-3 to the 49ers. San Francisco (who went 10-6) were led on offense by then-10-year-veteran Joe Montana (QB, and 2000 HoF inductee), third-year WR Jerry Rice (a 2010 HoF inductee), and then-6-year-veteran and 1988 Offensive Player of the Year-winner Roger Craig (RB). And the 49ers featured an effective-yet-actually-only-8th-best defense, spearheaded by DE/LB Charles Haley (in his third year then, and a 2015 HoF inductee) and DB Ronnie Lott (a then-8th-year-veteran, and a 2000 HoF inductee).

Head coach Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers might only have had the 8th-best Defense in 1988, and the Niners might have only had the 7th-best Offense in ’88, but their championship caliber was quite evident when they coasted through the playoffs (beating the Vikes 34-9, and then the Bears 28-3). So in Super Bowl XXIII (23), in Miami, on January 22, 1989, San Francisco faced Cincinnati, in a re-match of Super Bowl XVI, which had been played seven years earlier in 1982. Once again, San Francisco beat the Bengals, this time by the score of 20-16. Here is an excerpt from Super Bowl XXIII (…”The game is best remembered for the 49ers’ fourth-quarter game-winning drive. Down 16–13, San Francisco got the ball on their own eight-yard line with 3:10 on the clock and marched 92 yards down the field in under three minutes. They then scored the winning touchdown on a Joe Montana pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game.”

Super Bowl XXIII (23): San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16…
Photo and Image credits above -
Jerry Rice, one-handed-grab from 1st quarter, photo by Lennox McLendon/AP via Roger Craig with 40-yard gain to start 4th quarter, photo by Getty Images via Montana in the pocket, set to throw in the 4th quarter on the 92-yard game-winning drive, photo by Richard Mackson/SI via John Taylor catching the winning pass with 34 seconds left, photo unattributed at Bill Walsh being carried off the field by players, photo by AP via Walsh: Noviembre 30, 1931 – Julio 30, 2007. Joe Montana, photo by Focus On Sports/Getty Images via

This was the 49ers’ 3rd Super Bowl title
This was the 49ers’ 3rd Super Bowl title. Bill Walsh retired after the win, and the pioneering offensive strategist (the father of the West Coast Offense) was inducted into the Pro Football HoF in 1993. Under new head coach George Seifert, the Niners would repeat as champions the following season [1989]. The 49ers currently [2015] have won 5 Super Bowl titles, which is second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 6 Super Bowl titles, and puts them tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the second-most Super Bowl titles {see this, List of Super Bowl champions/Super Bowl appearances by team (

1988 NFL Offensive Leaders (Regular season, top 3 of: QB Rating, Rushing-Yards, Receiving-Yards)…
[Note: you can click on image below to see it in a separate page.]
Photo and Image credits above -
Boomer Esiason (Cincinnati), photo unattributed at; Dave Krieg (Seattle), photo unattributed at; Wade Wilson (Minnesota), photo by USA Today via
Eric Dickerson (Indianapolis), photo by USA Today via; Herschel Walker (Dallas), photo unattributed at; Roger Craig (San Francisco), photo by George Rose/Getty Image via
Henry Ellard, photo by USA Today via Jerry Rice, photo unattributed at; Eddie Brown (Cincinnati), photo by USA Today via

A brief history of the oldest team in the NFL – the Cardinals, who moved to Arizona in 1988…
The Cardinals (est. 1918 as the Racine Cardinals [of Racine Street in Chicago]), were a founding member of the NFL [APFA] in 1920, when they were located on the South Side of Chicago. A year later, in 1921, Chicago had another pro football team, with the arrival of the Decatur Staleys/Chicago Staleys/Chicago Bears’ franchise (who played on the North Side of Chicago at Wrigley Field). This permanently hobbled the Cardinals. The presence of the Bears in the Windy City ensured that the under-capitalized and poorer-half-of-Chicago-based Cardinals were always playing second fiddle, with a fraction of the media attention and eventually a fraction of the fan support that the Bears enjoyed. It sure didn’t help that the Staleys [Bears], upon arrival in Chicago, were winners…the Chicago Staleys were voted the 1921 APFA title-winners [the title was disputed by the Buffalo All-Americans, who were tied with the Chicago Staleys in the 1921 APFA final standings, and should have been voted co-champions/ see this, 1921 NFL Championship controversy (].

Meanwhile, the Cardinals were a competitive team in the 1920s, but were a basement-dweller all through the 1930s, and in fact through most of their 40 years in Chicago. In the pre-Super Bowl era of the NFL (1920-65), the Cardinals were the second worst of any team [formed before 1960], with one disputed title (in 1925/ title disputed by the Pottsville Maroons), and one outright title (in 1947, over the Philadelphia Eagles). Back in the first 46 years of the NFL, only the then-title-less Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers were a worse NFL team than the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals.

By the late 1950s, it was inevitable that the Chicago Cardinals would have to move the franchise to survive, and after “trying out” Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota as a potential franchise-site in 1959 (when they played their last two home games in Bloomington, MN [at the future home of the Minnesota Vikings and the MLB's Twins]), the Cardinals franchise moved to St. Louis in 1960. The NFL was actually very satisfied with this franchise-shift, and only too happy to see the Cardinals leave Chicago, because it helped block the brand-new rival-league the AFL (of 1960-69) from trying to place a team in St. Louis.

Right upon moving to St. Louis, the Cardinals debuted their stunning white-with-large-frowning-Cardinal-head helmet {see illustrations below; also see this, 1960 St. Louis Cardinals [helmets & uniforms] (}. In their 28 years in St. Louis, the St. Louis football Cardinals played at the same venues as the St. Louis baseball Cardinals – first in Sportsman’s Park, then, from 1966 to 1987 at the multi-purpose concrete doughnut that was Busch Memorial Stadium (II). Under the 15-year-long leadership of QB Jim Hart, and later in the mid-1970s, led by the innovative offensive tactician and head coach Don Coryell, the St. Louis football Cardinals were often a very competitive team, with three 9-win seasons in the mid-1960s, and three 10-or-11-win-seasons in the mid-1970s. But they either folded in the playoffs, or just came short of qualifying for the playoffs. The St. Louis football Cardinals were hampered by playing in very tough divisions (stuck with the NY Giants and Cleveland and Philadelphia in the 1960s, and stuck with Dallas and Washington in the 1970s). The Cardinals failed to make the playoffs despite posting a winning percentage above .600 on six different occasions (in 1963, in 1964, in 1966, in 1968, in 1970, and in 1976). The Cards did make the playoffs in 1974 and ’75, losing in the first round both times.

The Cardinals’ stadium situation deteriorated as the 1980s wore on, and when it became obvious that there was no solution in sight and that the city of St. Louis was refusing to build or co-fund a stadium for the football team, the owners – the Bidwill family – decided it was time to move on again. In Chicago, the Cardinals were ignored because of the Bears; in St. Louis, despite a solid-and-fervent-fanbase, they wore out their welcome. Attendance was dwindling, but that was perhaps thanks to the team perpetually coming up short, and because of the rightfully-enduring popularity of the baseball Cardinals. But it also was because of the fact that the essentially-absentee-owner Bill Bidwill did various things which resulted in alienating much of the fanbase. The team was continually at the bottom of the payroll scale in the league, and the Bidwill family acted like aloof lords who refused to deign the fan-base-rabble with so much as an acknowledgement-of-their-existence. That would not change in the early days of the franchise’s tenure in Phoenix, where Bidwill price-gouged NFL-starved Arizonans, with league-high ticket prices. In 1988 and into the early 1990s, the Phoenix Cardinals under the Bidwill family were charging the highest average-ticket price in the NFL, for an inferior product, in a bad venue. (It was supposed to be a temporary situation at Sun Devil Stadium for the Cardinals, but the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late 1980s derailed any progress on a new venue, and the team was stuck playing in that decrepit stadium for 18 years.)

[Below, old-content-disclaimer: the images below first appeared here, NFL, NFC West: map, with brief team and league history, and titles list.]
Arizona Cardinals Helmet History -
Arizona Cardinals Helmet History
Image credits above –

Above: Helmet illustrations and shoulder patch illustration from:

The Cardinals in the state of Arizona have actually never played in the city of Phoenix – for their first 18 seasons (1988 to 2005), the Phoenix Cardinals played in nearby Tempe, AZ at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium. (Tempe, AZ is adjacent to, and is just east of, Phoenix.) The Cardinals changed their name to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. Then in 2006, they moved to another suburb [9 miles NW of downtown Phoenix] – Glendale, AZ, and into the futuristic movable-roofed University of Phoenix Stadium (cap. 68,000-to-78,000), which was site of Super Bowl XLIX (49) in Feb. 2015. The best season the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals have had was in 2008, when, led by an aging-but-still-effective QB Kurt Warmer and by WR Larry Fitzgerald, the 9-7 Cards caught fire in the playoffs and secured the franchises’ first trip to the Super Bowl. But in Super Bowl XLIII (43) on Feb.1 2009, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, the Cardinals came just short of glory, in a thrilling 27-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thanks to Wapcaplet & Angr, for the blank map of USA, at File:Map of USA without state names.svg (
Thanks to the now-defunct, aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations on the 1988 map; some helmet illustrations I found at each team’s page at… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to MG’s Helmets, for the helmet illustrations of the 2 Super Bowl teams (Cincinnati & San Francisco).
Thanks to, at 1988 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards.
Thanks to Gridiron Uniform Database, for allowing use of their NFL uniforms illustrations.
Thanks to the contributors at 1988 NFL season (

October 21, 2014

NFL, AFC West – Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers)./ Origins of nicknames./ Stadiums./ Title-winning teams.

Filed under: NFL>AFC West,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 5:29 pm

    Denver Broncos logos and helmet history (1960-2014), click on image below…

Denver Broncos logos and helmet history (1960-2014)
Broncos helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Broncos uniforms png by fma12, Photo of Broncos’ authentic Riddell helmet, from

From May 2009, from the boards at Denver Broncos’ website, uploaded by White Dragon, ‘COMPLETE Denver Broncos Helmet History [1960-2009]‘ (

Origin of Broncos nickname…
A “bronco” is an unbroken or untamed horse, and it is a reference to Denver’s Wild West heritage. The Bronocos nickname came about by being the winning entry of a name-the-new-team contest that the new Denver AFL franchise had in early 1960. The winner (out of only 162 entries) was by Ward M. Vining. There was a previous pro team in Denver with the same name – an Independent minor league baseball club in the 1920s named the Denver Broncos. This makes the name even more fitting because the founder and first owner of the Denver Broncos AFL franchise was Bob Howsam, who was back then also co-owner of the old Triple-A team minor league ball club, the Denver Bears (the Denver Bears were owned by the Howsam family [Bob, his brother Earl, and his father Lee], from 1947-62). The Denver-born-and-raised Bob Howsam’s dream was to bring Major League Baseball to Denver (Howsam also later made his mark as GM of the Cincinnati Reds during their Big Red Machine era of the 1970s). [It took over 3 decades but in the end, Howsam later helped bring the dream of big league ball to the Mile High City when in retirement, he served on the Colorado Baseball Commission, which was successful in bringing about the Colorado Rockies, an MLB expansion team in 1993.]

    Stadiums the Denver Broncos have played in…

1959: an over-expanded minor league baseball stadium in Denver needs a new tenant…
The aforementioned Denver Bears minor league ball club, in 1959, were playing in a ballpark far too big for even the top tier of the minor leagues (it had been recently expanded to 23,000 and was in the process of being expanded yet again to 34,000, which is about double the size of what a Triple-A ball club could reasonably have as a stadium-capacity). This happened because Bears GM/co-owner Bob Howsam, who had led the stadium-expansion-move, had tried to get Denver a team in the never-realized Continental Baseball League, which was an attempt to create a third, rival, Major league in baseball. It never happened because MLB outmaneuvered the Continental League’s organizers by expanding from 16 to 20 teams and placing new franchises in 3 of the primary places the failed-Continental League had targeted (New York City [new franchise with Mets in 1962], Houston [new franchise with Colt 45s/Astros in 1962], and Minneapolis/St. Paul [dual-MLB-franchise shift with Washington Senators (I) moving north to Minnesota to become the Minnesota Twins & new MLB franchise in Washington, DC as Washington Senators (II) [side-note: the fourth expansion team in MLB circa 1961-62 was the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels in 1961]).

So the Denver Bears were saddled with a heavy debt from the re-build, and Howsam knew another team was needed for the venue or it would become a White Elephant and drag down his Denver Bears and his dream of Major League Baseball in Denver with it. A few years earlier (circa 1958), Howsam had already tried to buy the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals and move them to Denver. There were three others who also had, in the late 1950s, tried to buy-and-move the struggling Chicago Cardinals to their cities. They were Lamar Hunt (of Dallas), Bud Adams (of Houston), and Max Winter (of Minneapolis/St. Paul). Howsam would go on to become a founding owner of an AFL team in Denver in 1960, along with AFL creator Hunt (the leagues’ founder and founder/first owner of the Dallas Texans (II)/Kansas City Chiefs franchise) and Adams (who was the founder/first-owner of the Houston Oilers/Tenessee Titans franchise). [Winter would go on to be co-founder/first-co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings NFL franchise in 1961.] But, possibly aside from the Oakland AFL franchise, Howsam’s Denver Broncos franchise was the most under-financed in the new rival league in 1960. The penny-pinching ways of the early Denver Broncos became legendary (see illustration further below, and see the colors and logos section further below). Mounting debt forced Howsam to sell the Broncos in early 1961. He sold the Broncos to a consortium that had Gerald Phipps as the main shareholder [Phipps was owner of the Broncos from 1961-81]).

Bears Stadium/Mile High Stadium, home of the AFL’s Denver Broncos from 1968-69 & home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos from 1970-2000…
The Howsams constructed Bears Stadium in 1947-48 on a rat-infested area west of downtown Denver, on the site of an old city dump. The Denver Bears, who were then in the Class-A Western League (IV), began play there in August, 1948 (and played there for 45 years [later changing their name to the Denver Zephyrs] until they vacated Denver to make way for MLB’s Colorado Rockies and moved after the 1992 season to New Orleans as the still-in-existence New Orleans Zephyrs).

Bears Stadium, upon opening in August 1948 had a 17,000-capacity and was a single V-shaped bleacher stand built into the side of an existing hill there. In the illustration below, you can see how Bears Stadium looked in 1954 (the last year the Denver Bears were a Class A team; they moved a couple steps up the minor-league-ladder the following season in 1955 when they joined the Triple-A American Association). Circa 1957-59, when Bob Howsam tried to get a big-league-ball-club in the Continental League, capacity was increased to 23,000 (and the intention was to continue the expansion). When the Continental League never came to be, Howsam turned his attention to finding another tenant besides his Bears for the debt-laden stadium, and once the AFL franchise for Denver was secured by Howsam in the summer of 1959, the stadium expansion continued. The Denver Bears’ ballpark (the venue that would later be known as Mile High Stadium), was expanded to 34,000 prior to the Broncos’ AFL home debut in September, 1960. In 1968, after the stadium was bought by the City of Denver (from the second owner of the Broncos, Gerald Phipps), capacity had been expanded to 50,000 with the installation of the South Stand.

Below: an illustration featuring photos of Broncos’ Stadiums (and the precursor-stadium), and some of the more interesting gear worn by the team… denver_bears_denver-broncos_1960_brown-and-yellow_bears-stadium1954_mile-high-stadium1965_mile-high2001_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Black and white aerial photo of Bears Stadium 1954, by Denver Bears logo ca. 1955, from Photo of Denver Bears’ exterior-stadium-sign circa late 1950s, by Lynn DeBruin at Denver’s own Field of Dreams [at]. Color photo of Broncos versus Oilers from 1960, unattributed at Black-and-white photo of Mile High Stadium circa mid-1960s, unattributed at Illustration of Broncos’ dreaded brown-and-yellow-vertically-striped socks from Broncos helmet and jersey illustrations from White Horse sculpture at Mile High, photo unattributed at Aerial photo of Mile High Stadium’s last game on Dec. 23, 2000, photo by Phil Cherner at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, photo by

The Denver Broncos, initially saddled with the crushing debt that forced Howsam to sell the team in early 1961 after one season, never got their footing in the AFL, and never made the playoffs (nor had a winning season) in the AFL’s 10 seasons, and finished 39–97–4 in the league. Attendance was understandably poor for the first few seasons. The Broncos drew only 13,047 in 1960 when they finished 4-9-1; and they drew even worse the next year in 1961 at just 10,644 per game, when they finished 3-11. In 1962, new head coach Jack Faulkner helped improve the team, and improve the struggling team’s fan base, when the Broncos went 7-7 and drew 25,498 per game. And even though the Broncos got bad again the next few seasons, and even though attendance fell below 20K per game for a couple years, by 1965 the Broncos were drawing above 30K per game. And when the city of Denver bought Bears Stadium and renamed it Mile High Stadium in 1968 (and began another stadium expansion to 50,000), the Broncos surpassed the 40K per game mark…and their attendance has been healthy ever since. {source of AFL attendance figures (1960-69): THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE – ATTENDANCE, 1960-69, by Bob Carroll at Corner Vol. 13, No. 4 (1991) [pdf]}.

And when the Broncos joined the NFL in 1970, as part of the AFL/NFL merger, the Broncs sold out every game that season. With the exception of the replacement-players games in 1987, every Denver Broncos home game in the NFL (1970-86; 1988-present) has been sold out (!).

So, basically, the Broncos developed a strong fan-base despite the fact that the Broncos never had a winning season until 1973. In fact, the Broncos never made it to the playoffs until their run in the 1977 NFL season, when, coached by Red Miller, led by aging QB Craig Morton [1977 Comeback Player of the Year], bolstered by their Orange Crush defense, and spurred on by their loud and raucous fans at Mile High Stadium, the 12-2 Broncos went all the way to Super Bowl XII [12] in January 1978, losing to the Cowboys 27-10.

Another expansion took place at Mile High Stadium from 1975–1977. This raised the capacity to 75,000. The main component of this expansion was a movable, triple-decked stands along the east side, which when fully retracted toward the field, formed a horseshoe for Broncos’ home games. For Bears’ baseball games, the new movable stands were fully extended by 145 feet, so that the stadium could still fit a normal-sized baseball field.

Mile High – opened 2001 (a stadium originally called Invesco Field at Mile High; now called Sports Authority Field at Mile High)…
The Broncos played in Mile High Stadium until 2000. By the late 1990s it was becoming obvious that the stadium was outmoded, and so plans for a new stadium began. The stadium was to be paid for primarily by a sales tax scheme in the 7-county Greater Denver region (in the 1998-2011 time period), and that tax scheme expired when both the new football stadium for the Broncos, and the new baseball stadium for the expansion MLB team the Rockies, were all paid for (the sales tax to fund the stadiums expired on Dec. 31, 2011). Here is an article on that rather efficient-and-not-too-onerous tax scheme that got Denver 2 new major league sports stadiums, Tax off books, but not registers ( article by Chuck Murphy from Jan. 27, 2012). The new Mile High opened on September 10, 2001. Its capacity is 76,425 for football. It is owned and operated by the Denver Metropolitan Football Stadium District.

    1997-98 Denver Broncos: back-to-back Super Bowl champions…

Broncos end AFC’s 13-year title drought…
{Note: see this list for reference for the following two paragraphs: Super Bowl Championship (1966–present) (}
The AFC’s 16 members include all 10 AFL franchises that merged with the NFL in 1970. The AFL won two of its four games ever played against the NFL (Super Bowls I-IV). Then the AFL’s evolution into the American Football Conference saw that entity dominate the early years after the AFL/NFL merger (1970-80 seasons), winning 9 of first 11 Super Bowl titles after the merger. Because the following two teams came over from the pre-merger NFL to the new AFC in 1970, when you subtract the Baltimore Colts’ Super Bowl title in the 1970 NFL season and the Steelers’ four Super Bowl titles (1974-75 seasons; 1979-80 seasons), the fact of the matter is that teams that originated in the AFL went 6-wins-and-4-losses in the first 15 Super Bowl match-ups (Jets win in the 1968 season, Chiefs in ’69, Dolphins in ’71 & ’72, Raiders in ’76 & ’80). When you look at it that way it is plain to see that history shows that the AFL had become on par with the NFL by the time of the merger, and a decade later its teams were still the equal-or-better of the old-guard NFL.

But then the old-guard-NFL reasserted itself in the 1980s and into the mid-1990s. The older teams became predominant, and non-AFL teams [all formed before 1961] won 15 of the next 16 Super Bowl titles from the 1981 season to the 1996 season (16 years with 6 teams from the NFC as champions with one exception – the Los Angeles Raiders winning the Super Bowl in the 1983 season). Going into Super Bowl XXXII [32] (on January 25, 1998), the AFC had not won a Super Bowl title in 13 seasons (the 1984 to 1996 seasons). The Denver Broncos changed that. With an aging but still effective John Elway at QB, and with RB Terrell Davis and WR Shannon Sharpe spearheading the offense, coach Mike Shanahan’s Broncos beat the reigning champs the Green Bay Packers 31-24, in a thrilling Super Bowl match-up in January 1998 (Super Bowl XXXII [32]). Then the Broncos repeated by beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 (in Super Bowl XXXIII [33]). The tide had turned in the old and still relevant AFL-NFL rivalry, and normal service was restored, so to speak. Since 1997 and up to 2014 it has been: AFC with 10 Super Bowl titles and the NFC with 7 Super Bowl titles.
Photo and Image credits above -
Broncos 1997-98 helmet, illustration by Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of Terrell Davis by Sports Illustrated at Broncos players jubilant after Super Bowl 32 victory, photo unattributed at this thread at reddit.con/r/football: 200 Days/200 Topics: Day 57: What single NFL photo hurts you the most emotionally? [Serious].
John Elway photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty via Mike Shanahan and John Elway following Super Bowl 33 win, photo by John Leyba/Denver Post at

    Colors and helmet logos of the Broncos…

Though the Denver Bears Triple-A ball club was wearing navy-and-red by the late 1960s, at one point in the history of the Denver Bears, the team (owned by Bob Howsam, who was of course the Denver Broncos first owner) was wearing brown (with red/orange) as its primary color {see this} [circa late 1940s/early 1950s]; at another point they were wearing gold-and-brown {see this Don Larsen throwback jersey at e.bay}. This photo shows an old Denver Bears pennant and a sign from Bears Stadium circa early-or-mid-1950s – both have brown in them. So what I am saying is that Bob Howsam had a history of using brown (and gold) in his team’s colors. This all might be a coincidence. The fact is that Howsam had his new Broncos organization on a rock-bottom low budget circa 1959-60, and the Broncos first GM Dean Griffing, a legendary tightwad perfectly happy to keep to the strict low budget, bought second-hand (probably third-hand) uniforms from a defunct college tournament in Tucson, AZ (the Copper Bowl). The uniforms featured a brown helmet (the player’s number on each side in white), a darkish-yellow jersey with brown numbers, shiny brown pants, and yellow-and-brown vertically-striped socks. The gear would have looked ridiculous anyway, but those socks made the whole team look comical – like a bunch of court jesters. The other thing was that the Broncos in 1960 only had to buy one set of uniforms, because the yellow jerseys could function as home darks or away whites and would not clash with any of the other AFL teams’ dark or white jerseys. Then Howsam sold the team to Gerald Phipps in 1961. Then in the summer of 1962 new coach Jack Faulkner had the team burn the vertically-striped socks in a bonfire ceremony following a training session at Bears Stadium…there were 8,377 Broncos fans in attendance for the immolation of the socks (a couple were saved for HoF posterity).

{For more on the brown-and-yellow Broncos uniforms of 1960-61, see this excellent article from EndZoneSportsCharity’s Denver Broncos Uniform History 1st GENERATION: 1960 – 1961.}

1962-64 – Pale Orange with White and Blue trim (with goofy-bronco logo)…
The Broncos switched to orange and blue first in 1962 (their third season), but there was very little blue (royal blue) in their gear in the ’62 to ’64 era. The pale orange helmets featured a cartoon-like bucking bronco (with giant lantern jaw making the horse look developmentally disabled). At first the goofy bronco logo was in royal blue (some games in ’62), but that was switched to a more-visible white later on in ’62 through ’64. From the Gridiron Uniform Database, {here are the Denver Broncos 1963-64 uniforms}.

1965-73 – Red-Orange with Royal Blue (goofy-bronco logo to blank blue helmet [1967], to red/orange-D-with-white-rampant-bronco logo on blue helmet)…
Then the Broncos switched their primary color to a sort of pastel red-orange – a color that is pretty unique in major-leagues sports history. That red-orange was paired with a grayish royal blue (Prussian Blue) {Broncos 1966 uniforms}. They finally got rid of the undignified goofy-bronco logo, and the Broncos organization must have figured a blank helmet was better than that (in 1967). In 1968, the once-iconic red/orange-D-with-white-rampant-bronco logo had its debut (see it here (photo from}. That D-with-the-white-bronco logo lasted from 1968 all the way to 1996. They should bring it back. Here is an excerpt from the Denver Broncos page at,…”The logo was designed by Edwin Guy Taylor of Denver. A contest was held through Public Service of Denver to come up with a new logo for the team. Mr. Taylor’s submission was selected late in 1967 and adopted [in 1968].”…{excerpt from}.

1974-96 - Orange and royal blue (with iconic orange-D-with-white-rampant-bronco logo on blue helmet)…
In 1974, the red-orange switched to a standard orange (well, maybe an orange that had a touch of burnt orange in it). The next link shows the Broncos uniforms the only year they had the orange (and not red-orange) D in their helmet and a grey facemask {Broncos 1974: a classic look; please bring it back, Denver}. {Here} is what the Broncos wore in their first Super Bowl appearance in 1978.

1997-2014: Navy-Blue and Orange (with stylized-bronco-head logo [aka Cyber Horse], and tapered-orange-center-stripe on navy blue helmet)…
Navy blue replaced orange (or red-orange) as the primary color. The cyber-horse logo, designed by Nike, is an elongated-white-bronco-head-with-streaming-orange-mane. It looks pretty juvenile, the sort of thing an 8-year-old would think is cool. The uniforms were initially savaged in the Denver press (lots of fans did not like it as well…at first). However, it cannot be denied that the first season that the Denver Broncos wore their totally revised uniforms of very dark blue and orange with elongated-bronco-head helmet-logo {Broncos 1997}, they went all the way and finally won their first Super Bowl…then they repeated the next season. I think that success right off the bat with this uniform design is why the team still wears this style uniform and logo 18 years later, unlike teams such as the Giants and the Jets and the 49ers and the Bills (and Chargers), who have all gone back to updated versions of older and better uniforms and logos in the last few years.

    Kansas City Chiefs – logos and helmet history (1960-2014), click on image below…

Kansas City Chiefs – logos and helmet history (1960-2014)
Texans/Chiefs helmet illustrations above from Chiefs uniforms.png by fma12, Photo of Chiefs 2012-13 Riddell helmet from Dallas Texans’ 1960-62 wordmark logo from Photo of Chiefs’ circa 1970s wordmark logo from

Origin of Chiefs nickname…
Upon moving his AFL franchise the Dallas Texans to Kansas City, Missouri in 1963, oil-fortune-heir Lamar Hunt was faced with the quandary of having to re-name his franchise. But actually, as hard as it is to believe, Hunt (at first) wanted to keep the nickname and call the team the Kansas City Texans. It took his right-hand-man, Jack Steadman (who was the Texans/Chiefs GM and vice president of operations), to convince Hunt otherwise. The mayor of Kansas City then, H. Roe Bartle, who was very instrumental in the city being able to lure the AFL franchise away from Dallas, was nicknamed “the Chief” (from his days as a Scout Executive of the St. Joseph and Kansas City Boy Scout Councils 35 years previously when he formed a Native Tribes honor society within the Boy Scouts called The Tribe of Mic-O-Say).

The Chiefs became the winning entry (but not the most popular entry by far) into the local name-the-new-team contest that Hunt had organized. The most popular of the 4,866 entries (with 1,020 different names being suggested) were for the nicknames the “Mules” and the “Royals.” “Chiefs”, suggested by 42 entries, was third-most-selected in the naming contest; nevertheless Hunt selected Chiefs as the football team’s new nickname. At other sources (like here) it is said Hunt re-named the team the Chiefs in honor of the large number of Native Americans who (past and present) had called the region of western Missouri and the Great Plains their home. At that is technically true. And that notion is re-enforced by the first primary logo of the new Chiefs franchise {see it by clicking on the on the image above or here}.

But the Chiefs are also named after the nickname of that former Kansas City mayor, H. Roe Bartle who helped get the team to KC and who made good on his promise to Lamar Hunt that Kansas City would have a vast season-ticket paying fan-base there even before the team’s arrival. And this was swiftly accomplished, as in a short span of time (8 weeks) in early 1963, over 20,000 season season tickets were sold to pro-football starved fans in and around Kansas City – before the franchise had even moved out of Dallas, and before the folks who forked over cash for the season tickets even knew exactly which pro team the city was getting. As it said in the timeline/1963 section of the official Kansas City Chiefs website, “the team was officially christened the Chiefs on May 26th, in part to honor the efforts of Bartle.” {excerpt from [dead link/ now available via Wayback Machine at }.

For more on this, see the following article at SBnation, How the Kansas City Chiefs Got Their Name (article by oldchiefsfan from May 18 2009). In the comments section there, 2 commenters who were proud childhood members of the Boy Scouts' Tribe of Mic-O-Say weigh in: jbj8609 says ..."My father and I are both members of MOS (in St. Joseph, MO, not the KC one), and I can confirm this to be 100% accurate. My dad has been “Tribal Historian” here for several years now and used to tell me this story many times. Always thought it was very cool"; bankmeister says..."I’m also a Mic-O-Say member with five consecutive years at Bartle, plus my mom has lived off of Roe Avenue for 25 years. H. Roe and the Chiefs mean a lot to me." {end of excerpts.} The Kansas City Chiefs is a great name that honors Native Americans. Unlike the racist name of another NFL team.

    Stadiums the Dallas Texans (II)/Kansas City Chiefs franchise have played in...

Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas (home of the Dallas Texans (II) from 1960-62)...
The Cotton Bowl began as Fair Park, a stadium built on the site of the Texas State Fair grounds, in 1930. Cut-and-fill construction was employed to build up berms for the stands, and this lowered the playing surface twenty-four feet below the original ground level. The stadium initially held 45,000 spectators; in 1936, the name was officially changed to the Cotton Bowl. The following year, 1937, the Cotton Bowl Classic college football Bowl game began being played there. But it wasn't a popularly-attended Bowl game until a partnership was created with the Southwest Conference starting in 1941 (and the Texas A&M versus Fordham game in '41 was the first Cotton Bowl Classic that was played to a sell-out crowd). By 1950 and through the 1960s, the Cotton Bowl could hold 75,000 (it has a 90,000-capacity now). The primary tenant, in its early days through to the mid-1970s, was the SMU Mustangs college football team; the failed NFL franchise the Dallas Texans (I) of 1952 played 4 of their scheduled 6 games there to sparse crowds, before the NFL front office took over the team and folded it at the end of the 1952 NFL season. In 1960, it would be the home of 3 football teams: the SMU Mustangs, the expansion NFL team the Dallas Cowboys, and the Dallas Texans (II), a charter member of the new rival-league, the AFL.

AFL founder Lamar Hunt, though Arkansas-born, was raised in Dallas, Texas (where his father's oil business was centered). His efforts to get an NFL team for Dallas circa 1958-59 had been unsuccessful. When he got the AFL off the ground and running in 1959-to-early-1960, there was never any doubt that he would have one of the 8 franchises in the new league and that it would be located in Dallas. This despite the fact that in the interim - in early 1960 - the NFL had awarded a Dallas franchise to someone else. So Hunt's Dallas Texans were instantly consigned to being the second-team-in-Dallas, simply by virtue of the fact that the NFL was more established. The red-and-yellow/gold Dallas Texans struggled to get media attention in their 3 seasons in Dallas, but in fact, in the team's first year in Dallas (1960), the AFL's Texans drew best in the debut-season of the AFL and outdrew the NFL's Cowboys (24,500 per game for the AFL Texans versus 21,417 per game for the Cowboys). Of course the first-year Cowboys were horrible (they went 0-11-1), while Hunt's Texans were competitive and fun to watch with a prolific-scoring offense (they went 8-6). But the next season, 1961, Texans' attendance plummeted almost 7K per game to 17,571, while the slightly-improved Cowboys (at 4-9-1) saw their attendance shoot up 33% to 24,521 per game. The writing was on the wall for Hunt. As football-crazy and as dynamic and growing as the city of Dallas was in the early 1960s, it still was not big enough to support two pro football teams. In the next season, 1962, even as an 11-3 team en route to the 1962 AFL title (see illustration below), the Texans were still unable to draw as well as they did their first year - they averaged 22,201 (the 5-8-1 Cowboys averaged only slightly less, at 21,778 in '63).

Hunt knew that once the Dallas Cowboys (inevitably) got competitive, they would totally overshadow the Dallas Texans and start claiming a much greater share of the ticket-paying public in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. So Hunt threw in the towel and began looking for a new home for his team. New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami and Seattle were also considered, but thanks to that huge season-ticket-drive in KC, Hunt moved his team 450 miles north to Kansas City.

    The Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs: 3 AFL titles & 1 Super Bowl title in a 10-year-span...

Photo and Image credits above -
1960-62 Dallas Texans helmet, illustration from Albert Haynes, photo unattributed at Photo of 1962 Dallas Texans AFL Champions team photo, unattributed at Hank Stram with AFL championship trophy, photo unattributed at Abner Haynes in 1962 AFL title game, photo unattributed at USA blank map by Zntrip at Blank map of the United States. Aerial photo of Kansas City Chiefs playing at Municipal Stadium, photo by Kansas City Chiefs at Hank Stram being carried off the field by Chiefs players after their 1966 AFL Championship Game win over Buffalo, photo unattributed at AFL 10 years patch worn by Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, photo unattributed/ uploaded by at Super Bowl IV ( Len Dawson taking the snap in Super Bowl IV vs. Vikings, photo unattributed at Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp tackling Dave Osborn in Super Bowl IV, photo from USA Today via

Municipal Stadium (Kansas City), home of the Chiefs from 1963-71...
Opened in 1923 and originally called Muehlebach Field, the venue was built as a ballpark for the Kansas City Blues (V) (1902-54) of the American Association. The Kansas City Monarchs Negro leagues team also played there (from 1923-34; 1937-54). For that reason the ballpark was situated at the edge of Kansas City's inner-city neighborhood. Capacity was originally 17,000, with the main feature of the ballpark being a single, roofed stand that ran the whole of the first-base foul-line to the right-field-foul-pole, but on the other side the roof only stretched to third base (making the roof a rounded L-shape). In 1955, prior to the arrival of the Philadelphia Athletics MLB franchise, the city decided to almost completely demolish the stadium and rebuild from scratch. The city ran three shifts - the new stadium was built in 90 days, in time for the April 1955 MLB opening of the Kansas City Athletics (1955-67). The not-quite-V-shaped-roof remained, now in a double-deck form, and capacity for baseball was then 30,000. It was re-named Municipal Stadium.

When Lamar Hunt decided to move his Dallas Texans to Kansas City in early 1963, the stadium was renovated again, but in more of a jury-rigged way - temporary stands were erected in left field to expand the stadium's capacity each fall, but had to be torn down before the start of the baseball season the following year.

Kansas City mayor H. Roe Bartle had helped get the team to KC, and had made good on his promise to Lamar Hunt that Kansas City would have a vast season-ticket paying fan-base there even before the team's arrival. Some sources say that Bartle promised to triple the crowds the team had drawn in Dallas (ie, 21.4 K times 3 equals 64 K) - but even if he did promise that, it would have been impossible because Municipal Stadium in Kansas City only held around 30,000 then, and even after expansion for football, it never had more than a 49,000-capacity {see this,}. The 1963 Kansas City Chiefs actually drew about 650 per game worse than they did the year before as the 1962 Dallas Texans (at 21,510 per game in 1963 versus 22,201 in '62) (note: 10-year AFL attendance figures for the Dallas Texans (II)/Kansas City Chiefs can be seen in the illustration above, and the source for those figures was at THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE - ATTENDANCE, 1960-69 By Bob Carroll at

The Kansas City Chiefs upon arrival in KC in 1963 were reigning champions of the AFL, but the Chiefs then suffered a downturn in form and went 5-7-2 in '63; 7-7 in '64; and 7-5-2 in '65. Cumulative gate figures for those first 3 years in KC were 20,376 per game. So the fact that the Chiefs turned mediocre right when they arrived in KC certainly hurt attendances, and the crowds the Chiefs drew only got respectable after the Chiefs got good again - in 1966, when they tore up the AFL, going 11-2-1, winning the AFL Championship game (over the Bills, 31–7), and appearing in the first AFL-NFL Championship Game [aka Super Bowl I] (losing to the Packers, 35-10). In that great season of 1966, the Chiefs drew 37,010 (an increase of around 15.5 K over their ’65 attendance). Attendance-wise, the Chiefs have never looked back: they drew 45 K in ’67 (going 9-5); 48 K in ’68 (going 12-2); and 49 K in ’69 when they went all the way with an 11-3 record, beating the Raiders 13-6 in the last AFL Championship game and then winning Super Bowl IV [4] by upsetting the heavily-favored Minnesota Vikings by a score of 23-7 in the last game ever played by the AFL (see illustration above).

Following the Jets’ upset of the NFL’s Colts in Super Bowl III, the Chiefs’ similar upset of the Vikings in Super Bowl IV made it plain for all to see that the AFL was the deserved equal of the NFL. Actually, the AFL beat the NFL soundly in the last two match-ups between the two leagues, so it basically looked like the once-derided upstarts had actually surpassed their hide-bound rivals…in ten years flat. The Chiefs played their first two seasons in the NFL at Municipal Stadium (1970-71), then moved into their purpose-built Arrowhead Stadium in September 1972.

Arrowhead Stadium – home of the Chiefs since 1972…
To see how the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium came to be, we need to backtrack about 5 years, back to early 1967. Although having just lost in a convincing fashion to the Green Bay Packers in what we now call Super Bowl I, the Chiefs were nevertheless a solid and growing franchise circa early 1967. They had won 2 AFL titles in six seasons, and were now drawing in the 37,000-per-game range. Half a year later in the autumn of 1967, Chiefs were drawing around 45,000 per game [this after their first 3 years in KC when they had lackluster attendance, failing to draw above 22 K per game (1963-65/see attendance figures in illustration above]). All signs pointed to further attendance increases for the Chiefs. They were playing to nearly-full capacity at this point, and the aging Municipal Stadium, located in its inner-city neighborhood, was becoming inadequate for the them and their fans. Locations for a new stadium for the Chiefs and the Athletics were scouted by the city of Kansas City starting in early 1967, but a suitable location was never found, and so just across the county-line in Jackson County, Missouri, at the far eastern edge of Greater Kansas City, a location adjacent to an interstate highway interchange was designated. Hunt had operations-chief Jack Steadman work on the stadium design. Denver architect Charles Deaton was brought in by Steadman and it was Deaton who suggested that the two teams, playing as they were in sports that had such radically different configurations, would be better served if each team had its own stadium. Its own stadium that was configured to its own sport’s configuration (a rectangular-shaped stadium for the football team, and a half-circle-atop-a-triangle-shaped stadium for the baseball team). The 2 venues could share a parking lot complex which would reduce costs by sharing parking and highway expenses. This was the exact opposite of conventional wisdom of the time. The late 1960s was the heyday of the now-derided multi-purpose stadium era (an era that lasted up to the late 1980s), or as I like to call it, the Robert Moses Disease. Circa 1960 to 1988 or so, the urban planners running metropolitan areas ignored the basic fact of the fundamental incompatibility of putting the two very different sports into the same stadium, and forced ugly, astro-turf laden cookie-cutter, multi-purpose concrete stadiums on the public. The whole idea was “we can put our baseball team and our NFL football team in the same stadium, and who cares if the dimensions of the two sports fields are totally incompatible”.

I am not exaggerating in saying that Mr. Deaton’s visionary idea (which is the norm today), has helped to elevate the fan experience in both the NFL and in Major League Baseball. Once there were over a dozen multi-use stadiums in MLB and in the NFL, and they all sucked, because they were designed to host two very incompatible configurations. They were giant soul-less concrete doughnuts that gave the fan – for either sport – vast yawning empty spaces where there should have been seats, and sight-lines looking upon totalitarian-architecture backdrops of brutal concrete. [By 2010, following the Minnesota Twins opening of their Target Field, there was only one multi-purpose stadium still in use in both the NFL and MLB - Oakland's stadium, and its days are numbered.]

Here is an excerpt from the Kauffman Stadium page at,…”In 1967, voters in Jackson County, Missouri approved the bonds for Truman Sports Complex, which featured a football stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs and a baseball stadium for the Kansas City Athletics, whose owner, Charles O. Finley, had just signed a new lease to remain in Kansas City. This was a very unusual proposal; conventional wisdom at the time held that separate football and baseball stadiums were not commercially viable.”…{end of excerpt from The two stadium sports complex, what became known as the Truman Sports Complex, would prove to be twenty years ahead of its time.

But then a wrench was thrown into the works when, in October, 1967, MLB gave A’s owner Charlie Finley permission to move his Kansas City Athletics MLB franchise west to Oakland, CA (in 1968). The folks in and around Kansas City were so enraged about losing their pro ball club they pressured their elected officials to act. Partly thanks to the threat to introduce legislation in the US Senate to remove MLB’s antitrust exemption (put forth by Missouri Senator Stuart Symington), MLB hastily began plans for another round of expansion at the winter meetings in 1967, so both Kansas City and Seattle got MLB AL expansion franchises; and both San Diego and Montreal, Quebec, Canada got MLB NL expansion franchises, all 4 teams set to begin play in 1969.

At about the same time, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority was created, and construction began in 1968 for the two-stadium Truman Sports Complex (named in honor of western-Missouri-born-and-bred President Harry S. Truman). The second-year Kansas City Royals began playing at the new 37,000-capacity Royals Stadium in April, 1972 (the venue is now called Kauffman Stadium in honor of the Royals’ first owner, Ewing Kauffman). The Chiefs began playing at the new 78,000-capacity Arrowhead Stadium in September, 1972 (after several renovations, Arrowhead, since 2010, now has a capacity of 76,416). The original two-stadium concept, initially designed by Denver architect Charles Deaton and Jack Steadman, was implemented in its final design by the Kansas City architectural firm of Kivett & Myers. The template for what was to be called Arrowhead Stadium is said to have influenced the design of several NFL stadiums. Both stadiums were very well designed and have had very good upkeep – both stadiums are still in excellent shape. And both teams have no plans of moving elsewhere (either out of town or into another costly new stadium), as opposed to the case with EIGHT now-demolished multi-purpose stadiums that were built in the USA in the same era or later. Specifically, in Minneapolis (Metrodome demolished in 2014), in Queens, New York (Shea Stadium demolished in 2007), in St. Louis (Busch Memorial Stadium demolished in 2005), in Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium demolished in 2004), in Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium demolished in 2002), in Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Stadium demolished in 2001), in Seattle (Kingdome demolished in 2000) and in Atlanta (Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium demolished in 1997) [note: soon Candlestick Park in San Francisco can be added to this list of demolished multi-purpose stadiums, as with the vacating of the 49ers after the 2013 season, the dreary Candlestick Park has no primary tenant].

Below: the Truman Sports Complex -the first major league sports stadium complex in the USA which rejected the misguided multi-purpose stadium model.
Photo and Image credits above -
Chiefs 2012-14 Pro Revolution helmet, illustration by
Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium as seen from the nearby interstate highway, photo unattributed/ uploaded by KingmanIII at [thread: Closest stadiums]. Arrowhead Stadium aerial photo, by Ichabod at [Arrowhead Stadium page].

Below: Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams (photo circa 1960)…
Image credit above ( video uploaded by Scott Sillcox).

    Colors and helmet logos of the Texans/Chiefs

The following link is to a 1 minute and 53 seconds-long video (produced by the NFL and Tide detergent), Kansas City Chiefs uniform and uniform color history (video uploaded by Scott Sillcox at}.

1960-62 – Red and Yellow/Gold (map-of-Texas-with-gold-star-for-Dallas helmet-logo, on a plain red helmet)…
Lamar Hunt actually wanted the Dallas Texans to wear orange-and-sky-blue, but Bud Adams’ Houston Oilers had already chosen powder blue as their primary color, so Hunt had to come up with a different color scheme (thank goodness for that). Hunt chose a simple yet striking red-with-yellow/gold…the franchise has never worn any other colors. The Texans/Chiefs have also only worn a red helmet with no stripe detail (a wise decision because the inherent high-potency of the color red ends up being diluted by the often-at-cross-purposes imposition of a center stripe…especially when that red is paired with a shape in the logo that is slightly more complex than a block letter or a circle). First (1960-62), the red helmet had a logo that was the-state-of-Texas-with-gold-star-for-Dallas {see that nice design here in a game-worn helmet from the 1960-62 era}.

1963-2014 – Red and Yellow/Gold (arrowhead-with-interlocking-K-C helmet-logo, on a plain red helmet)…
When Hunt moved the team to Kansas City, the story goes he himself drew out the new logo in his kitchen on a dinner napkin…sketching out a design influenced by the San Francisco 49ers’ interlocking-S-F, but with an arrowhead framing the letters K-C instead of the football-shaped-oval on the Niners’ helmet. That design debuted in 1963 and, aside from a slight reshaping of the logo in 1974 (the arrowhead was made a bit smaller and the K-C a bit larger), it has remained the Chiefs helmet design for over 50 years. And rightly so. The Chiefs’ bold yet dignified helmet looks as sharp today as it did a half century ago; the same can be said for their uniforms {2013 Chiefs uniforms}.

    Oakland Raiders – logos and helmet history (1960-2014), click on image below…

Oakland Raiders – logos and helmet history (1960-2014)
Raiders helmet illustrations above from, Photo of Raiders 2012-13 Riddell helmet from, Raiders 2014 uniforms, illustration by JohnnySeoul at

Origin of Raiders nickname…
The franchise that became the Oakland Raiders was the last of the 8 charter members of the AFL in 1960. A year before when the league was being formed, that 8th franchise was originally intended to be placed in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. But when the NFL convinced the AFL-ownership-group in Minneapolis/St. Paul to take an NFL franchise instead, the Minnesota Vikings were born (set to start in the NFL in 1961), forcing the nascent AFL to scramble to find a location for the 8th team. The 6 other AFL owners were then coerced by Chargers owner Barron Hilton to put another team in California, following Hilton’s threat to pull out of the league if there was not another AFL team placed in the Golden State, so the 8th AFL franchise was placed in Oakland, CA. This despite the fact that the well-supported San Francisco 49ers were just a few miles across the San Francisco Bay from Oakland, and it would thus be an uphill battle for an Oakland-based AFL team to draw well. And this despite the fact that there was no stadium on the east side of San Francisco Bay, except for the California Golden Bears’ stadium in Berkeley, CA.

Here is how the formation of the AFL franchise in Oakland went {2 excerpts from Oakland Raiders/History at}…”Upon receiving the franchise, a meeting of local civic leaders and businessmen was called, chaired by former United States Senator William F. Knowland, editor of the Oakland Tribune; Edgar Kaiser of Kaiser Steel; developer Robert T. Nahas; and Oakland City Councilman Robert Osborne. Also attending the meeting [was] Oakland Mayor Clifford E. Rishell [and 7 other city councilmen]…/…A limited partnership was formed to own the team headed by managing general partner Y. Charles (Chet) Soda, a local real estate developer, and included general partners Ed McGah, Oakland City Councilman Robert Osborne, F. Wayne Valley, restaurateur Harvey Binns, 1928 Olympic gold medalist Donald Blessing, and contractor Charles Harney, the builder of San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, built on a bleak parcel of land he owned…”…{end of excerpts from Raiders/early years)}.

An example of how disorganized the early days of the Oakland/8th-AFL-franchise was, can be seen in the fact that for 9 days, the team was officially known as the Oakland Señors. This came about when the team’s first GM and one of the 4 co-owners, Chet Soda, organized a name-the-new-team contest held in the Oakland Tribune. Then on April 5, 1960 it was announced in the Tribune that the winning entry was for the nickname the Señors, a reference to the Spanish settlers of northern California. Here is what an article at Raider Nation has to say about that…{excerpt}…”Although somewhat appropriate due to Oakland’s large Hispanic community, the team became a local laughingstock as everyone knew Soda was renowned for calling his acquaintances Señor and extrapolated that to mean the contest was clearly fixed.”…{end of excerpt at Oakland Raiders Logo and Colors Have a Rich and Interesting History ( by Justin Smith – Jul 19, 2012). A classic line was made by future Raiders GM and then-Tribune-sportswriter Scotty Stirling, who said, “That’s no good, we don’t have the accent mark for the n in our headline type.” {quote from by Scott Allen}. So, nine days later, the third-most-selected name was chosen, and the Oakland Raiders were born on April 14, 1960.

    Stadiums the Oakland Raiders/Los Angeles Raiders have played in…

Kezar Stadium in San Francisco (4 games in 1960); Candelstick Park (last 3 games in 1960, all 7 games in 1961)…
The University of California at Berkeley refused to allow the new Raiders to play at their Memorial Stadium, so the Raiders were forced to play across the San Francisco Bay in San Francisco at Kezar Stadium (home of the 49ers), for 1960. Despite being forced to pick over the remainders of available talent for their squad (all 7 other AFL squads had generally been formed before the Oakland AFL franchise got going), Oakland did not do too bad at all in their first season. With a lopsided total of 28 rookies in their squad and with only 14 veterans, the black-helmeted Raiders finished a respectable 6-8 (2 of those rookies were future Pro Football Hall of Famer Center Jim Otto, and a future Raiders head coach, the QB Tom Flores). But the Raiders in their debut season in 1960 drew an awful 9,612 per game (4 games at Kezar Stadium, then their final 3 home games at Candlestick Park). Then the bottom fell out in the Raiders’ next two seasons. After the Raiders had dismissed coach Eddie Erdelatz in late September 1961, his replacement, offensive line coach Marty Feldman fared no better, and in their second year at cold and windy Candlestick Park, the ’61 Raiders went 2-12 and drew an abysmal 7,655 per game.

Frank Youell Field, the temporary stadium the Raiders played in for 4 seasons (1962-65)…
A consortium led by Wayne Valley and including minority-owner Ron McGah purchased the Raiders in 1961, and the consortium threatened to move the franchise if Oakland city officials didn’t provide a venue in Oakland. This made the city construct Frank Youell Field, a temporary facility in downtown Oakland which held about 15,000 people initially (capacity increased to 22,000 the same year it opened in 1962), the use of which was shared with high schools.

From the Today In Pro Football History blog, …{excerpt}…”Stadium was constructed by the Oakland Recreation Commission as a temporary home for the Raiders until the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum was completed. Named for Francis J. Youell, a city council member and prominent local sports booster.”…{end of excerpt at Past Venue: Frank Youell Field, by Keith Yowell at}.

So in 1962, the hapless Raiders finally played in Oakland, but they were still bad – Red Conkright replaced Feldman after 5 winless games in October ’62, and the Raiders finished rock bottom again, at 1-13. In their first season playing in Oakland they drew 10,985 at Frank Youell Field. The Raiders had no idea at the time, but they would have to play three more seasons at the temporary stadium while the building of the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium hit a series of delays. The reason why it took so long to get Oakland’s multi-purpose stadium built was that it was being built in conjunction with the basketball/hockey/events arena (the Oakland Coliseum, which is next-door to the stadium and shares a parking facility/ see photo in illustration below) – both venues being built by a city/county/non-profit partnership. Then the 54,000-capacity Oakland-Alameda stadium construction schedule (which started in the spring of 1962) was delayed for two years due to various legal issues and cost overruns. Then the original design of the arena (the Oakland Coliseum) had to be modified slightly in order to stay on budget, and that slowed the dual-stadium-construction-project even more. So the Raiders were stuck playing in the all-bleachers Frank Youell Field for 4 years. The makeshift “stadium” was located in an industrial area of downtown Oakland (as you can see in the photos in the illustration below). Frank Youell Field was torn down in 1969 so that nearby Laney College could use the site as a parking lot.

In January, 1963 Al Davis was hired…
In January, 1963 Al Davis was hired by Wayne Valley as head coach and GM of the Raiders. Davis, just 33, became the youngest ever pro football head coach. The Brooklyn-raised Davis had been assistant coach of the San Diego Chargers where he was backfield coach, and an adept scout, and a general fast-talk-artist not above blatant and fabricated self-promotion and outright lying to further his cause. As Valley later said, “Everywhere I went, people told me what a son of a bitch Al Davis was, so I figured he must be doing something right.” {quote from Al Davis page at Davis/Background and hiring}. Valley would regret this move 9 years later when Davis wrested control of the Raiders from him. “Davis’s theory is that people are motivated by fear,” said Bob Bestor, who resigned as Raiders’ business manager in the late 1960s to do publicity for the new Oakland Seals hockey team. “He thinks people perform better if they’re afraid.” {preceding quote from article by Leonard Shecter in Look magazine, The Most Hated Winner In Football: Al Davis In 1969 (}.

Davis intended to bring over an aggressive passing-oriented offense, the type he had seen become proficient at San Diego under visionary head coach Sid Gillman. For the 1963 season, Davis, despite being new to the organization, still had enough leverage this early on to actually convince the Raiders’ front office to change the team’s colors from black-and-yellow/gold with plain black helmets, to silver-and-black with silver helmets (with a distinctive shield logo), black jerseys and silver pants. From his experience coaching teams in the military (at Fort Belvoir, Virginia) and at a military school (the Citadel in South Carolina), Davis sought to motivate his players with relentless practice, drilling into them a pride for the team. Slogans became utilized. “Pride and Poise,” “Commitment to Excellence,” and “Just Win, Baby” are all registered trademarks of the Oakland Raiders. The turnaround for the Raiders was immediate – they went went 10-4 and Al Davis was voted AFL Coach of the Year. That 9-game improvement from the previous season (1-13 in ’62/10-4 in ’63) is a pro football record from the 14-game-era. The Raiders went from worst offense in the AFL in ’62 to second-best in ’63 (behind the Chargers, who won the 1963 AFL title). Though the Raiders slipped to 5–7–2 in 1964, they rebounded to 8–5–1 in 1965.

Then Davis left the Raiders organization for what turned out to be four months, when he was selected by the owners to replace Joe Foss as Commissioner of the AFL. This came about because the AFL owners wanted an aggressive commissioner to face off against the NFL. By the close of the 1965 season, the American Football League, after 6 years, had basically become a significant rival to the NFL. The AFL had increased its attendance remarkably. The AFL went from averaging 15 K per game in 1960, to averaging 31 K per game in 1965. The AFL’s television contract with NBC, and the several major stadiums being built for AFL teams were indications that in late 1965/early 1966, the AFL was starting to look like it was a success. The AFL was reaching the point where they were becoming able to compete on equal terms for players with the NFL. But aside from Sonny Werblin (NY Jets co-owner), most AFL owners wanted to be a part of the older, better-established NFL. They and most NFL owners feared continued escalation of player salaries.

The AFL was gaining on the NFL, and merger was becoming a possibility. AFL founder and Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt wanted the brash and dynamic Davis in the commissioner’s seat fighting the NFL, and Davis as a 37-year-old got the job in April 1966. Davis wanted AFL teams to go after NFL stars and basically scare the NFL franchises into thinking that they would be, for lack of a better word, raided by the AFL (there is Davis using fear as a motivator again). Lots of rumors about which NFL stars might jump to the AFL abounded in the early summer of 1966 – big-name players like Mike Ditka of Chicago and Alex Karras of Detroit and Paul Hornung of Green Bay. This happened because two player-raids were attempted. The Raiders went after LA Rams QB Roman Gabriel, and the Houston Oilers went after SF 49ers QB John Brodie – and both were signed in the early summer of 1966 by those AFL teams [but the two ended up staying with LA and SF respectively, because by then the AFL-NFL meger had been agreed to, and those contracts were nullified]. Glenn Dickey, a biographer of Al Davis {Just Win, Baby: Al Davis and His Raiders at amazon, here}, pointed out that Davis felt he was deceived by the owners, “He thought he had been hired to win the war with the NFL. In fact, the owners only wanted to force a peace. They were quietly negotiating a merger while Davis was fighting a war.”…{excerpt from Al Davis/AFL commissioner (}.

The AFL-NFL merger agreement was announced on June 8, 1966, with the creation of an annual title game to be first played in January 1967 (the AFL/NFL Championship Game, now called the Super Bowl), and with the AFL and the NFL to continue on as separate leagues for 4 more seasons (1966, ’67, ’68, ’69), and with a fully-integrated schedule and two balanced conferences implemented for the merger in 1970. Davis was not happy with the agreement, both because it required the Jets and Raiders to pay indemnities to the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers for establishing teams within their exclusive territories, and because it put him out of a job, because the merger made the office of the AFL commissioner redundant (Pete Rozelle would continue in his post as NFL commissioner under the merger agreement). Davis resigned as commissioner on July 25 (he was on the job for less than 4 months). Davis went back to the Raiders organization, now a 10% owner and now head of football operations (Davis would snatch total control of the Raiders franchise in 1972 when Valley was at the Olympics in Munich, Germany and Davis had his attorneys completely revise the ownership agreement, which third-ownership-partner McGah signed…and the courts upheld this).

Below: the first years of the Oakland Raiders (1960-67)…
Photo and Image credits above -
Illustrations of Raiders 1960-63 uniforms by Frank Youell Field sign, photo unattributed at Aerial black-and-white photo, unattributed at Frank Youell Field, black-and-white photo, unattributed at 1963 photo of Al Davis on the sidelines talking to QB Cotton Davidson with back-up QBTom Flores in head-set with clipboard, photo by Ron Riesterer / Oakland Tribune at Aerial photo of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum complex, unattributed at Daryle Lamonica and Gene Upshaw, photo by USA Today via Photo of game event poster of Second AFL-NFL World Championship Game [aka Super Bowl II], from

September 1966: Raiders move into the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium…
In 1966, Al Davis’ hand-picked successor as head coach was John Rauch. The Raiders were finally playing in the 55,000-capacity stadium they would play in for the next decade-and-a-half. The Raiders played to 95%-capacity in 1965, at 21 K per game in their last year at Frank Youell Field. The following year, 1966, finally at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, they averaged 36 K. By 1969, the Raiders were playing to 97%-capacity, drawing 53 K per game there.

In 1966 the Raiders finished 8-5-1, with starting QB Tom Flores and featuring a receiver corps that included Hewritt Dixon and Fred Biletnikoff (both WRs), as well ex-Oilers great Billy Cannon (at TE/HB). Then in the off-season the Raiders acquired back-up Buffalo Bills QB Daryle Lamonica in a trade. Lamonica was a strong-armed QB, and he threw a league-best 30 TD passes in 1967, as the Raiders tore up the AFL, with a league-best offense that averaged 33.4 points per game, and a defense that was second-best (the Oilers had the best D in the AFL in ’67). The Raiders then won the 1967 AFL Championship game over Houston, blowing out the Oilers 40-7. But just as the Kansas City Chiefs had been outclassed by the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl the previous season, so too were the 1967 Raiders schooled by Lombardi’s Packers in Super Bowl II in January 1968, losing 33-14.

1976 season: Oakland Raiders win Super Bowl XI…
Photo and Image Credits above -
Ted Hendricks, photo by USA Today at Fred Biletnikoff, photo unattributed at Ken Stabler handing off to Clarence Davis with Mark Van Eeghen blocking, ;& John Madden being carried off field by Raiders players incl. Ted Hendricks, photos unattributed at

1980 season: Oakland Raiders win Super Bowl XV…
Photo and Image Credits above -
Jim Plunkett in pocket, photo unattributed at Plunkett about to pass to Cliff Branch for TD, photo unattributed at Rod Martin intercepting a pass, photo by Manny Rubio/USA Today via Tom Flores, photo by USA Today at John Matuszack pursuing Ron Jaworski, photo by Peter Read Miller/Getty Imges via

Oakland Raiders move to Los Angles as Los Angeles Raiders; play in LA Memorial Coliseum for 13 seasons (1982-94)…
Al Davis wanted to leave Oakland because city officials refused to make improvements to Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. It primarily came down to their refusal to build luxury suites. In 1980 Davis signed an agreement to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. League owners voted 22-0 against the franchise-move (five owners abstaining). Davis tried to move the team, anyway. The NFL took him to court, Davis counter-sued, and Davis won an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, clearing the way for the team’s relocation. “Sure, I expected the Oakland fans to get angry at me,” Davis said. “But I don’t remember any of them parading on the Oakland Coliseum, saying ‘Give him what he wants.’ In their mind, it’s their team. In my mind, it’s not.” {preceding quote from article at ESPN, Good guys wear black, by Mike Puma (}. Davis moved the Raiders to the Los Angeles Coliseum for the start of the 1982 season. The LA Coliseum had been vacant of a primary tenant since the end of the 1979 season, when the LA Rams moved a few miles southeast to Anaheim in Orange County (into the California Angels’ Anaheim Stadium).
1983 season: Oakland Raiders win Super Bowl XVIII…
Photo and Image credits above -
Raiders helmet, illustration by Derrick Jensen blocking Redskins punt, photo unattributed at Jim Plunkett, photo by Getty Images via Marcus Allen on a long gain, photo unattributed at Lester Hayes celebrating win, photo by Focus In Sports/Getty Images via Tom Flores being carried off the field, photo by Chris Hayt/Getty Images via

The Raiders played 13 seasons as the Los Angeles Raiders, then they returned to Oakland for the 1995 season. Here is an excerpt from the Oakland Raiders page at{excerpt}…”As early as 1986, Davis began to seek a new, more modern stadium away from the [Los Angeles] Coliseum and the dangerous neighborhood that surrounded it at the time…/…In addition to sharing the venue with the USC Trojans, the Coliseum was aging and still lacked the luxury suites and other amenities that Davis was promised when he moved the Raiders to Los Angeles. Finally, the Coliseum had 100,000 seats and was rarely able to fill all of them, and so most Raiders home games were blacked out on television. Numerous venues in California were considered…”…{end of excerpt from}.

In January 1989 Davis began negotiating with the city of Oakland to return the franchise there, and an agreement was reached in March 1991, but various delays kept the team from returning until 1995 to the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium (the stadium, still home of the A’s and the Raiders, is called Coliseum now). In 1995, Davis finally got his coveted luxury suites, thanks to the Frankenstein-monster that the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium has now become, complete with a gigantic looming Death Star-like stand behind the center field wall (see below). The multi-tiered-stand now blocks the view that baseball fans once had of the Oakland Hills behind center field. Its derisive name is Mount Davis.

Photo credits above – both stadium-photos unattributed at

    Colors and helmet-logos of the Raiders

The following link is to a 1 minute and 50 seconds-long video, Oakland Raiders uniform and uniform color history (video uploaded by Scott Sillcox at}.

1960-62 – Black and Yellow/Gold (plain black helmet)…
Like the Broncos early days, the first-year Oakland Raiders franchise was pretty cash-strapped, and, like the Broncos, the Raiders’ first color-scheme was the result of second-hand uniforms bought on the cheap. From the Al Davis page at…”The Raiders, in their first season, had adopted the colors—and cast-off uniforms—of the University of the Pacific, black and gold.”…{excerpt from It was actually black and yellow/gold. The helmets were plain black in 1960. In ’61 and ’62 a yellow-gold center-stripe was added to the black helmet. The helmets were also the old MacGregor style – a style with bulging ear-holes that had their heyday about a decade earlier, and they looked pretty dated circa 1960-62. Al Davis changed that when he came aboard in early 1963 as the Raiders head coach and GM (and designer of the Raiders’ new uniforms). Here is a photo from Al Davis’ first season with the Raiders, the photo taken in training camp, where you can see the old black Raiders’ helmet [worn by then-backup QB Tom Flores, on the left of the photo], and the new helmet of silver-and black-with-proto-shield-logo [1963-only helmet] worn by QB Cotton Davidson on the right of the photo {see it here}.

1963 to present – Black and Silver (with shield-logo [in proto-type-stage] on the silver helmet in 1963; with shield logo revised in 1964/ no changes in helmet-design since 1964)…
Al Davis was color-blind, and saw primarily only grays; Davis would go on to have a personal style which involved only the wearing of white, black or gray. The Raiders’ colors reflect this. Davis designed the Raiders uniforms right upon joining the organization in 1963. Their dark (home) uniforms had absolutely no white in the jersey (black with silver numbers) or pants (silver with a black stripe). The prototype-shield-logo was at first ill-conceived because the football helmet that the eye-patch-wearing man in the shield-logo is wearing is still the old plain-black helmet, not the team’s new silver helmet. That was corrected the next season in 1964 {link to those logos: Raiders’ primary logos, here}.}. So the Raiders’ helmet has not changed one bit since 1964. With the re-working of the shield-logo, the Raiders’ look was established. Only one slight variation in the Raiders’ uniforms has been [temporarily] changed since 1964…for a few years, when their white jerseys had silver-and-black numbers as opposed to black numbers (in 1963, in 1964, in 1970, and in 1997 [alternate]/ see this photo, from 1970, of C Jim Otto and QB Daryle Lamonica, in those smart-lookiing white-Raiders-jerseys-with-the-silver-and-black-numbers). In other words, the Raiders organization has not messed with their look at all. Which has proven to be a wise policy. The Raiders in their black jerseys (with silver numbers and no white at all) give them one of the most intimidating appearances in pro sports. And the Raiders in their white jerseys (with black numbers and no unnecessary trim at all) look understated and dignified.

    San Diego Chargers – logos and helmet history (1960-2014), click on image below…

San Diego Chargers – logos and helmet history (1960-2014)
Chargers helmet illustrations above from, Chargers 2014 uniforms, illustration by JohnnySeoul at Chargers helmet, photo from

Origin of Chargers nickname…
The Los Angeles Chargers, charter member of the AFL in 1960, were nicknamed the Chargers through a confluence of three things: 1) the winning entry in a name-the-new-team contest (the winner won an all-expenses-paid vacation to Mexico City); 2) the act of yelling “Charge” when a horse brigade attacks; 3) the colloquial term for buying with credit cards (charging it). The idea of a charge coming from a lightning bolt also entered into the name, and that can be seen by the lightning bolt’s prominent part of the Los Angeles Chargers’ first logos (official logo and helmet logo) – the lightning bolt has always been the Chargers’ logo.

Chargers founder/original owner Barron Hilton had created the then-prominent credit card Carte Blanche in 1954 (it was acquired by [the company now called] Citicorp in 1978, and is now part of their Platinum card). Carte Blanche credit card was created in conjunction with the Hilton Hotels chain (Barron Hilton is an heir to that fortune). Meanwhile, through the 1950s, Los Angeles-resident Hilton had been impressed by the famous USC Tojans marching band’s stirring ritual, at the LA Memorial Coliseum, of sounding the bugle and getting the Trojan fans to yell “Charge!”, right before kickoff. A “charger” is also the Medieval term for an armored war-horse that bore a knight into battle. Along with the aforementioned lightning-bolt, the first Chargers’ logo had a horse’s head within the shield {here}.

Now there are some (like some of the suits who run the NFL, or simply Chargers fans in denial) that don’t want it known or don’t want to admit that an NFL team was partially named after a credit card – and a rich-person’s-type of credit card at that. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s entry on the subject does not mention the credit-card-angle {here}, but then, that article is a PR exercise that refuses to acknowledge, for example, that the New York Jets were named after the fact that they played next to Laguardia Airport. Hilton later denied the credit-card connection to the name {here/second paragraph there, which says “Hilton named his team the Chargers, but denies that he did it to create synergy with his new credit card business.”}. But the businessman who bought the San Diego Chargers from Hilton in 1966, Gene Klein, says Hilton told him that the Chargers were named after a credit card [or specifically, the active-verb that describes what one does with a credit card]. Klein says so in his autobiography, First Down and a Billion {at Amazon, here}. And in this 1-minute-&-41-seconds youtube video, a football historian connected with the PFHoF (Joe Horrigan) contradicts the PFHoF’s website’s stance on this when he does say that the Chargers’ nickname was partially the result of Hilton’s credit card company, {see this, San Diego Chargers uniform and uniform color history video uploaded by Scott Sillcox at}.

Here is an article at the Mental_floss site about origins of NFL nicknames, What’s in a Nickname? The Origins of All 32 NFL Team Names ( article by Scott Allen). Here is the text from the Chargers section in that article…
{excerpt}…”Team owner Barron Hilton sponsored a name-the-team contest and promised a trip to Mexico City to the winner in 1960. Gerald Courtney submitted “Chargers” and Hilton reportedly liked the name so much that he didn’t open another letter. There are varying accounts as to why Hilton chose Chargers for his franchise, which spent one year in Los Angeles before relocating to San Diego. According to one story, Hilton liked the name, in part, for its affiliation with his new Carte Blanche credit card. The owner also told reporters that he was fond of the “Charge!” bugle cry played at the Los Angeles Coliseum.”…{end of excerpt}.

So in 1959, Barron Hilton, heir to the Hilton hotel fortune and creator and head of a then-new credit card company called Carte Blanche, decides to call his new AFL team the Chargers. Then he later insists that naming them the Chargers had nothing to do with the fact that the most common term for purchasing something with a credit card is to “charge” it. He insults the intelligence of sports fans with this. {Also see this thread from a Chargers fan forum, Origin of the name “Chargers.” (}

    Stadiums the Los Angeles Charger/San Diego Chargers have played in

1960: the Los Angeles Chargers play their debut season at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum…
Built for the city of Los Angles and for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans college football team, and [currently] jointly-owned by the State of California and the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium was opened in 1923, with a single-tier and rows of bleachers in a horseshoe shape, and with an initial capacity of 79,000. Before the city hosted the 1932 Olympics, capacity was increased by adding rows of seats at the top (to 79 rows), making the capacity 101,500. The NFL’s Cleveland Rams, after the 1945 season, moved to LA and played at the Los Angeles Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 (the AAFC’s Los Angeles Dons also played there, from 1946-49). For a while the Los Angeles Rams (the only pro/major-league team in town from 1950-57) played to massive crowds there – in 1958 the Rams averaged a then-NFL-record 83,528 per game in their 6 home games that year. In 1953, the capacity at the giant stadium had been increased again, and was a jaw-dropping 123,500 (this remained until 1964, when capacity was scaled back to 97,000; the LA Coliseum currently has a capacity of 93,600).

So in 1960, this 123,00-capacity stadium was the venue for the Rams, the USC Trojans, and a new team, the Los Angeles Chargers, a charter-member of the new rival-pro-football-league. To say the venue was too large for the new team would be an understatement…the Chargers averaged 15,665 their first and only year in LA (that is a mere 12.6 percent-capacity). As Bob Carroll says in his analysis of AFL attendance figures {linked to previously and at the end of the following quote},…”The Los Angeles Chargers, with perhaps the league’s most exciting team, played to tiny houses while L.A. fans stayed home and watched the Rams on the tube. Barron Hilton was happy to take his money-losing winners to San Diego for 1961.”…{end of excerpt from THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE ATTENDANCE, 1960-69, by Bob Carroll [pdf])}. The Chargers won the AFL Western Division in 1960, then lost to the Houston Oilers in the first AFL Championship game, played at the LA Memorial Coliseum to a crowd of only 32,100 (and to over 80,000 empty seats). The LA Chargers fell to the Oilers 24-16. Soon after that, Hilton decided to move his Chargers 90 miles south to San Diego.

1961: the Los Angeles Chargers move 90 miles south-east to San Diego, as the San Diego Chargers, and begin playing in Balboa Stadium (1961-66)…
Balboa Stadium was built by the city of San Diego for the Panama–California Exposition (1915-17). Following that the 23 K-capacity stadium was used for high school football until 1937, when auto racing was staged there on the 1/4 mile dirt track in Balboa Stadium. Racing was held there up through the early summer of 1961, when the venue was re-vamped and expanded to 34,000-capacity to become the home of the AFL’s Chargers (the San Diego Chargers played there for 7 seasons (1961-66). The stadium wasn’t re-modeled so great though – there was a running track, which separated the fans by another 30 yards or so. Nevertheless, attendance was decent and encouraging the first season in San Diego – the Chargers saw an increase of 12 thousand – from 15.6 K in their only season in LA to 27.8 K in their first season in San Diego. Of course it helped that the 1961 Chargers were very good and very entertaining (they went 12-2 and made it to the 1961 AFL Championship game, where they again lost to the Oilers, this time at Houston’s Jeppesen Field, and this time losing 10-3). But the the next year (1962) attendance fell off as the team’s fortunes nosedived (finishing 4-10), and San Diegans stayed away from Balboa Stadium in droves (the Chargers drew 5.3 K less in ’62, at 21.9 K per game). Attendance bounced back in 1963 when the Chargers drew 27.3 K in their title-winning season of 1963 (see illustration below). But the Chargers never drew above 28.9 K at the 34 K-capacity Balboa (which they did in 1965 en route to their fifth appearance in the AFL Championship game, which they lost to Buffalo for the second-straight year [the Chargers won 1 AFL title and lost 4 AFL Championship games in a six-year span, 1960-65]). It wasn’t until the Chargers moved into San Diego’s new 50,000-capacity multi-purpose stadium, originally called San Diego Stadium, in 1966, that the team ever drew above 30 K. By 1969, the time the AFL was winding down and on its way to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, the Chargers drew a healthy 46,311 per game (at 92.6 percent-capacity).

Photo and Image credits above -
Chargers 1960-73 helmets and 1960-84 jerseys, illustrations by Aerial photo of San Diego Stadium (Jack Murphy Stadium), photo by Getty Images via Aerial photo of Balboa Stadium circa 1965, photo unattributed at [San Diego Chargers]. Paul Lowe on a run, photo by San Diego Chargers at Lance Alworth, b/w action photo unattributed at Tobin Rote and Paul Lowe on the cover of Sports Illustrated, via Sid Gillman and Tobin Rote on sideline, photo by Robert L. Smith/NFL via Photo of Chargers’ Lance Alworth 1963 helmet (All American badge year) (Authentic Reproduction), by . Lance Alworth, color photo by Getty Images at at

San Diego Stadium/Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcomm Stadium – home of the Chargers since 1967…
The new stadium that opened in 1967 was built by the city of San Diego. The Chargers played the first game ever at the stadium on August 20, 1967. San Diego Stadium was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium in 1980, in honor of local sportswriter Jack Murphy, who was instrumental, circa the mid-1960s, in getting the stadium built (since 1997 it has been called Qualcomm Stadium). The stadium was also home of the San Diego Padres. The Padres of the National League played there from 1969-2003 (they now play in their own purpose-built ballpark, Petco Park).

    Colors and helmet-logos of the Chargers…

1960 – Dark “Collegiate Blue” and Yellow/Gold (white helmet with arc-shaped-lightning-bolt logo in blue-with-yellow-outline)…
Collegiate Blue is basically dark-sky-blue (or dark powder-blue). I actually could not find any reason why Barron Hilton chose dark-powder-blue and yellow/gold as his football team’s colors. But I am going to go out on a limb and just say it…he was copying one of Los Angeles’ two big college teams’ colors – the UCLA Bruins football team wears powder-blue and gold. After all, Hilton had already copied from another…in naming the team the Chargers, Hilton had partially borrowed an aspect of the other big college football team in town, the USC Trojans, with their bugle-spurred cry of “Charge!” [see origins of Chargers nickname section further above]). Their first year in LA found the Chargers in a pretty dark shade of collegiate blue, with the white helmet’s arced-lightning-bolt logo in blue-with-yellow-outline (the numbers were also in these two colors) {1960 Los Angeles Chargers helmet (}. The Chargers were the first pro football team to have a logo-design incorporated into their pants-stripe…a lightning bolt, of course (you can see the whole history of the Chargers’ pants-stripe logos in the Chargers logos and helmet-history illustration at the top of the Chargers section here {or here}. The lightning-bolt logo on their white helmet was revised (and perfected) the following year when the team moved down to San Diego.

1961-66 – Collegiate Blue and Yellow/Gold (white helmet with arc-shaped-lightning-bolt logo in yellow-with-black-outline)…
{HoF OT Ron Mix (and the rest of the Chargers’ offensive line) in the 1961-65 Chargers dark-jersey gear [photo from either 1964 or 1965].}
{1961 Chargers uniforms.} Upon the move to San Diego, the Collegiate blue was now a shade lighter – appropriate in that the very bright blue evokes San Diego’ pleasant weather and sea-side charm. (You can see the difference between the 1960 and 1961 Chargers’ powder-blue in the illustration a couple paragraphs above). The helmet now featured what has become the iconic Chargers helmet – a white helmet with a grey facemask, an arced-lightning-bolt logo in yellow-with-black outline, and the player’s number, under the bolt-logo, in a black sans-serif font. Sheer perfection. The keys to the brilliance of this helmet design is the combination of all the negative space in the helmet with the bold arc of the lightning-bolt logo…and the black outline and the black number under the bolt. There is no other black in the Chargers color-scheme, but for some reason it is so appropriate there as a trim color on the helmet. The black, especially the black number, somehow pulls it all together (and you can see what I mean about that when you look at all the other color-variations of the arced-lightning-bolt logo…they all seem lacking somehow). The fact that lightning bolts are never curved in nature, but are on the Chargers helmet, is a point often overlooked. But the curve-in-the-lightning-bolt is why I think the Chargers bolt logo is so much better than Air Force Academy’s football helmet logo {here}…the curve of the Chargers’ bolt follows the curve of the football helmet itself so it becomes more cohesive. When you combine this stunning and eye-catching helmet-design with the Chargers’ powder-blue and gold in the jersey and pants, well, it just does not get any better. In my opinion the San Diego Chargers’ 1961 helmet is the greatest helmet-design in the history of gridiron football. Of course, after years of widespread fan-acclaim during periods of NFL throwback uniforms, the modern-day Chargers refused to bow to public pressure and simply re-adopt this helmet-design, and just had to mess with it (why?), by making the facemask navy blue (why?) and getting rid of the player’s number (why?) and screwing around with the lightning-bolt logo by ditching the black and having the yellow bolt now be trimmed with an overly-busy combo of powder-blue and navy-blue. But I digress. The 1961 Chargers helmet was used these years: 1961-65; 1967-73; 1994 [throwback uniform]; 2002-06 [throwback uniform]; 2009 [throwback uniform].

1966 – Collegiate Blue and Yellow/Gold (white helmet with arc-shaped-lightning-bolt logo in dark-blue)…
The Chargers front office messed with the helmet-logo, making the lightning-bolt logo dark blue. That helmet did not look tougher, it looked neutered. {Here is Chargers RB Keith Lincoln in the 1966 Chargers helmet (the opposing team is wearing another mid-1960s helmet-fail [Denver Broncos 1965-66 pastel-red/orange-helmet-w/-goofy-horse-logo).} It lasted one year, and in 1967 it was back to the yellow-with-black-outline bolt (aka the 1961 Chargers helmet). The Chargers' yellow pants made their debut in 1966 (history of Chargers pants colors can be seen here).

1967 - Dark Collegiate Blue and Yellow/Gold (white helmet with arc-shaped-lightning-bolt logo in yellow-with-black-outline)...
1961-style classic bolt helmet is back. This time the front office messes with the jerseys, making the powder-blue much darker, so the 1967 Chargers sported Dark Collegiate Blue {here}. That color just seems off. It belongs on upscale dinnerware or guest-bathroom walls, not football gear. In the photo at the following link, of QB John Hadl at the new San Diego Stadium in 1967, you can see how odd the color looks, especially because the socks are still light-powder-blue, but the jersey color looks like a mixture of navy-blue and sky-blue {here}.

1968-73 - Light Collegiate Blue and Yellow/Gold (white helmet with arc-shaped-lightning-bolt logo in dark-blue)...
Back to the light powder-blue first worn in 1961, now even brighter. The Chargers finally nail it down in this traffic-stopping uniform. The Chargers evoked even more of sunny southern California with their 1968-73 uniforms {here}. The '68-to-'73 jerseys had the lightest shade of powder-blue the Chargers ever used. The following link shows this style uniform in its last is Johnny Unitas as Chargers' QB in one of his last 4 games in the NFL in 1973. These uniforms were worn by the Chargers for 6 seasons. It was too good to last...and it took mid-1970s sensibilities to kill this masterpiece.

1974-84 - Royal Blue and Yellow/Gold (dark-blue helmet with yellow facemask and arc-shaped lightning-bolt logo in yellow-with-dark-blue-and-white-outline)...
{Here is the great 'Bolts QB Dan Fouts in the 1974-to-'84 Chargers gear.} Dark royal blue replaces the bright-powder-blue; yellow pants remain. Helmets are also now dark royal blue, and are a darker shade of blue than the jerseys. Yellow facemasks, (which are, for the NFL, the first colored facemasks worn by the entire team), replace the grey facemasks. Interesting 1978 and in 1983, the Chargers only wore their white jersey {1978 Chargers uniform; 1983 Chargers' uniform}.

When these uniforms came out in 1974, I was enthralled with them (yellow facemasks!; no more "boring" white helmets for the Chargers!). But what do 9-year-old kids know about good design? Heck, for that matter, what did the mid-1970s know about good design? The 1970s gave us such crimes against nature as burnt-orange shag rugs and avocodo-colored kitchen appliances (both of which featured in our household, and millions of other households, back then). Not counting white facemasks, aside from a couple of anomalies, the Chargers were the first NFL team to have a colored facemask (except for some players' helmets of the 1953 Chicago Cardinals {see this}, and except for some players helmets of the 1956 Baltimore Colts {here}. Now, well over half the NFL teams have colored facemasks (in 2014, 22 of the 32 teams in the NFL teams have colored facemasks on their primary helmet).

Colored facemasks have jumped the shark. Give me grey facemasks any day. Besides, why make it harder for your team? Why have colored facemasks, because all you are accomplishing (besides a gaudy look), is giving your team vision problems. If you play in a colored facemask, you are going to be visually impaired by being distracted by seeing that color all the time, instead of seeing fully what you really need to see...which is, what is going on in the field all around you. The first team to "see the light" and reverse the trend of colored facemasks was the New York Giants, who went back to grey facemasks in 2000. Now the Colts and the Bills and the 49ers and the Browns have also went back to grey facemasks in recent years [the only NFL teams that have only-ever worn grey facemasks are the Cowboys, the Raiders, and (beside that aforementioned exception in 1953), the Cardinals].

1985-87 – Dark Blue and Yellow/Gold (dark-blue helmet with yellow facemask and arc-shaped lightning-bolt logo in yellow-with-dark-blue-and-white-outline)…
{1985 Chargers uniforms}. The jerseys in this 3-year period became a darker shade of blue. Yellow pants were replaced by white pants, and those white pants featured a snazzy dark-blue-stripe-with-lightning-bolt-inside.

1988-2006 – Navy Blue and Yellow/Gold (navy-blue helmet with navy-blue facemask and arc-shaped lightning-bolt logo in white-with-dark-blue-and-yellow-outline)…
{1988 Chargers uniforms.} The Chargers made their blue even darker, to navy blue – on both the helmet and the home jersey. The yellow/gold was de-emphasized to only a minor trim color (even the lighning-bolt on the helmet was no longer yellow). In the third year of this design (1990), navy-blue pants were introduced. In 1994, the NFL’s 75th anniversary season, as part of their throwback uniforms for some games, the Chargers finally again wore their 1961-style white helmet-with-bolt-and-black-numbers {1994 Chargers}.

2007-14 – Navy Blue with Yellow/Gold and Collegiate Blue trim (white helmet with navy-blue facemask and revised-arc-shaped-3-color-lightning-bolt logo)…
{2007 Chargers uniforms.} As already mentioned, the Chargers sort of bowed to fan pressure and re-introduced the white helmet, but they basically took all the good elements out of the 1961 Chargers helmet-design – no number anymore, no grey facemask, no black trim-color. And the worst thing is they refuse to wear the 1961-style helmet anymore, with one exception, {2009 Chargers uniforms.} Bring back the 1961 Chargers helmet!

Many details in the post here come courtesy of pro football historian Bob Carroll’s epic and hilarious book about pro football in the 1960s, When the Grass Was Real – Unitas, Brown, Lombardi, Sayers, Butkus, Namath, and All the Rest: The Ten Best Years of Pro Football (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993) {at amazon, here}.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘AFC West‘ (
Thanks to OSC forum, for AFL-attendance-figures-text-blocks.

Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use the football uniforms illustrations (helmet illustrations and jersey/uniform illustrations), at

December 30, 2013

NFL – All-time highest scoring teams (1920 to 2013, regular season/points per game) – #1: 1950 Los Angeles Rams, #2: 2013 Denver Broncos, #3: 2007 New England Patriots, #4: 1961 Houston Oilers (AFL), #5: 1941 Chicago Bears.

Filed under: NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 11:52 pm

Note, this illustration was included, after posting, into this post I made in November 2013 {click on the following,}. That post talks about the highest-scoring teams and eras in the NFL. I made the illustration below afterwards, because in the interim, the 2013 Denver Broncos became one of the highest scoring NFL teams ever (second-highest after the 1950 Los Angeles Rams). I decided to make the illustration below also as a stand-alone post, so it would not get lost in the shuffle.

All-time highest scoring teams (1920 to 2013, regular season/points per game) -
#1: 1950 Los Angeles Rams, #2: 2013 Denver Broncos, #3: 2007 New England Patriots, #4: 1961 Houston Oilers (AFL), #5: 1941 Chicago Bears.
Photo and Image credits above –
Helmet illustrations,
helmet illustrations from The Gridiron Uniforms Database at
1950 Rams,
Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin photo, from Corbis at
Crazy Legs Hirsch, action photo from
Tom Fears, action photo from
2013 Broncos,
Peyton Manning, photo from USA Today Sports Images
Demaryius Thomas, photo unattributed at
2007 Patriots,
Tom Brady. photo from Sports Illustrated via .
Randy Moss, photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images via
1961 Houston Oliers (AFL),
George Blanda, photo from
Bill Groman, photo from
1940 Chicago Bears,
Sid Luckman, photo public domain from
George McAfee, photo from
Hugh Gallarneau, photo from
Thanks to
Thanks to the Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving permission to use their helmet illustrations,

November 11, 2013

NFL, 1948 season, map of the teams with 1948 scoring leaders. / Plus a short article on high scoring NFL seasons and high scoring NFL teams. / Plus the 1948 Los Angeles Rams’ golden-horned helmet designed by Rams player Fred Gehrke – the first helmet logo in the NFL. / Plus the 1948 NFL championship game, aka the Blizzard Bowl. / Plus, all-time helmet histories of the 9 currently active NFL teams from 1948 (Cardinals, Bears, Packers, Giants, Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Steelers, Rams).

Filed under: NFL>1948 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 10:49 pm

Please note – All helmet and uniforms illustrations on the map, and in the charts, and in the illustrations here, are from The Gridiron Uniform Database site, and were used by here with permission from

NFL, 1948 season, with offensive stats leaders & helmet histories of the 9 oldest NFL teams (Cardinals, Bears, Packers, Giants, Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Steelers, and Rams)
NFL helmet and uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database.

    NFL, 1948 season

From Pro FootbalHall of Fame site, ‘NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1940s‘ (

1948: the highest-scoring season in the NFL
There are 3 reasons why the 1948 NFL season stands out. The first reason is, even though it pre-dated the passing era, 1948 was actually the NFL season that had the highest scoring average – 23.6 points per team (per game). From, from July 10, 2010, by Kerry Byrne, ‘The Spirit of ’48: a mind-blowing statistical orgasm‘. However, a mitigating factor must be mentioned. There were a few really bad defensive teams in the NFL in 1948, and, for example, the Eagles (who went on to be the 1948 NFL champions, and who had the league’s third-best offense in 1948 at 31.3 points per game) scored their season-high of 45 points in 4 games that year, three of which were against the three worst defenses in 1948 – the Lions (33.9 points allowed per game), the Giants (32.3 points allowed per game), and the Boston Yanks (31.0 points allowed per game), [more on the hapless Boston Yanks further down in this post] {see this,}. But to just blame the points surge in 1948, and also in the high-scoring era of 1947-to-1967, on just some bad defensive teams would be a disservice to teams like the 1948 Chicago Cardinals (32.9 points per game), and the 1948 Chicago Bears (31.7 points per game), and the 1948 Philadelphia Eagles (31.3 points per game). These teams, as well as the 1948 Los Angeles Rams and the 1948 New York Giants, really did have some offensive punch and some real standouts in their squads (illustrations of 1948 offensive leaders are shown on the map page {click on image above} and also further below).

    Below – the 20 highest scoring NFL seasons, as measured by average number of points scored per team

The chart below shows the 20 highest-scoring seasons in the NFL – not by total points (because that would skew the list to all the years recently when there have been the most number of teams [32 teams]), but by points per game (per team) average. Note how the list of the 20 highest-scoring seasons includes many of the recent seasons (the 4 most-recent NFL seasons), as well as many seasons from the 1940s (3 seasons), and from the 1950s (5 seasons), and the 1960s (4 seasons) – but zero seasons from the 1920s or the 1930s or the 1970s. In fact, if you go to the link at the bottom of the chart – to the page at where I got the data, you will see that the 17 lowest-scoring seasons in the NFL were all from the 1920s and the 1930s, and that the highest-scoring season from the 1970s was only the 44th-highest scoring year in the NFL (in 1975) [please note, to get the list at to show highest-scoring-average by season, click on the word 'Pts' at the top of the column at the far right-hand side of the chart there].

Please note: chart below will be updated once more, after all the final regular season games are played (ie, after Dec. 29, 2013).

Data for chart above from:

You might be thinking…’the scoring record in the NFL had to have been broken in the last couple years.’ And you would be pretty close to being right, because 2012 was the fifth highest points-per-game average in the NFL, and 2013 was the second highest. The NFL averaged 23.4 points per game (per team) in 2013, which was 0.2 points per game less than the NFL record still standing from the 1948 season.

The recent points-per-game numbers in the last several seasons of the NFL (2007 to 2013 NFL season) is a continuation of a trend towards more points-scored in the NFL…2007 was the 20th-highest (at 21.7 pts. per game), then 2008 was the 12th highest ever (at 22.0), then 2009 saw a momentary dip at 25th-highest ever (at 21.5), then 2010 was the 11th-highest ever at (22.0), then 2011 was the 10th-highest ever (at 22.2), and then last year [2012] was the 5th-highest ever (at 22.8), and now 2013 was the 2nd-highest ever (at 23.4). So it is really starting to look like it is only a matter of time before the team average scoring record set in 1948 is broken.

In case you are wondering, the NFL record for most points per game by one team was set two seasons after 1948 by the 1950 Los Angeles Rams, at a staggering 38.8 points per game {‘1950 Los Angeles Rams‘ (}. But like the situation two years previous [as mentioned in the first paragraph], the 1950 Rams played several games against very poor defenses- 3 of their 12 games in 1950 were against two of the worst defenses ever in the NFL, 2 games versus the 1950 Green Bay Packers, who gave up 406 points (or 33.8 points allowed per game); and one game versus the soon-to-be-defunct 1950 Baltimore Colts [the green-and-silver former-AAFC Baltimore Colts, who folded after one season in the NFL], who gave up 462 points (for a sieve-like 38.5 points allowed per game), went 1-11 and folded. Those green-and-silver Baltimore Colts of 1950 lost to the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 70-27 that season at Memorial Coliseum in LA. Those 70 points the LA Rams scored on October 22, 1950, as well as the 65 points the Rams scored one week later against the Detroit Lions, will always make it very hard for a modern-day NFL team to break the single season average scoring record, especially when you consider that teams in 1950 were playing one-quarter less games – 12 games instead of the present-day 16 games per season – so that 70 points and those 65 points factors in larger. {The 1950 boxscore for that Rams 70, Colts 27 score, plus a photo below the boxscore link (a photo of of Rams’ QB Bob Waterfield running for a TD as the Colts defenders are literally giving up the chase), can be seen in my post on the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, here, scroll down the page half-way to the 9th paragraph there.}.

{see this, by Joe Dorish at Yahoo contributor network from Oct. 4 2013, ‘Highest Scoring Teams with Best Offenses in NFL History [top 5]‘ (

Illustration of the All-time highest scoring teams (1920 to 2013, regular season/points per game) -
#1: 1950 Los Angeles Rams, #2: 2013 Denver Broncos, #3: 2007 New England Patriots, #4: 1961 Houston Oilers (AFL), #5: 1941 Chicago Bears.

Photo and Image credits above –
Helmet illustrations,
helmet illustrations from The Gridiron Uniforms Database.
1950 Rams,
Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin photo, from Corbis at
Crazy Legs Hirsch, action photo from
Tom Fears, action photo from
2013 Broncos,
Peyton Manning, photo from USA Today Sports Images
Demaryius Thomas, photo unattributed at
2007 Patriots,
Tom Brady. photo from Sports Illustrated via .
Randy Moss, photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images via
1961 Houston Oliers (AFL),
George Blanda, photo from
Bill Groman, photo from
1940 Chicago Bears,
Sid Luckman, photo public domain from
George McAfee, photo from
Hugh Gallarneau, photo from

In 2013 the team average scoring record had a chance of being broken as well, by the 2013 Denver Broncos. The Broncos under Manning finished 13-3 and averaged 37.9 points per game. (Note: also in 2013, Peyton Manning broke the NFL record for TD passes, with 55 TD passes). The Broncos’ 37.9 points per game was 0.9 points per game less than the NFL record set by the 1950 Rams. The Rams of that era had an unusual [read: totally unheard of and unprecedented in NFL history] tandem-QB arrangement of Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin – both played all 12 games and both had over 120 completions. But don’t forget, those 1950 Rams played against two of the worst defenses ever, while the worst defenses Manning and the Broncos have faced were the 4-12 Oakland Raiders, who averaged 28.3 points allowed per game (453 points allowed), the 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars, who averaged 28.0 points allowed per game (449 points allowed), and the 2-14 Houston Texans, who averaged 26.7 points allowed per game (428 points allowed). That is not as bad as the 1950 Packers defense (about 6-to-8 points-allowed-per-game worse) or the hapless 1950 Colts (I) defense (about 10-to-12 points-allowed-per-game worse). So to be simplistic about it, the 1950 Rams, as potent as their Bob Waterfield/Norm Van Brocklin-led offense was, still ended up having a bit more “inflated” offensive stats by virtue of the cumulatively worse defenses they faced.

The Broncos didn’t break the Rams’ 1950 NFL record for most points scored per game, but the Broncos broke the NFL record for most points scored by a team in a season, with 606 points. That record had been held by the 2007 New England Patriots, who scored 589 points that season, but then ended up losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl that season. Which brings up an important point – the highest-scoring team in the NFL does not usually win the NFL title that season. As the list below shows, the highest-scoring team in a season has won the NFL title in only 26 of the 93 seasons so far (27.9 percent of the time).

Below, NFL, all-time list of seasons that the league’s top scoring team won the title [since 1920], (with the team’s points per game average listed)
1923, Canton Bulldogs (20.5).
1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets (13.6).
1931 Green Bay Packers (20.7).
1932 Chicago Bears (11.4).
1936 Green Bay Packers (20.6).
1941 Chicago Bears (36.0).
1943 Chicago Bears (30.3).
1946 Chicago Bears (26.2).
1949 Philadelphia Eagles (36.4).
1951 Los Angeles Rams (32.6).
1955 Cleveland Browns (29.0).
1958 Baltimore Colts (31.7).
1959 Baltimore Colts (31.6).
1961 Green Bay Packers (27.9) / 1961 AFL champions, Houston Oliers (36.6).
1962 Green Bay Packers (29.6) / 1962 AFL champions, Dallas Texans (27.8).
/ 1963 AFL champions, San Diego Chargers (28.5).
/ 1964 AFL champions, Buffalo Bills (28.6).
/ 1966 AFL champions, Kansas City Chiefs (32.0).
/ 1967 AFL champions, Oakland Raiders (33.4).
1969 Minnesota Vikings [NFL champions but lost Super Bowl IV to the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs] (27.1).
1971 Dallas Cowboys (29.0).
1972 Miami Dolphins (27.5).
1979 Pittsburgh Steelers (26.0).
1989 San Francisco 49ers (27.6).
1991 Washington Redskins (30.3).
1994 San Francisco 49ers (31.6).
1996 Green Bay Packers (28.5).
1997 Denver Broncos (29.5).
1999 St. Louis Rams (32.9).
2009 New Orleans Saints (31.9).

One note – in the list above I included the Vikings’ meaningless 1969 NFL championship title (it is meaningless because, like the Colts’ 1968 NFL championship title, both of those NFL teams went on to lose the Super Bowl that season to AFL teams [Jets and Chiefs]). For the purposes of this exercise, I had to include that, though, and I also felt it necessary to include the AFL seasons (see four sentences below). So there have been 26 NFL titles won by the top-scoring team that year – in 93 NFL seasons (2013 is the 94th NFL season). That means that only 27.9 percent of the time, the top scoring team in the NFL has gone on to be the champions that season. Which only goes to prove, once again, the old adage that Defense wins titles. The wild-and-woolly and high-scoring AFL is an entirely different matter though, seeing as how in 60% of the seasons the AFL played (6 out of 10 seasons), the highest scoring team in their league that year won the AFL title.

    1948 NFL offense leaders (passing, rushing & receiving, with TD leaders noted)


1948 NFL offensive leaders [Note: 1948 NFL was a 12-game season.]
NFL Passing Yardage/TD passes:
-Sammy Baugh (Washington Redskins): 2,599 Yds/22 TD passes (plus 1 rushing TD).
-Charlie Conerly (New York Giants): 2,175 Yds/22 TD passes (plus 5 rushing TDs).
-Tommy Thompson (Philadelphia Eagles): 1,965 Yds/25 TD passes (plus 1 rushing TD) (TD pass leader for 1948, with 25 TD passes).

1948 NFL Rushing Yardage/combined TDs:
-Steve Van Buren (Philadelphia Eagles): 945 Yds/10 TDs (rushing TD leader for 1948, with 10 rushing TDs).
-Charley Trippi (Chicago Cardinals): 690 Yds/10 TDs (6 rushing TDs and 2 receiving TDs and 2 punt-return TDs).
-Elmer Angsman (Chicago Cardinals): 638 Yds/9 TDs (8 rushing TDs and 1 receiving TD).

1948 NFL Receiving Yardage/combined TDs:
-Malcolm Kutner (Chicago Cardinals): 943 Yds/14 TDs (recieving TD leader for 1948 plus overall TDs-scored leader for 1948, with 15 TDs [14 receiving TDs & 1 rushing TD]).
-Pete Pihos (Philadelphia Eagles): 766 Yds/11 TDs.
-Tom Fears (Los Angeles Rams): 698 Yds/4 TDs.

Photo and Image credits above & on the map page -
Sammy Baugh, Anniversary Team.
Tommy Thompson, [1950 Bowman trading card],
Charlie Conerly,
Steve Van Buren, [1950 Bowman trading card],
Charlie Trippi ,
Elmer Angsman ,
Mal Kutner,
Pete Pihos, screenshot of an NFL Films video at via
Tom Fears,
Illustrations of helmets from Gridiron Uniforms Database.

The second reason the 1948 NFL season it noteworthy is because it had the first-ever appearance of a logo on a football helmet
The first helmet logo in the NFL was the famous golden Rams horns worn by the 1948 Los Angeles Rams (and are worn to this day by the franchise [since 1995 known as the St. Louis Rams]). The Rams’-horn logo was created by LA Rams halfback and defensive back and off-season commercial artist Fred Gehrke. Here is an excerpt from the ‘Fred Gehrke‘ page at…
{excerpt}…’In the mid-1940s Gehrke toyed with the notion of painting a football helmet. Rams coach, Bob Snyder suggested that Fred paint a helmet with the ram horns on it that he could present to the team’s owner Dan Reeves. Fred painted two ram horns on an old college helmet and presented the design to Reeves, who was intrigued by the design. Reeves then contacted the NFL for a ruling on legality of having a football helmet painted. It was reported that the answer Reeves received from NFL was “You’re the owner; do what you want!” Reeves then tasked Gehrke to paint 75 helmets at $1.00 per helmet. The project took Gehrke the entire summer of 1948. The newly painted helmets debuted during a pre-season match-up between the Rams and Redskins at the Los Angeles Coliseum before a crowd of [77,000]. Upon seeing the new helmets the crowd began cheering which was followed by a five-minute standing ovation. To this day, Gehrke’s rams horn logo is still worn by the team.’…{end of except}.

Here is a good article on Gehrke and his designing of the Rams helmet logo, from Sports Illustrated, from Sept. 5 1994, by Mark Mandemach, ‘Rembrandt Of The Rams
Fred Gehrke got out his brushes and changed helmets forever
‘ (

Photo and Image credits above -

Before I get to the 3rd way in which the 1948 NFL season stands out from all the rest, I’ll add a fourth reason, an asterisk if you will. 1948 was the last season that the bizarrely-named Boston Yanks played in the NFL. It is kind of hard to believe, but there actually was once a professional sports team from Boston that was called the Yanks. Their owner was a New York City-based talent agent named Ted Collins (he managed the popular singing star Kate Smith). Collins didn’t really want an NFL franchise located in Boston – he wanted to locate the franchise at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, NY (his NFL team finally got to Yankee Stadium 6 years later, but not for long). The Boston Yanks (NFL, 1944-48) wore green and yellow {here are the Boston Yanks’ ghastly 1946 NFL uniforms ( teams). The Boston Yanks played from 1944–1948 to a lopsided losing record of 14-38-3, and to vast public indifference – when most every other NFL team was drawing 20,000 to 30,000 per game back then, the Boston Yanks were often drawing below 10,000 at Fenway Park. But you really could not blame Boston sports fans for not supporting the Boston Yanks – supporting a team in Boston named after the much-hated New York Yankees would be tantamount to treason.

After the 1948 season the Boston Yanks were folded and for a tax write-off the NFL allowed Collins to have a “new” franchise, which he moved to New York City, to become the New York Bulldogs (NFL, 1949), who played some home games in ’49 at the Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan, NYC, NY, and the 1949 New York Bulldogs also played a couple games in Boston. For some reason, the 1949 New York Bulldogs wore sky-blue-and-silver, which made them look more like lap dogs. In 1950, Collins was finally able to get his team to play in Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, NYC, NY, so he (finally) changed the team’s name to the New York Yanks (NFL, 1950-51), but in NYC, the franchise never had a shot at success because they were very bad in 2 of their 3 years in NY (going 1-10-1 in 1949, 7-5 in 1950, and 1-11-1 in 1951), and they had to compete with the vast popularity of the New York Giants’ NFL team.

In 1950, in their second year in New York City and their first year as the Yanks, the team wore sky-blue-and-white (why?) {1950 New York Yanks NFL uniforms}. In the third and last year of the franchise, 1951, the New York Yanks wore the more Yankees-appropriate dark-blue-and-grey {1951 New York Yanks NFL uniforms}. Those uniforms are actually kind of nice. They would be pretty much the same uniforms that the 1952/soon-to-be-defunct-Dallas Texans NFL team wore (see 2 sentences below). But it was too late – the New York Yanks’ debts had piled up and Ted Collins threw in the towel, and the NFL ‘bought back’ (read: took over) the worthless franchise, and folded it. The 12 players who remained on the 1951 New York Yanks’ roster (including future Hall of Famers Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti) were assigned to another soon-to-be-defunct-new-NFL-franchise, the short-lived Dallas Texans of 1952 (who wore almost the exact same uniforms as the 1951 NY Yanks – {1952 Dallas Texans NFL uniforms}). The NFL had to step in again and take over the 1952 Texans (who ended up 1-11 and never drew higher than 17,000 in their 4 home games in Dallas), and once again the remaining 12 players still on the defunct team’s roster (including, once again, future Hall of Famers Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti) were assigned to a new franchise for 1953 – the Baltimore Colts (II) (present-day Indianapolis Colts). That Dallas Texans team of 1952, which had its roots in the failed Boston Yanks/New York Bulldogs/New York Yanks team – that was the last failed franchise in the NFL. Here is a great little article about the Boston Yanks, from April 2009, by Jay Schreiber, from the, er, baseball blog at, ‘Remembering a Team of Rivals‘ (

    Brief summary of the 1948 NFL season

1948 NFL season‘ (
[Note, during this season and during the 1946 to 1949 time period, the NFL was fending off a challenge from a rival pro football league, the All-America Football Conference (the AAFC). For more info on that, you can see my recent post on the Cleveland Browns and the AAFC by clicking on the following, 'AAFC (1946-49) featuring the Cleveland Browns - map with selected uniforms and logos of the teams: Baltimore Colts (I), Brooklyn football Dodgers [AAFC], Buffalo Bisons/Bills (I), Chicago Rockets/Hornets, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Dons, Miami Seahawks, New York football Yankees [AAFC], San Francisco 49ers‘.]

There were 10 teams in the 1948 NFL, and for the second season, teams were playing a 12-game schedule as opposed to the 11-game schedule which the league had from 1937 to 1946. All teams played home-and-away games versus all the other teams in their division (8 games), and they played 4 of the 5 teams in the other division. All the NFL teams (that is to say, all the NFL franchises) from 1948 still exist, except for the previously-mentioned Boston Yanks (the ones that still exist being the Cardinals, Bears, Packers, Giants, Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Steelers, and Rams). This was the last season that players were only allowed to use leather helmets, because, while the new plastic-composite helmets were available and some colleges had started using them, they were banned in 1948 in the NFL because it was felt by the league officials that the much harder plastic helmets were being used more as a weapon than as protection (hmm, that sounds like what some critics say to this day).

Winner of each division would advance to the NFL Championship Game, which was played back then not at the home of the team with the better record, but rather, hosted on a rotating basis between the two divisions. As the Western Division had hosted the previous title game in 1947 (won by the Chicago Cardinals over the Philadelphia Eagles at Comiskey Park (I), by a score of 28-21), in 1948 it was the Eastern Division’s turn to host the title game.

1948 Eastern Division
In the Eastern Division, in the 5th week, the Philadelphia Eagles took a half-game lead on the Washington Redskins after beating them. 5 weeks later, the Eagles took the lead for good with their second win over Washington, putting the Eagles at 7-1-1 and Washington at 6-3. The Eagles finished 9-2-1, and advanced to their second title game in a row (and their second playoff game ever in their 16-year history). The Redskins had won 2 NFL titles at this point in time (their first title coming in 1937 in their first season in Washington DC [following 6 seasons in Boston]; and their second title in 1942). The Redskins were about to enter a long period of futility, with only 3 winning seasons in the next 21 years (up to 1969). As for the New York football Giants, well the Giants were in the midst of a several-seasons slump and, having won their first NFL title in their 3rd year in 1927, and after having won two more titles in a 5-year span (in 1934 and in 1938), the Giants would win only one more title in the pre-Super Bowl era in the NFL (ie, pre-1966 season), in 1956 (though the Giants came close many times otherwise). The Steelers were also in the East then, but the perpetually cash-strapped Steelers were the worst-team-ever in the NFL back then (and were the worst-ever up to the AFL/NFL merger in 1970). Of course, after that, the Steelers became the dynasty they are today, but 65 years ago, the Steelers were also known as the Lovable Losers.

1948 Western Division
In the Western Division, although the Los Angeles Rams were competitive and would finish at 6-5-1 in 3rd place (and would make it to the NFL title game for the next 3 seasons and then win their only NFL title in LA 3 years later in 1951), for all intents and purposes, the 1948 West was really all about the two Chicago teams. The Windy City was the only city in the NFL back then that boasted two NFL teams – the Monsters of the Midway (the Bears) and the perpetually overshadowed Cardinals (who would move to St. Louis 11 years later). The Chicago Bears were the most successful team in the NFL at this point in time, with 7 titles including the 1946 championship (Green Bay had the second-most titles then, with 5, but the cash-strapped Packers were, at this point, about to begin their worst run, with 12 straight seasons without a winning record [and would not have a resurgence until coach Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay starting in 1959]). To round out the NFL teams of this era, the Detroit Lions were horrible in 1948, but were on the cusp of their greatest period ever. The Lions had begun life as the second-to-last small-town team in the NFL – the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans, who played 4 seasons in the NFL (1930-33) and finished in 2nd place twice. The franchise moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1934, changed their name to the Detroit Lions, and won their first title the following year in 1935. After 1948, the Lions began rebuilding and would go on to win titles in back-to-back seasons in 1952 and 1953, and win their fourth and last NFL title four years later in 1957.

For the two seasons of 1947 and 1948, the normal Bears/Cardinals dynamic was up-ended. Following massive player-spending prior to the 1947 season, the Cardinals, led by future-Hall of Fame running back Charley Trippi, were temporarily the dominant of the two (of course it didn’t last, and the Cardinals have never won a title since 1947). Here is an excerpt from the 1948 NFL page at Wikipedia (linked to above),
…{excerpt}…’[T]he Cardinals and Bears both had records of 10–1 going into the final week. A record crowd of 51,283 packed Wrigley Field on December 12 to watch. The Bears took a 21–10 lead, on George Gulyanics’ [touchdown run] as the fourth quarter began. Charley Trippi’s touchdown cut the margin to 21–17, but the Bears had the ball and time on their side. The turning point came when the Cards’ Vince Banonis picked off a pass from Johnny Lujack, and ran the ball back to the Bears’ 19, and [Cardinals' running back] Elmer Angsman scored the winning touchdown three plays later for the Western Division title and the trip to the championship.’…{end of excerpt}.

For the second-straight year, the usually-downtrodden Cardinals had beaten out the usually-dominant Bears for the divisional title. Some say that that 24-20 loss to the Cards in the last week of the 1948 season was one of the worst losses the Bears ever suffered. The gentleman who wrote the following article says it was the worst ever loss for the Bears. From, from Dec. 13 2011, by Captain Meatball, ‘Top 10 Toughest Losses in Chicago Bears History [#1. Chicago Cardinals 24, Chicago Bears 21, 1948]‘ (

    1948 NFL Championship Game

The final reason why the 1948 NFL season stands out is the title game that year
The 1948 NFL Championship Game, featuring the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Chicago Cardinals, was played in a full-scale blizzard in Philadelphia that almost was postponed. It is testament to the hardiness of the Philadelphia sports fan that the inclement weather did not depress turnout – the game drew a sell-out crowd of 36,000. I guess it wasn’t technically a sell-out, because admission was free if you helped shovel snow.

    1948 NFL Championship Game – Philadelphia Eagles 7, Chicago Cardinals 0.

The 1948 NFL Championship Game was played in a blizzard at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 19, 1948. Attendance was a full-capacity 36,309. The game was a re-match of the 1947 NFL final, which the Cardinals had won 28-21 at Comiskey Park (I) in Chicago, Illinois the previous December.

The 1948 NFL title game was the first NFL title game that was televised (by ABC), though it was not broadcast nationwide (the first nationwide television broadcast of an NFL title game was by NBC in 1958). The snowfall that day in Philadelphia was so heavy that the NFL commissioner Bert Bell considered postponing the game, but because broadcast rights had already been given to ABC and because the players on both teams wanted to play despite the snow storm, Bell decided to play the game. (It is very doubtful the game would have been played were it to happen today – and with the NFL now playing a Super Bowl this season in a cold-weather location in northern New Jersey in February 2014, this possibility of a snow-storm-during-an NFL-title-game suddenly now exists again.).

From, ‘Football Championship Game 1948 Eagles Cardinals‘, a 1:15 video uploaded by historycomestolife [no sound] ( [Note: that long pass play by the Eagles, shown in the video, was called back because of an offensive penalty...the reason why it was still featured in the newsreel of the game is that the snowy conditions prevented there being many significant offensive plays that day]. [Note: here is a much longer Youtube video of the 1948 title game, with sound, a 15:41 video uploaded by Caladiscafrosis, '1948 NFL Championship Game'].

The start of the 1948 title game was delayed 30 minutes, as the grounds crew needed the help of both teams’ players to remove the extremely heavy, snow-laden tarp. It snowed so hard all game that the yard-line markers were invisible, and the referee had to basically guess where the ball was to be placed after each down and where the first down line was. The snowfall was so heavy that, at the start of each play, players in the offensive backfield could not even see the opposing defensive backs 15 or 20 feet away. {Here is a classic photo of the freezing Eagles players on the bench that day [in that photo you can see the odd-shaped MacGregor leather helmets that the Eagles wore during the 1944 to '48 time period, which featured a more elongated, quasi-cone-head shape and a different set of seams than the more standard Rawlings leather helmets that most other NFL teams used in the early post-War era] (photo unattributed at[NFL Championship Game 1948]).}

Because of the white-out/blizzard conditions, both teams spent the bulk of their ball possession in three-and-outs and a punt. There was no threat of a score until early in the 4th quarter, when the Eagles recovered a Cardinal fumble on the Cardinals’ 17. Four plays later, Eagles RB Steve Van Buren ran in a 5-yard TD. The Eagles’ defense then held the score, and the Eagles were the 1948 NFL champions.

The Eagles would repeat as champions in 1949, beating the Los Angeles Rams 14-0 in muddy conditions at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with Steve Van Buren rushing for a then-title-game record 197 yards, as well as scoring both TDs. Steve Van Buren played 9 seasons for Philadelphia, and was a 7-time All-Pro, and was the first RB to gain 1,000 yards in a season twice (in 1947 and ’49). Van Buren was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. He passed away at the age of 91 in 2012.

From the New York Times, from Aug. 25, 2012, by Andy Barall, ‘Remembering Steve Van Buren, Hall of Famer for Eagles‘ (

Photo and Image credits above -
Illustrations of Cardinals and Eagles’ 1948 uniforms from
Photo of Steve Van Buren being pursued by Cardinals defenders from Getty Images via
Color photo of Steve Van
Photo of Steve Van Buren scoring winning TD from Cold Hard Football site via
Photo of Eagles’ post-game celebrations from via
Photo of 1948 NFL title game program from

Thanks to Vintage Inclinations, for the base map of United States circa 1940s,

Thanks to the contributors at, ‘1948 NFL season‘.

A big thanks to, for most of the stats used in this post.

Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use the football uniforms illustrations at

September 27, 2013

NFL, AFC South – Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list / Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Titans), with titles won and stadiums played in.

Filed under: NFL>AFC South,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 9:54 pm

NFL, AFC South – Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list
Photo of Vince Lombardi Trophy from

    Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Titans), with titles won and stadiums played in…

    Houston Texans logo & helmet history (2002-13) – click on image below

Houston Texans logo & helmet history (2002-12)
Helmet illustration above from Gridiron Uniform Database. Photo of Houston Texans helmet from Illustration of Texans’ uniforms by JohnnySeoul at

Texans’ helmets at MG’s Helmets,

[Note: for Houston Oilers - scroll down to the Tennessee Titans' section further down in this post.]

The Houston Texans’ franchise, which is the 32nd and newest franchise in the NFL, originally had been provisionally awarded to the city of Los Angeles, CA in March 1999, when the NFL gave the city of LA a 6-month deadline to get their plans together. But LA, at that point in time, could not provide either an ownership group or a viable stadium deal – whereas Houston had both in place for 2 years. So in October 1999, the NFL instead awarded the 32nd team to Houston, at the cost of $700 million. Entrepreneur Bob McNair headed the group in Houston, and the other major player besides the NFL franchise itself (which was to be named the Houston Texans) was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLS&R). The stadium plan called for a venue to replace the Astrodome, but not have a fixed-roof like the Astrodome, but be a retractable-roof stadium. And have grass, not the accursed astroturf (note: the Astrodome originally was intended, circa 1965, to have grass for its playing surface, but it died for lack of sunlight, hence the invention of astroturf).

Houston Texans’ stadium
The Texans play at Reliant Stadium in Houston, which opened in 2002 and was the first venue in the NFL to have a retractable roof. The city of Houston and Reliant Stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII (38) in February 2004 (won by the Giants over the Panthers).

The genius of the Houston stadium partnership which produced the 71,054-capacity Reliant Stadium was that the two primary tenants did not have configuration-issues, like all the attempts, during the era of multi-purpose stadium building in the USA in the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s, of placing an NFL team and a Major League Baseball team in the same stadium. City planners back then thought they were pretty smart, building stadiums for both their MLB and NFL teams. What they didn’t really look into was the fact that these stadiums were doomed to be lousy venues for both sports. It basically ruined it for both teams. And it really ruined it for the fans, because all of those stadiums like Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia or Shea Stadium in NYC or the Astrodome were horrible venues – they were all hideous-looking, dreary giant concrete doughnuts, with stands were they shouldn’t be for both sports. A baseball field has such a radically different set of dimensions than does a football field. A baseball stadium needs a space that is a wide diamond shape which must flare out even further in three directions to form a giant-pie-slice-shape for the outfield. A football stadium only needs a space that is basically a giant rectangle. And rodeo works just fine in a giant rectangle. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo occurs each mid-March for a 20-day spell. The problem, and it was a big one, was that the turf there was shoddily assembled and downright dangerous, thanks to the whole cattle/rodeo show. They had to re-assemble the turf each year because of the whole livestock thing. From sod which never grew together to form actual turf. And players actually wrecked their careers because of the dangerous seams in the sod. They would catch their cleats in the seams of the sod and severely injure themselves. One lawsuit is still pending. So the venue switched to artificial turf in 2015.

Colors and helmet logo of the Houston Texans
The Houston Texans wear navy blue, red, and white. Well, actually they wear “Deep Steel Blue”, “Battle Red”, and “Liberty White”. Whatever. The Texans’ logo is an abstract depiction of a bull’s head, with a star for an eye (a reference to the Lone Star State of Texas). The logo was designed by someone who had a hand in the NFL-shield-logo redesign and the Cardinals helmet-logo redesign, Mark Verlander.

The Houston Texans have never made a Super Bowl appearance [no Super Bowl appearances in 11 seasons up to 2012]. They are one of only 4 teams in the NFL to have never reached a Super Bowl final. The other teams in this dubious category are the Detroit Lions (no Super Bowl appearances in all possible seasons [47 seasons up to 2012]), the Cleveland Browns (no Super Bowl appearances in 44 seasons up to 2012), and the Jacksonville Jaguars (no Super Bowl appearances in 18 seasons up to 2012).

    Indianapolis Colts logo & helmet history (1953-2013) – click on image below

Indianapolis Colts logo & helmet history (1953-2013)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database. Baltimore Colts 1954-55, 1956, 1957 helmet illustrations from Baltimore Colts 1954-photo of helmet & Colts’ players’ helmet from Photo of Baltimore Colts alternate logo patch from Baltimore Colts circa 1982 alternate logo from 30 years in Indianapolis jersey-patch-logo from, Photo of Indianapolis Colts’ helmet from Illustration of Colts’ uniforms by JohnnySeoul at

Colts’ helmets at MG’s Helmets,

1950: 3 teams from the AAFC join the NFL, including the original Baltimore Colts (I) (NFL, 1950/defunct)
In 1950, 3 teams from the rival-league the All-America Football Conference (1946-49) were allowed to join the NFL – the San Francisco 49ers (AAFC, 1946-49/NFL, 1950-2013), the Cleveland Browns (AAFC, 1946-49/NFL, 1950-1995; 1999-2013), and the Baltimore Colts (I) (AAFC, 1947-49/NFL, 1950/defunct). The first NFL franchise in Baltimore, Maryland was the green-and-silver Baltimore Colts of 1950 {Baltimore Colts 1950 NFL uniforms (}, who had began life as the Miami Seahawks, the weakest franchise in the relatively-well-capitalized AAFC. In the original green-and-silver Colts’ last year in the AAFC, they went 1-11, with crowds in the high-teens to low-20,000-per-game range. The green-and-silver Colts were by far the weakest of the three AAFC teams that the NFL let in, and the New York Yankees of the AAFC and the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC both had stronger teams and way more ticket-paying fans. But both these teams were not let in, because , in the New York AAFC team’s case, the NFL didn’t want to bring in any teams into cities which already had an NFL franchise; while in the Buffalo AAFC team’s case, several NFL owners felt that Buffalo was too small and too cold for an NFL team (ignoring the fact that Green Bay is way smaller and way colder). In their first and only NFL season, the green-and-silver Colts went 1-11 for the second straight year, drew only marginally better than they had in their last 2 seasons in the AAFC, and went bust, with the NFL buying back the franchise in January 1951.

Two years previous, circa late 1948, a different and similarly struggling NFL franchise – the Boston Yanks – were transferred to the league, and the owner was (for tax purposes) given a new franchise, which was the ill-fated New York Bulldogs of the 1949 NFL. The Bulldogs changed their name to the New York Yanks in 1950, did poorly and failed to get good crowds, and folded after the following season of 1951 {New York Yanks 1951 NFL Uniforms ( The league took the team back, and the following season used its roster (comprised of 12 players) to help fill up the roster of yet another soon-to-be-doomed franchise – the Dallas Texans of the 1952 NFL [not to be confused with the Dallas Texans of the 1960-62 AFL (present-day Kansas City Chiefs)].

The ill-fated Dallas Texans of the 1952 NFL – the precursor to the Baltimore Colts (II)
The Dallas Texans of the 1952 NFL wore dark-blue-and-white-with-silver-trim {1952 Dallas Texans uniforms (}, and played only 4 games at the then-70,000-capacity Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Texans of the 1952 NFL drew really poorly despite the fact that the state of Texas has, to this day, always otherwise supported, and supported very well, gridiron football teams. Why? Because the 1952 Dallas Texans were really bad, combined with another factor which kept people from attending their games – out-and-out racism within the Dallas community. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page entitled ‘Cowboys – Steelers rivalry‘…”…The NFL owners voted 10-1 to award the assets of the Yanks to the Dallas group led by Giles Miller as opposed to the Baltimore group, which became the Dallas Texans. The lone holdout was Steelers founder and owner Art Rooney. Rooney, an Irish Catholic, was more tolerable to African Americans than the other owners (most of whom were Protestant and had their own discrimination towards Catholics) and was concerned about the racism that existed in the Southern United States at the time and the subsequent civil rights movement that would take place later in the decade. Rooney’s assumptions would be later proven correct: while the Texans struggled on the field, it also struggled at the gate partly because two of the team’s best players, George Taliaferro and Buddy Young, were both black, which made fans in Texas automatically turn away from the team simply because of prejudice.”…{end of excerpt}.

The 1952 Dallas Texans’ opening day crowd was only 17,000. That was their best attendance, and their low came in what would be the team’s last game in Dallas, versus the LA Rams (who had several black players) on Nov. 11, 1952, when they drew just 10,000. The league took the team over and had the Texans train in Hershey, PA, while the team’s last 2 home games were played in other locations – one at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, OH (where very few people attended, and the 1952 Texans got their sole victory over the Bears 24-23, because George Halas didn’t put his Bears starting team on until the 2nd half), and one at the Detroit Lions’ Briggs Stadium [Tiger Stadium] to end the season.

From the Pro Football Researchers’ site The Coffin Corner, here is an article about the Dallas Texans of 1952, ‘A DISGRACE‘ (from 1982, by Stan Grosshandler at

1953: the Baltimore Colts (II) (NFL, 1953-83) join the NFL as an expansion team. 31 years later, the Colts move, in the dead of night, to Indianapolis, in March 1984
So once again, for the fourth time in 10 years, the league had taken over yet another failed NFL franchise during the post-War era. The Dallas Texans failing in 1952 was the fourth failed franchise in the NFL in 9 years, after the Brooklyn football Dodgers failed in 1944, and after the original-green-and-silver Baltimore Colts failed in 1950, and after the New York Yanks failed in 1951. The following year, the NFL transferred the 1952 Dallas Texans’ roster – as well as its colors of dark-blue-and-white – to the second new NFL franchise in Baltimore, MD in 4 years – the Baltimore Colts (II) (NFL, 1953-1983/Indianapolis Colts, 1984-2013). The league does not acknowledge the link between the 1952 Dallas Texans and the 1953-to-present-day Colts’ franchise, despite the fact that both teams had the same colors of dark-blue-and-white and despite the fact that 12 players went from playing on the 1952 Dallas Texans to playing on the 1953 Baltimore Colts. Players like Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti (both Pro Football Hall of Famers), and George Taliaferro and Buddy Young. What’s more, all those 4 players also had played on the 1951 New York Yanks (two franchise-shifts earlier) as well. Oh, and the New York Yanks also wore dark blue and white.

The second NFL team in Baltimore was the blue-and-white Baltimore Colts (II) (NFL, 1953-83). The Baltimore Colts were a very solid team in the NFL for a 15-year span when, coached by Weeb Ewbank they won NFL titles in 1958 and 1959 (led by QB Johnny Unitas), then, for the 1970 NFL season, coached by Don McCafferty, the Colts were at the top of the football world in January 1971 when they won Super Bowl V (#5) over the Dallas Cowboys with a last-minute FG by kicker Jim O’Brien. Then the Baltimore Colts entered a protracted period of eventual decline before their owner, Robert Irsay, snuck his franchise out of town at 3 in the morning one cold March night in 1984, and covertly moved the team with a fleet of moving vans to Indianapolis, IN as the Indianapolis Colts (NFL, 1984-2013). Irsay was forced to do this because the Maryland legislature intended to seize the team. You see, the Colts’ venue, Memorial Stadium (which they shared with the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles), was in a crumbling state of disrepair, and Irsay was having a very hard time coming to a stadium agreement with Baltimore and with Maryland state officials. By this time (circa 1982-83) Indianapolis, Indiana was building a stadium – the Hoosier Dome – to attract an NFL team, and Irsay had visited the construction site in Indianapolis in February 1984. Here is what happened next, via an excerpt from the Wikipedia page entitled ‘Baltimore Colts relocation to Indianapolis‘…”Meanwhile in Baltimore, the situation worsened and the Maryland State Legislature inserted itself into the dispute — a move that would eventually force Irsay’s hand and result in the Colts’ final decision to depart. On March 27, 1984, the Maryland Senate passed legislation giving the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the Colts by eminent domain. (An idea first floated in a memo written by Baltimore mayoral aide Mark Wasserman). Robert Irsay said that his move was “a direct result” of the eminent domain bill. [Colts' legal counsel Michael] Chernoff would say of the move by the Maryland legislature: “They not only threw down the gauntlet, but they put a gun to his head and cocked it and asked, ‘Want to see if it’s loaded?’ They forced him to make a decision that day.”…{end of excerpt}.

When Irsay found out on March 28th, 1984 that Baltimore now had the legal right to seize ownership of the Colts by eminent domain, Irsay contacted Indianapolis and 15 Mayflower moving vans were sent to Baltimore from the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis. Once they were loaded with every tackling dummy, paperclip, uniform, cleat and jock strap the Colts owned, all fifteen moving trucks took a different route to Indianapolis from Baltimore, as a diversion tactic, so the Maryland State Police could not enforce the eminent domain law that had just been signed. Once a truck got to Indiana, the Indiana State Police met each moving van and escorted it to Indianapolis. Thus went the Baltimore Colts to history’s dustbin. The bitter aftermath for Baltimore football fans can be told through this excerpt from ‘Indianapolis Colts‘ at …”The move triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of the city of Baltimore and the Colts organization reached a settlement in March 1986 in which all lawsuits regarding the relocation were dismissed, and the Colts agreed to endorse a new NFL team for Baltimore. Nonetheless, many of the prominent old-time Colts, many of whom had settled in the Baltimore area, were bitter and chose to cut all ties to the relocated Colts team. Most notable and vocal among them was Johnny Unitas, who recognized himself solely as a player for the Baltimore Colts until the day he died, with his estate defending that stand to this day.”…{end of excerpt}. There are very, very few Baltimore Colts fans in Maryland who remained Colts fans after the team moved to Indianapolis. So what did Baltimore do? The city schemed for another NFL team for over a dozen years until they found a potential candidate – and the city of Baltimore lured the Cleveland Browns (I) to move to Maryland and become the Baltimore Ravens (NFL, 1996-2013). The city of Baltimore might have lost the Colts logo, the Colts colors, and their Colts’ history, but the city of Baltimore now has 2 more Super Bowl titles to boast of. The city of Cleveland, once the NFL gave them a new Browns team in 1999, got back their much-beloved blank-orange helmets and their Browns’ history…and zero trips to the Super Bowl.

Colts’ Stadium in Baltimore
Memorial Stadium (1921-49 [first version]/ 1949-2002 [second version] was actually 2 different stadiums on the same site in a residential neighborhood in Baltimore called Venable Park. The original, built in 1921, was known as Baltimore Stadium, also known as Municipal Stadium, and also known as Venable Stadium. It was a horseshoe-shaped stadium (open-end-of-horseshoe facing south), with an earthen-mound exterior (like the Yale Bowl), and could seat 31,000. It hosted various college football games, and occasionally a big college game like the Army-Navy game. Midway through the summer of 1944, the minor league ball club the Baltimore Orioles of the International League had become homeless when their ballpark, Oriole Park, was destroyed by fire. The ball club began playing at Baltimore Municipal Stadium, went on a huge winning run, made it to the playoffs and won the 1944 Junior World Series over Louisville. The minor-league Baltimore Orioles at Municipal Stadium in late 1944 started drawing huge crowds, and their playoff games’ attendances was even higher than the attendances at the 1944 Major League Baseball World Series that October. The fact that Baltimore could produce such huge crowds – for minor league baseball, no less – caught the eye of the people running both Major League Baseball and the NFL, and Baltimore was now beginning to be considered a viable option for pro sports teams seeking to relocate. And in 1947, Baltimore got its first major league team since 1902 (when the Baltimore Orioles (II) of the American League had moved to New York City, NY to become the New York Highlanders [who later became the NY Yankees]). The problem was, that ‘major league team’ Baltimore got in 1947 was the weakest team in a rival-league to the NFL – the AAFC’s green-and-silver Baltimore Colts.

Below, photo of Municipal Stadium in Baltimore in 1947 / photo of the same venue as Memorial Stadium, during its expansion in 1953 [with the upper deck constructed).
Photo and Image credits above - Helmets from

As the AAFC vied with the NFL through the late 1940s, and the green-and-silver Baltimore Colts (I) continued to play at Municipal Stadium, the city of Baltimore decided to completely rebuild their venue, starting in 1949. Memorial Stadium was completed the next year, 1950, and originally seated 31,000. Turning its orientation 180 degrees, the new stadium was a single, horseshoe-shaped deck, with the open end facing north, [a shape and an orientation just like what became the second-incarnation of the Colts' horseshoe logo eventually (see Colts' logos section further below)]. With the NFL absorbing 3 AAFC teams after the 1949 season, the green-helmeted-Colts (I), now in the NFL for their first and only NFL season, began playing at the newly re-built Memorial Stadium in 1950. But then the original Colts went bust a few months later. When the NFL gave Baltimore another try 3 seasons later, in 1953, the Colts (II) became the second pro team to play at Memorial Stadium. One year later, the city of Baltimore hit paydirt again when they lured one of the weakest franchises in baseball, the St. Louis Browns, east, to become the Baltimore Orioles (III) in 1954. With that baseball-franchise-move secured, the city of Baltimore expanded the venue, and an upper deck (roofless), was added (and completed the next year in 1954), making the capacity 47,800. By this time the blue-and-white expansion-team Baltimore Colts (II), coached by Weeb Ewbank, had had back-to-back 3-7 seasons in their first 2 seasons in 1953 and ’54. But after 2 more losing seasons, they had a winning record for the first time in 1957 when the Colts first began using Johnny Unitas as their starting QB.

Johnny Unitas – the first legendary QB of the Colts
Johnny Unitas, the son of Lithuanian immigrants, was a Pittsburgh-born graduate of Louisville University. At college, he played the dual role of QB and Safety for the Redbirds. Unitas had been a 9th round selection by his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1955. But Unitas was cut by the Steelers in the ’55 preseason, with Steelers’ coach Walt Kiesling under the impression that Unitas was not smart enough to run an NFL offense, even though Kiesling (duh) never even let Unitas take one snap during the entire preseason. So Unitas worked in construction jobs in Pittsburgh in the latter half of 1955, to support his family, and he played semi-pro football for 6 bucks a game on the weekends.

In the following year of 1956, Unitas got a second chance, when Weeb Ewbank and the Baltimore Colts signed him, after a successful tryout. A few games into the season, backup-QB Unitas got his shot, when starting QB George Shaw got injured in the 4th game; the Colts finished 5-7. The next year, 1957, with Unitas the starting QB, the Colts went 7-5, and attendance for the Colts increased by 6.9 K, to 46 thousand per game. In 1958, the fans continued to flock to Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and the Colts saw an eye-popping 16.9-K-increase in crowd-size, to 53.6 K (93-percent-capacity), at the 57.5-K-venue [which they shared with MLB's Baltimore Orioles]. Baltimore had the third-best attendance in the NFL in 1958. In 1958, the Colts went 9-3, with Unitas leading the league in passing yardage and passing TDs, and with HB Lenny Moore gaining 1,536 yards from scrimmage, and WR Raymond Berry gaining 724 yards receiving. The Colts won the NFL Western Division by a game over the 8-4 Chicago Bears and the 8-4 LA Rams, meaning they would face the Eastern Division champs, the 9-3 New York Giants, who featured a tough defense led by LB Sam Hff, and a potent offense featuring QB Charlie Conerly, end Frank Gifford, and flanker Kyle Rote. The Giants had had to play an extra game – a tiebreaker – versus the Cleveland Browns, and New York had beaten Cleveland 10-0 a week before the final. Because of the sheer excitement the game caused, and because it was the first NFL championship game to be broadcast nationally on television (on NBC to an estimated audience of 10.8 million homes), and because of its pivotal timing in the late 1950s as the medium of television began to broadcast pro sports all across the country, the Colts versus the Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship became known as The Greatest Game Ever Played.

From, uploaded by vslice02, ‘The Greatest Game Ever: 1958 NFL Championship – Sportscentury‘ [5:33 video] (

Photo and Image credits above -
Illustrations of Colts & Giants 1958 helmets from
Photo of Unitas passing,
Photo of Giants D about to stop Ameche on 4th-and-goal, from
Ameche’s TD, photo from

The 1958 NFL title game was played at Yankee Stadium, in The Bronx, NY, to a gigantic crowd of 64,185. It was the first NFL game, play-off or otherwise, that went to sudden-death overtime, and it featured two hard-nosed teams with offenses that had the capability to move the ball down the field with lightning-quick efficiency. The Colts were coached by Weeb Ewbank, who had got his pro coaching start under Paul Brown at Cleveland. The Giants were coached by Arkansas graduate Jim Lee Howell, who coached the Giants from 1954 to 1960. Howell’s two main assistant coaches are both in the Pro Footballl Hall of Fame – the Giants’ defensive coach in 1958 was future Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry (whom Howell had converted from a Giants’ LB to defensive coordinator 2 years previous in 1956); the Giants’ offensive coach in 1958 was future Packers’ coach and football demi-god Vince Lombardi (whom Howell had hired from West Point, where Lombardi was Army’s offensive line coach 4 years previous in 1954).

The Giants/Colts 1958 title game had multiple big plays, swift scoring drives, and changes in momentum – the biggest when, in the 3rd quarter with the Colts leading 14-3, the Giants stopped Baltimore on a fourth-and-goal-to-go on the 1 yard-line, for a 4-yard-loss (see color photo above, where Unitas is about to hand off to Alan Ameche for that 4-yard-loss). Then the Giants went 95 yards for a TD in 4 plays. That drive was highlighted by a 86-yard pass play from deep within the Giants’ own territory: QB Charlie Conerly threw to WR Kyle Rote downfield left-to-right across the middle. Rote broke a tackle at mid-field, but then he fumbled when hit from behind at the Colts’ 25…Giants RB Alex Webster, who was trailing the play, recovered the fumble and ran it all the way to the 1-yard line. RB Mel Triplett then scored on a 1-yard TD run, and the Giants were back in it, now behind by only 4 points, at 14-10. The Giants then went ahead 17-14 early in the 4th quarter – Conerly’s 46-yard completion to TE Bob Schnelker set up his 15-yard TD pass to Frank Gifford. In the dying minutes of the 4th quarter, the Colts took over with 1:58 to go, at their own 14-yard line (after a Giants punt). Unitas then put together one of the most famous drives in football history. After two incomplete passes, Unitas made a clutch 11-yard completion to Lenny Moore on third down. After one more incompletion, he threw three straight passes to Raymond Berry, moving the ball 62 yards, to the Giants’ 13-yard line. A 20-yard FG by Steve Myhra with 7 seconds left sent the game into sudden-death overtime — the first overtime game in NFL history. In OT, the Giants won the toss but failed in their first possession. Then Unitas and Baltimore drove 80 yards on 13 plays on the tired New York defense, and the Colts scored on a 1 yard TD by Alan Ameche, to win the game 23-17.

The broadcast of the game by the NBC television network is credited with growing, almost overnight, the fan interest in the NFL. The 1958 NFL Championship Game marked the start of the popularity-surge for the NFL… a popularity-surge that has not abated to this day. As pro football historian Bob Carroll notes in his book When the Grass Was Real …’The next morning…for the first time in history, the National Football League was the number-one topic at watercoolers from sea to shining sea. Among the oohs over Johnny Unitas’s passes and the ahhs over Sam Huff’s tackles came many plaintive wonderings why “our town” didn’t have its own pro football team.’…{end of excerpt from page 12 of When the Grass Was Real, by Bob Carroll, published in 1993 by Simon & Schuster, available at here}.

The 6-year-old Baltimore Colts were pro football champions. The following season, in 1959, Unitas and his two main targets – WR Lenny Moore and WR Raymond Berry – led the Colts as part of the league’s top-ranked offense, and to a second-straight championship, again beating the Giants, this time by the bit-more-lopsided score of 31-16. This game was played at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium on Dec. 27, 1959, before a massive overflow crowd of 57,545 (which was about 10,000 more than official capacity of Memorial Stadium back then). The Colts scored 24 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. Unitas was voted the 1959 NFL MVP.

Unitas would go on leading the Colts all through the next decade and up to 1972, but his greatness was already established after those back-to-back NFL titles he helped the Colts win in 1958 and ’59. As his longtime Colts’ teammate Raymond Berry noted, what made Unitas great was ‘his uncanny instinct for calling the right play at the right time, his icy composure under fire, his fierce competitiveness, and his utter disregard for his own safety.’ {That quote is from this article, ‘Unitas surprised them all‘, by Bob Carter at}.

Photo credit above –

The Colts remained very competitive all through the 1960s, but only won one more NFL Championship – in 1968, when a young Don Shula was coach. But that 1968 Colts team lost, famously (or infamously) to the AFL’s New York Jets in Super Bowl III (in January 1969). The Jets, led by QB Joe Namath, were huge underdogs who just happened to be coached by none other Weeb Ewbank (who had been fired as coach of the Colts in 1962).

When the AFL/NFL merger came about two seasons later (prior to the 1970 season), the Colts were one of 3 NFL teams (the other two being the Browns and the Steelers), that the league had change over to join the 10 AFL teams in the new American Football Conference, in order to balance both conferences (AFC & NFC) at 13 teams. That same season, the Colts were back in the Super Bowl, now representing the AFC. The 1970 Colts were an unspectacular but well-balanced veteran team, led by a 37-year Johnny Unitas, with the team’s main strength in defense. The 1970 Colts’ defense was spearheaded by Pro Bowl DT Bubba Smith. Behind him were 2 solid linebackers: Pro Bowler Mike Curtis, who had 5 interceptions, and hard-tackler-pass-blocker-and-kick-blocker Ted Hendricks (a Pro Football Hall of Famer). In the secondary, Pro Bowl safety Jerry Logan had 6 interceptions for 92 return yards and 2 TDs that season, and safety Rick Volk had 4 interceptions for 61 return yards.

Super Bowl 5 is not is not really talked about much, or remembered too fondly these days because of the large amount of bad plays in the game. Later on it was often referred to as the ‘Blunder Bowl’ or the ‘Stupor Bowl’ because of all the poor play, penalties, turnovers, and refereeing mistakes. The Colts and the Cowboys committed a Super Bowl record 11 combined turnovers in the game, and the Colts’ 7 turnovers are to this day the most ever given up by the winning team in a Super Bowl. It was the first ever-Super Bowl game played on artificial turf, at the Orange Bowl in Miami (on January 17, 1971). Attendance was 79,204.

The uniforms worn in Super Bowl V are an interesting side note, because the Cowboys (who have always worn white jerseys at home since 1964) were forced to wear their unlucky old dark-royal-blue jerseys in Super Bowl V. {See this, ‘REMEMBER THE BLUE JERSEY JINX?‘, by Rob Vetrano at

Here is what it says about that in the Wikipedia page ‘Super Bowl V‘, …{excerpt} ‘As the designated home team, Dallas was forced to wear its blue jerseys for the Super Bowl under rules in place at the time, which did not allow the home team its choice of jersey color, unlike the regular season and playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl. Dallas had not worn its blue jerseys at home since 1964, as Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm opted to have the team wear white at home in order to present fans with a consistent look. … The designated home team was first allowed its choice of jersey color for Super Bowl XIII, allowing the Cowboys to wear white vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.’…{end of excerpt}.

Unitas started, but sustained a rib injury early in the second quarter, and back-up QB Earl Morrall stepped in. The Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 on a last-minute FG by rookie placekicker Jim O’Brien. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley was given the MVP award – the only time a losing Super Bowl team had one of its players win the Super Bowl MVP. Howley said the award was meaningless to him.

Colts in the late 1970s and early 1980s
They sucked. In each of the Colts’ last 6 seasons in Baltimore, the team posted losing records including a 2-14 record in 1981, and an 0-8-1 record in the strike-shortened season of 1982. They were so bad that star Stanford University QB John Elway refused to sign with them after the Colts drafted him #1 in 1983. Elway could pull this off because he threatened to simply play pro baseball instead. So Elway, an eventual Hall of Fame QB, went to the Denver Broncos instead.

Colts’ stadiums in Indianapolis
The Colts – now named the Indianapolis Colts – moved into the brand-new Hoosier Dome in late August, 1984, four months after their clandestine departure from Baltimore. To say the Indianapolis Colts had a large fan base upon arriving in the Hoosier State would be an understatement. The public demand for tickets was so overwhelming that over 143,000 requests for Colts season tickets were made in just 2 weeks.

The Hoosier Dome was an air-pressure-supported dome stadium, like the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Hoosier Dome – primarily built to attract an NFL franchise – was part of the Indiana Convention Center, with the costs split between private and public money. The Hoosier Dome had an original capacity of 60 K, and its final capacity circa 2006-08 was 55.5 K. It had astroturf until 2004, then the field was laid with fieldturf. It was named the Hoosier Dome for eleven years, then naming-rights were sold and it became the RCA Dome (from 1994 up until the venue was demolished in 2008). The Colts played at the venue for 24 seasons (1984–2007). It was sort of bland and utilitarian, but it had served its purpose – namely, to attract, catch and hold an NFL team.

However, the Colts were a basement-dweller when they arrived in Indianapolis, and they remained so for 9 out of their first 10 seasons in Indianapolis. By the mid-1990s, though, the Colts, with RB Marshall Faulk, had turned into a playoff contender, and made it to the 1995 AFC championship game (where they lost to the Steelers). Robert Irsay died in January 1997 after years of declining health, and his son Jim Irsay stepped into the role of principal owner. Jim Irsay made a brilliant move right off the bat by hiring Bill Polian as the general manager. Polian was the architect behind the early 1990s Buffalo Bills (3 consecutive Super Bowl appearances during his tenure there), and Polian also built the expansion Carolina Panthers team (which had made it to the NFC championship game in their second season). The Colts would have the number 1 overall pick for 1998, and the Colts picked QB Peyton Manning (see 2 paragraphs below).

In 2008, the Colts moved in to another multi-purpose stadium in downtown Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, which also has fieldturf, and is also roofed, but it is a retractable roof. It is the only retractable roof in the US with two moving panels that meet in a peak above the center of the stadium. The structure is quite a step up from the concrete-and-teflon Hoosier Dome. Lucas Oil Stadium, at 62,421 seat-capacity, holds about 7 K more capacity than the Hoosier Dome had in its latter years. The stadiums’s exterior is gabled and faced with a reddish-brown brick, and is trimmed with Indiana Limestone. The venue hosted Super Bowl XLVI (46), which was a thrilling encounter between the NY Giants and the NE Patriots, won by the Giants 21-17. Like when Jacksonville, FL hosted the Super Bowl, Indianapolis did not have enough hotel room occupancy, so many attendees ended up avoiding the price-gouging by booking rooms in Chicago and then driving or taking buses down to Indy (180 miles away).

Peyton Manning – the second legendary QB of the Colts
Peyton Manning is the son of former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints QB Archie Manning (and an elder brother of New York Giants QB Eli Manning). Peyton Manning graduated from Tennessee in 1997, was the #1 draft pick by the Colts in 1998 – and immediately stepped into the starting QB role. The Colts went 3-13 in 1998 in Manning’s rookie season. The following year, 1999, the Colts won ten more games and finished 13-3, but lost to the Titans in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Losing in the playoffs became a recurring nightmare for the high-scoring-but-defensively-porous Colts, as they also lost in the playoffs in 2000, in 2002, in 2003 (losing in the conference final to the Patriots), in 2004 (losing in the 2nd round again to the Patriots), and in 2005 (losing in the 2nd round to the Steelers). But in 2006, with total yardage leader Manning calling the plays and running their hurry-up offense, and with wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne both gaining over 1,300 yards, Tony Dungy’s Colts finally made it to the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLI (41) pitted the Colts (12-4) versus the Bears (13-3). It was on February 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, and had an attendance of 74,512. It was the first Super Bowl played under rainy conditions. Indianapolis overcame a 14–6 1st quarter deficit to outscore Chicago 23–3 in the last 3 quarters. Peyton Manning completed 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards, with one TD pass and one interception. The Colts won 29–17, and Manning was voted Super Bowl MVP.

From USA Today, from Sept. 13, 2006, by Jim Corbett, ‘Gone in 40 seconds: Peyton Manning’s presnap routine‘ (

Photo credit above -

Logos and helmets of the Colts
The first Baltimore Colts (the green-and-silver Colts that played 3 seasons in the AAFC, one season in the NFL, and then folded after the 1950 season), were named in honor of the horse racing industry in the state of Maryland and for the Preakness Stakes, which is one of the 3 Triple Crown thoroughbred horse races that occur each year (the Preakness Stakes is held in Baltimore at Pimlico Racetrack each May). The original Colts’ logo was a green colt with a football between its front legs leaping over an-H-shaped old-style goalpost {here is the 1950 Colts’ logo}. The second incarnation of the Colts in 1953 kept that logo, but in blue of course [the 1953 expansion Colts were named after the failed 1950 Colts, but there is no franchise-link other than the name and the aforementioned early colt-leaping-over-goalpost logo]. The 1953 expansion Colts wore, initially, a white helmet with a narrow dark-blue center stripe. They also wore a very bizarre stripe-detail for a few games in their first season, which you can see if you scroll back to the Colts’ helmet & logo history chart above, or if you click to this page at Gridiron Uniforms Database, {here (Baltimore Colts 1953 [uniforms])}. Two perpendicular blue stripes sort of made a cross at the top of the helmet (it was kind of a Phillips-screwdriver-like shape). As you might imagine, that odd design was soon scrapped. The Colts also wore plain dark blue helmets for a few games in their first year in ’53. Late the following season, 1954, the Colts’ second year, the Colts unveiled their soon-to-famous horseshoe logo. But it was a small white horseshoe on a dark-blue helmet, and the horseshoe logos were not in the center of each side of the helmet, but were, again bizarrely, at the back of the helmet behind the ear-holes and on either side of the center-stripe (see Colts’ 1954-55 helmet design below). The following year, 1955, the Colts again wore the blue-helmet-with-hidden-horseshoe. The following year, 1956, the Colts reversed the colors, so now the helmet was white and the horseshoe was blue. But the horseshoe, cryptically, still remained hidden on the back of the helmet. It was like the team was hiding their logo, afraid to show it off. Finally, in 1957 (the first year that Johnny Unitas was the starting QB, and the first year Baltimore had a winning record), the Colts unveiled their now-iconic white helmet with large blue horseshoes. Also in 1957, the Colts introduced their dual-shoulder-stripe look – also a look they have worn to this day – with the two arcing bands of the shoulder-stripes mirroring the horseshoe-logo’s arced shape. The story goes that the horseshoe’s open end is pointed up, so the good luck won’t drain out of the horseshoe. The Colts have never changed their logo or their helmet-design since, or the basic design of their jerseys – only slightly changing, three times, their shade of blue (there have been 4 different Colts’ blue through the years/ see second illustration below). And why should they mess with something so simple and direct? Sometimes the most beautiful and powerful logos are the simplest.
Below: the first horseshoe logo on a Colts helmet (1954)…
Photo credits above –

Click on image below (the 4 shades of blue the Colts have worn)…
Colts’ blue: the 4 different shades of blue the Colts have worn (1953-2013)

Baltimore Colts: 1 Super Bowl title (1970).
Indianapolis Colts: 1 Super Bowl title (2006).
The Colts franchise is 2-2 in Super Bowl appearances -
In the 1968 season, the Baltimore Colts lost Super Bowl III (3) to the New York Jets by the score of 16-7.
In the 1970 season, the Baltimore Colts won Super Bowl V (5) over the Dallas Cowboys by the score of 16-13.
In the 2006 season, the Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI (41) over the Chicago Bears by the score of 29-17.
In the 2009 season, the Indianapolis Colts lost Super Bowl XLIV (44) to the New Orleans Saints by the score of 31-17.

    Jacksonville Jaguars logo & helmet history (1995-2013) – click on image below

Jacksonville Jaguars logo & helmet history (1995-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database. Photos of Jaguars’ dual-tone black-to-real helmet [2009-12] from Illustration of Jaguars’ 2013 uniforms by Fma12 at Photo of Jaguars’ 2013 front-jersey patch logo from Photo of Jaguars’ 2013 spray-paint-accident helmet [gold-to-black color blend], from

Jaguars’ helmets at MG’s Helmets,

Jacksonville, Florida never has had a Division I college football team. This despite being situated right in the midst of the most fervent college football region in the country (the Deep South/South Atlantic Seaboard/North Florida region). What made it worse for Jacksonville football fans was the fact that their city was larger than almost all of the towns and cities that did have SEC or ACC or SWC football teams. So Jacksonville’s city leaders had been trying to get an NFL team since the 1960s. Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl Stadium had hosted the AFL All Star Game in 1967 and ’68, but after the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, Jacksonville was shut out. The best that Jacksonville could do in the 1970s and 1980s was have teams in failed rival-leagues – in the World Football League (WFL) with the Jacksonville Sharks (1974/folded before season ended); then the next year again in the WFL with the Jacksonville Express (1975/ folded along with the entire league in October 1975); and then a decade later in the United States Football League (USFL), with the Jacksonville Bulls (1984-85).

From ESPN, from Dec. 3, 2009, by John Zoni, ‘The apex of the World Football League‘ (

The ill-fated Jacksonville Sharks (1974/ folded mid-season) and the ill-fated Jacksonville Express (1975/ folded along with the entire WFL in October 1975)
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo of 1974 WFL game program from
Photo of Jacksonville Sharks’ pennant from Photo of WFL ball from Photo of first Sharks’ WFL game from Photo of 1975 Jacksonville Express media guide from Photo of Express button-pin from Photo of 1975 Express helmet from Logos from

The Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League (USFL) (1984 & 1985) [2 full seasons]
The Jacksonville Bulls played in the final two seasons of the USFL, in 1984 and 1985. In 1984, they went 6-12, averaging 46,730 per game at the Gator Bowl – the best attendance in the USFL that season. The Bulls had the USFL single game attendance record – 73,227 for their game at the 80,000-capacity Gator Bowl versus the New York Generals, on March 4, 1984 [the USFL played a spring/early summer schedule]. In 1985, with the addition of 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier (who graduated from Nebraska, had played for the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers in 1984, and later played as a 2-time Pro Bowler for the Houston Oilers and the Atlanta Falcons), the Bulls improved to 9-9 in the final year of the USFL, and the Jacksonville Bulls drew well again at 44,325 per game. The USFL played 3 full seasons (1983-85), but closed up shop in early 1986, when their antitrust lawsuit against the NFL resulted in them winning the suit but only being awarded the sum of $3. {‘USFL‘ page at}. The Jacksonville Bulls’ large support made a strong case for Jacksonville getting an NFL expansion team. That happened 7-and-a-half years later, when, in November 1993, a month after awarding Charlotte, North Carolina the 29th NFL franchise (Carolina Panthers, NFL 1995-2013), the league awarded Jacksonville, Florida the 30th NFL franchise (Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL 1995-2013).
From Our Sports Central site, ‘Jacksonville Bulls‘ (

Photo and Image credits above – Bulls’ wordmark logo (helmet logo), Photo of RB Mike Rozier w/ Bulls from Photo of Bulls’ helmet-logo-patch from Photo of back of Bulls’ helmet from Photo of Bulls running out to a crowd of 72,000 at the Gator Bowl [March, 1984] from

The biggest problem with Jacksonville getting an NFL team was the size of the city. It was big in one respect – area. Jacksonville’s city-limits sprawl to 747 square miles, which is more than twice the area of the most-populous city in the US, New York City (NYC is 302.6 square miles large by area). Jacksonville, whose city-population is around 836,000 {2012 estimate}, is the largest city by area in the country (except for 4 municipalities in Alaska). Jacksonville might be the 12th-largest city when measured by population within-city-limits, but it is the 40th largest metropolitan area in the country. That giant area that is officially the city limits of Jacksonville bloats their city-population figure. And as most everyone knows (but not this guy), it is a city’s metro-area population, and not a city’s city-population, that counts when you are talking about whether a city can support a major league team. Jacksonville’s metro-area population is 1.3 million {see this, ‘List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas‘. As well as being not that large, Jacksonville’s metropolitan-area is pretty thinly populated, too, and of all the major league cities in America (ie, cities with an NFL, MLB, NBA, and/or an NHL team), only Oklahoma City has a smaller population-density. Of the 43 American cities with a major league team, 7 are smaller in metro-area population than Jacksonville. Green Bay, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, Raleigh, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and Memphis have smaller metro-area populations than Jacksonville.

So let’s look at the 3 NFL teams from cities with a smaller metro-area population than Jacksonville – Green Bay, Buffalo, and New Orleans. Green Bay, Wisconsin, with a metro-area population of around 311,000, gets a lifetime pass on this. The beloved Green Bay Packers are the last of the small-market teams that comprised much of the early NFL. The Packers have fans everywhere, and Green Bay sells out every game (and besides, it has Milwaukee, Wisconsin in its market). New Orleans, currently the 47th-largest city in the US by metro-area population, was about the 15th-largest city in the country when the NFL made the Saints the 16th NFL franchise in 1966, and besides, despite the drastic de-populating of the New Orleans area over the last couple of decades, the Saints still draw very well (at 99.9 percent-capacity last year, averaging 72,888 per game in one of the largest venues in the league, the Superdome). Buffalo, currently the 49th-largest metro-area in the USA, is the one NFL team that on the face of it, one could compare to Jacksonville in terms of barely-enough-population-for-an-NFL-team. But unlike Jacksonville, Buffalo has one medium-sized city 60 miles to the east (Rochester, NY, which is the 51st-largest metro-area in the US with about one million in its metro-area), another medium-sized city an hours’ drive to the north (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which has over a million in its metro-area), and a giant city about 2 hours’ drive to the north (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which has over 7 million in its metro-area). Jacksonville has no cities at all like Toronto close by. Jacksonville does have Orlando, FL (with around 2.2 million) about 2 hours’ drive from the south, and Savannah, GA (with around 360,000) about 2 hours’ drive from the north, then there is the Space Coast/Daytona Beach, FL area (about 600,000). So Jacksonville only has about 4 or 5 million people within 2 hours’ drive, while Buffalo has over 10 million within two hours’ drive.

From the New York Times, from December 1, 1993, by Frank Litsky, ‘PRO FOOTBALL; N.F.L. Expansion Surprise: Jacksonville Jaguars‘ (

Look at this map below, and check out Jacksonville’s fan base. On the map, the Jaguars’ fan base is about the size of the state of Connecticut, and is the second smallest fan base by area (ahead of only the New York Jets in Queens County, NY), and is the smallest NFL fan base when you translate their territory into demographic terms. I say that because Greater Jacksonville has around 1.3 million people, and the adjacent counties which comprise the rest of the Jaguars’ fan-base are sparsely populated, making the Jaguars’ fan-base population about 1.7 million (and that is being generous); while Queens County, NY (ie, the Jets’ fan-base) has a population of 2.2 million, plus there are many Jets supporters throughout Long Island as well as throughout the rest of the metro-NYC area. {Source of map, with the data accumulation for the map explained: ‘NFL Fans on Facebook [a map by Sean Taylor'}.


Jaguars' Stadiums, in Jacksonville and in London, England
The Gator Bowl Stadium had opened in 1928, as a 7,600-capacity stadium known as the Fairfield Stadium, for the city's 3 high school football teams back then. After World War II, the Fairfield Stadium started hosting the then-new annual college postseason bowl game called the Gator Bowl, and 2 years later in 1948, its capacity was raised to 18,000 and the venue was renamed the Gator Bowl Stadium. The next year, 1949, its capacity was doubled to 36,000. In 1957, the Gator Bowl Stadium was again expanded and renovated, now with the capacity of 62,000. In 1974 it was expanded to a 72,000-capacity. By the mid-1970s, the attendance at the annual Gator Bowl each January regularly reached 60,000–70,000. The only other primary tenant was the annual Florida Gators/Georgia Bulldogs game - which since 1933 has been held in Jacksonville and since 1946 has been held at the Gator Bowl Stadium, with only three exceptions: in 1943, when Florida did not field a football team due to World War II, and then in 1994 and 1995, when the contest was held at the respective schools' campus stadiums due to the reconstruction of the venue for the debut of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. The structure was almost entirely razed in 1994, as part of the re-build. Jacksonville essentially built a new stadium. The new stadium was renamed Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (then it was known as Alltel Stadium from 1997 through 2006, and has been known as EverBank Field since August 2010). When the stadium re-opened in 1995, almost none of the original infrastructure remained from the pre-1994 days, except for the west upper deck (which was added in 1982) and the ramping system.

The city of Jacksonville and Alltel Stadium (as it was known then) hosted Super Bowl XXXIX (39), which was played in February 2005 (and was won by the Patriots over the Eagles). Jacksonville did not have near enough hotel capacity for the influx of attendees, so 5 ocean liners were commissioned to cruise up the St. Johns River and dock in the city to provide more hotel room capacity. This only underscores how small a city Jacksonville really is. Especially when you consider that Jacksonville is a warm weather coastal city, but it still does not draw a significant amount of tourist trade.

EverBank Field has a capacity of 76,867, but because of declining ticket sales in recent years, since 2005 that capacity has been reduced by about 9,500 - with massive tarpaulins covering whole swathes of the upper deck (see photo below), for most home games - like they do at poor-drawing MLB stadiums in St. Petersburg, FL (for Tampa Bay Rays games) and in Oakland, CA (for Oakland A's games).

Photo credit above -
Photo unattributed at

There was no threat of declining attendance all through the Jaguars' first decade. The Jaguars started out so strong, making the playoffs in their second season in 1996, where they advanced with 2 playoff wins all the way to the 1996 AFC Conference final. Then the Jags also made the playoffs in the next 3 seasons (1997, '98, and '99). But the team fell into mediocrity by the early-2000s, and by 2004 they saw serious attendance declines so the following season (2005), they reduced the stadium capacity by almost 10,000 (to 67,246), and started using those embarrassing tarps to cover the upper decks. By 2009, the Jaguars were only drawing around 50,000 per game and had 7 of 8 of their home games blacked out in their home-television-market that year. Then the team slashed ticket prices. Jacksonville now makes some of the lowest profit on tickets per home game in the league, and their average ticket price in 2013 was third-lowest {see this, '2013 NFL Tickets: Team by Team Average Prices' (}. In the last 3 years attendance has rebounded to around 62 to 64,000 per game, and around 92 to 96 percent-capacity (but don't forget that capacity has been reduced by 9,500, so the Jaguars aren't really playing to 94 percent-capacity, they are really playing to around 83 percent-capacity) (see recent Jaguars' attendance data in the caption below).
Photo credits above - Photo of distant exterior of Wembley by Rob at and at

Now, starting in 2013, for the next 4 seasons, Jacksonville will be playing one home game per season in London, England. The owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan (who made his fortune in SUV and truck OEM parts [original equipment manufacturer parts]), has secured one Jacksonville Jaguars’ home game per season to be played at Wembley Stadium (II) in north-west London, which has hosted at least one NFL game annually since 2007. {see this, ‘Jags to play 4 London home games‘ ( from 21 Aug. 2013)}. That doesn’t sound like an owner who has much confidence in his team’s fan base. Khan also recently bought an English first division football club – a Premier League club called Fulham FC, who are based in West London, less than 10 miles from where Jacksonville will be playing one game for each of the next 4 years. Fulham FC is a solid but unassuming club with a 25,000-capacity stadium that basically cannot be expanded much more (being situated in a residential neighborhood right up against the River Thames), and the club does well just to remain in the first division. If you connect the dots you can see that Khan’s NFL franchise will perhaps not be called the Jacksonville Jaguars in the near future. Maybe they will be called the Los Angeles Jaguars. Or maybe they will be called the London Jaguars. At the press conference announcing the Jaguars’ 4 London games, as it says in the article linked to above …’Goodell reaffirmed his commitment to expanding to multiple games in England and eventually establishing a franchise there’. Here is what a Jaguars fan said in response to a Florida Times-Union article about the Jaguars’ 4-games-in-London deal …’I am skeptical of the London maneuver for different reasons. It has very little potential to actually help Jacksonville. It may help the Jaguars, but not the City. Even if Brits become Jags fan, and actually fly all the way to the States to catch a game (which is far fetched), does anybody actually think they are going to spend the bulk of their money in Jacksonville? They are probably going to stay in Ponte Vedra or St. Augustine. And besides the actual game, they will be visiting Rat World in Orlando or traveling up to Savannah. Furthermore, 1 to 2 games a year being played in London is a slap in the face to loyal Jags fans. What’s good for the Jags isn’t always good for Jacksonville.’…(that comment was from BEARSHARK at

[Note: it has been brought to my attention that Shad Khan intends to financially support the coming waterfront re-development in Jacksonville, which of course, severely undercuts my premise that Khan may intend to move the Jaguars franchise out of Jacksonville/ see comments #2 & #3 at the bottom of this post, and thanks to commenter Rick for that.]

In case you are wondering, the air distance from Jacksonville, Florida to London, England is 4,266 miles (6,866 km.).

The colors and helmet logos of the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars colors are teal, black, and yellow-gold. Their first helmet was black, with a snarling, teal-tongued Jaguar head, and a black facemask. In 2009, the team first started tinkering with dual-tone color effects. Here is what it says at ‘Jacksonville Jaguars/uniforms‘ at the team’s page on Wikipedia…’The final change made to the Jaguars’ uniforms in 2009 was to the helmet. The new helmet and facemask are black just like the old ones, but when light hits the new ones a certain way, both the helmet and face mask will sparkle with a shiny teal appearance. These are the first helmets in professional football which change color with different angles of light. The logo and number decals also incorporate this effect.’…{end of excerpt}.

{You can see Jaguars (and Vikings and Dolphins) uniform changes for 2013 at the following link at Gridiron Uniform Database, from Aug. 2013, by Bill Schaefer, ‘New for 2013‘ (}.

Now in 2013, along with an updated snarling-teal-tongued-jaguar’s-head logo, the Jaguars have unveiled their second dual-tone helmet. This one looks like the equipment manager had an accident with a can of black spray paint. The new Jaguars’ helmet is basically black in front and gold in back (with a black facemask) – with black color around the forehead and the helmet’s ear-flaps, and with the color shifting from matte-black to a brief section of a brownish color (around the logo at the center of each side of the helmet), then shifting to a metallic gold on the whole of the back of the helmet. Also in 2013, the teal in the Jaguars’ color scheme has been moved to a trim color, with the primary color now essentially being black (and with more gold than in the past). De-emphasizing the teal in their color scheme was probably a good decision, because teal as a major league sports team’s color is a played-out concept that most self-respecting sports fans want no part of these days – teal has basically jumped the shark. As to the new helmet, well, some people might like the new Jaguars helmet design. I decided to wait and see how they looked in a game on television, and now that I have seen the Jaguars’ new helmet in action, I can tell you what I think…I think the Jaguars’ new dual-tone helmet looks ridiculous, and with the extra-busy stripe detailing on the Jaguars’ new pants, the least-supported team in the NFL only looks more ridiculous.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have never made a Super Bowl appearance [no Super Bowl appearances in 18 seasons up to 2012]. They are one of only 4 teams in the NFL to have never reached a Super Bowl final. The other teams in this dubious category are the Detroit Lions (no Super Bowl appearances in all possible seasons [47 seasons up to 2012]), the Cleveland Browns (no Super Bowl appearances in 44 seasons up to 2012), and the Houston Texans (no Super Bowl appearances in 11 seasons up to 2012).

    Tennessee Titans logo & helmet history (1960-2013) – click on image below

Tennessee Titans logo & helmet history (1960-2012)
Titans/Oiler’ 50th anniversary patch from Illustration of Titans’ uniforms by JohnnySeoul at Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database. Photo of Titans’ helmet from

Oilers/Titans’ helmets at MG’s Helmets,

From, from 2009, ‘Franchise Celebrates 50th Season‘.
From, ‘Houston Oilers logo history‘ (’.

Here is a photo of a 1960 Oilers’ game program from [note: there are many other old AFL programs you can see at that site {at index at bottom of page there}].

The Houston Oilers – a team owned by an actual Texas oilman
The original NFL franchise in Houston, Texas was the Houston Oilers, who were a charter member of the AFL in 1960, and became an NFL team following the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, then moved to Nashville, Tennessee after the 1996 season, becoming the Tennessee Oilers in 1997 and then the Tennessee Titans in 1999. The 90-year-old Bud Adams was and still is the owner of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans’ franchise. Adams in his heyday was an outsize personality who was essentially a cartoon-version of a Texas oilman-come-to-life (ie, giant office with wet bar and water fountain, giant 10-gallon hats, and bluster to spare), who had a tendency to micro-manage his franchise. In early 1959, Adams had unsuccessfully tried to buy the NFL team the Chicago Cardinals. Another Texas oilman who also wanted to own an NFL franchise then came into the picture, AFL founder Lamar Hunt. Hunt, heir to the massive H.L. Hunt oil fortune, had also wanted to buy an NFL franchise, but found that, circa 1958, no NFL teams were up for sale, and that the ultra-conservative NFL had absolutely no interest in expansion (back then). So Lamar Hunt simply formed another pro football league. Lamar Hunt put together ownership groups in 6 cities (and eventually in 8 cities) and launched the American Football League (IV) in 1959, to begin play in 1960. Hunt himself became owner of the AFL charter member the Dallas Texans (the future Kansas City Chiefs). Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on the ‘History of the Houston Oilers‘…”Adams was an influential member of the eight original AFL owners, since he, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and Buffalo Bills founder Ralph Wilson were more financially stable than the other five (all three would go on to own their franchises for over forty years, whereas the others pulled out by the 1980s).”…{end of excerpt}.

Early success for the Oilers after a crucial court case was decided in their favor
The Oilers were the first dominant team in the AFL of the 1960s, appearing in the first 3 AFL title games and winning the first 2 of them. Under coach Lou Rymkus, the Houston Oilers won the 1960 American Football League Championship Game, 24-16 over the Los Angeles Chargers before 32,183 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston on Jan.1, 1961. The game was originally scheduled to be played at the then-101,000-capacity Los Angeles Coliseum, but the AFL league office hastily changed the venue to Houston so there would not be an embarrassing 60-thousand-empty-seats scenario. The following season, now coached by Wally Lemm, Houston again beat the Chargers, this time by the score of 10-3 (the Chargers had moved from LA down to San Diego by then, and the 1961 AFL final was played at the then-34K-capacity Balboa Stadium in San Diego, CA before a crowd of 29,556).

In both of the first two AFL title games, Houston halfback Billy Cannon was the game’s MVP. Cannon, as an LSU halfback out of Philadelphia, Mississippi, had been the 1959 Heisman Trophy winner. The bidding war to sign Cannon between the AFL and the NFL in early 1960 ended in a court case which the new league (and thus the Oilers) won. Here is Bud Adams’ recounting of how he signed Cannon from under the nose of the Rams and the NFL…{excerpt from page 24 of When the Grass Was Real, by Bob Carroll}…’ ‘I could just tell something was up because I couldn’t get [Cannon] on the telephone, couldn’t find him or anything. So I called Alvin Roy, who ran a health club in Baton Rouge where Cannon lifted weights. I knew Alvin had to know where Billy was. He said he hadn’t seen Billy, so I said, “Look, if you see him, will you just tell him that I’ll pay double whatever they paid him”. It wasn’t but fifteen minutes later that [Cannon] called me back. He had signed with the Rams, but I didn’t figure they’d blow the whistle on it, because he still had the Sugar Bowl to play. So we signed him under the goalposts after the Sugar Bowl’…{end of excerpt}.

The judge, in the suit that the Rams and the NFL had brought against the Oilers and the AFL, sided with the Oilers, reasoning that it would have been unfair to Cannon otherwise, and that the Rams had taken advantage of the naive Cannon and had not allowed him the knowledge of a better offer. Burn. Signing Billy Cannon gave the AFL instant credibility, and it was the first signing the new league made that put them on the map. It also didn’t hurt that Cannon was the real deal, and helped bring Bud Adams’ franchise the only two titles the team has ever won, to this day. Also prominent for the Oilers in their first few seasons was legendary QB/placekicker George Blanda. Blanda had been in the NFL since 1949, and would play up to 1975 (Blanda played until he was 48 years old, with 26 seasons in pro gridiron football, the all-time record; he retired as an Oakland Raider in January, 1976).

QB George Blanda, the ageless wonder who came out of retirement with the Oilers to become the unlikely king of the Touchdown Pass
George Blanda, the son of a Slovak-born Pittsburgh-area coal miner, had been QB and placekicker at Kentucky back when Bear Bryant was the coach of the Wildcats. Graduating in 1948, Blanda was a 12th round pick by the Chicago Bears in 1949. With the Bears he also saw some duty as a back-up linebacker in addition to his placekicking and back-up quarterback role. In 1952 Blanda threw his first TD passes – 8. The next year, 1953, now the starting QB, he threw 14 TD passes. But by 1958, his QB role had diminished to just 7 pass plays for the whole season, and he discovered that George Halas did not intend for him to continue his dual-role as quarterback and placekicker, but to only be the kicker for the Bears in 1959. Blanda would have none of that, so he retired. But a year later in 1960, with the appearance of a new rival league, a 33-year-old Blanda opted to come out of retirement and try his luck in the upstart AFL. With this development, some of the more hide-bound members of the pro football media then called Blanda an ‘NFL reject’. I guess George Blanda had the last laugh on that one {George Blanda at}. Blanda was the starting QB/placekicker of the title-winning Oilers in 1960, and in ’61 the Oilers were AFL champions again as Blanda passed for 3,300 yards and a then-record-setting 36 TDs and was voted the 1961 AFL MVP (Dan Marino bested Blanda’s [and YA Tittle's] touchdown-pass record with 48 TD passes in 1984; then Peyton Manning of the Colts set the record with 49 TD passes in 2004; then Tom Brady of the Patriots set the current record with 50 TD passes in 2007). Also in 1961, Oilers’ flanker Charlie Hennigan set a record with 1,736 yards receiving (a pro-football record that stood for 34 years). George Blanda later said: “I think the AFL was capable of beating the NFL in a Super Bowl game as far back as 1960 or ’61. I just regret we didn’t get the chance to prove it.”

The Houston Oilers made the play-offs in 5 of the 10 AFL seasons, and were tied for the second-most AFL titles (tied with the Buffalo Bills with 2 AFL titles, and behind the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs franchise with 3 AFL titles). But because their heyday was in the AFL’s early years, when the new and somewhat disorganized league had a rather weak media presence, today the championship-winning Houston Oilers’ teams of 1960 and 1961 are largely forgotten by NFL fans. By the time the AFL/NFL merger took place (prior to the 1970 season), the Oilers were on their way to becoming a basement-dweller.
Photo-credits above – George Blanda, unattributed at Billy Cannon, unattributed at Photo of Charlie Hennigan trading card from

Colors and helmet logos of the Oilers/Titans franchise
The original Houston Oilers wore light blue jerseys and light blue helmets with a plain-but-striking oil-derrick logo in white, with a thin white-center-stripe. Their pale blue was accompanied by red and white trim colors (red trim was added to the helmet-stripes in 1964). But why light blue? Because Bud Adams really liked that shade of blue. Silver, in the form of a silver helmet and silver pants, was added to the Oilers’ color scheme for the years 1966 to 1971 (6 seasons), and on the silver Oiler helmet the oil derrick was royal-blue-and-red. Then the Oilers dropped the silver, made the oil derrick white-with-red-trim, and switched back to light blue helmets for 3 seasons – 1972, ’73, and ’74. This spell coincided with the franchise’s low point, when the hapless powder-blue-helmeted Oiler teams of ’72 and ’73 both went 1-13. When ex-Chargers’ coach Sid Gilllman came in in 1974, the team improved to 7-7, and the next year, when the Oilers switched to white helmets in 1975, and went 10-4, they were already on their way to becoming the play-off-bound force they became in the late 1970s, when, coached by the gentlemanly U.A. ‘Bum’ Phillips and powered by the rock-solid running back Earl Campbell, the Oilers came up just short of a Super Bowl trip and lost in the AFC Conference Final for 2 straight seasons to eventual Super Bowl champions the Pittsburgh Steelers (in the 1978 and 1979 seasons).

That soon-to-be-iconic white helmet-with-red-and-blue-oil-derrick was what the Oilers wore from 1975 all the way to 1998. This white helmet originally had the stripe-detail and the derrick’s core-color as Oiler light blue, with grey facemasks – and that was for the first 6 years (1975 to ’80) of this helmet design. Then, the stripe-detail and the derrick’s core-color as a slightly darker blue (a pale royal blue a bit darker than the Oiler-light-blue of the team jerseys), and with red facemasks, from 1979 to 1998. This was the Oilers’ helmet for the final 22 seasons of the team’s spell in Houston (up to 1996), and the first 2 seasons the franchise was in Tennessee and still called the Oilers (1997-98).

When Adams moved his franchise to Tennessee in 1997, he kept the color scheme and the oil-derrick-logo for the 2 years the team was called the Tennessee Oilers (1997, in Memphis, TN; and 1998, in Nashville, TN). Then when the franchise changed their name to the Tennessee Titans in 1999, and the team finally moved into their purpose-built new stadium (see 2 paragraphs below), dark blue was added to the light blue/red/white color scheme, with the Titans’ uniforms being mainly light blue and navy blue (including navy blue pants). The franchise stayed with a white helmet, but with a totally new logo and a navy blue facemask. The Titan’s helmet also featured a flared pair of navy blue center-stripes which tapered out as they moved back from the forehead. The red in the Titans’ new color scheme only showed up in the detail of their new logo on their helmet.

The Titans’ official logo and helmet logo is an airborne circular-shield, featuring a cross-guard-bearing-sword-shaped ‘T’ and 3 stars (a nod to the 3-star-in-circle device on the flag of Tennessee) – the shield has a trail of flames, similar to a comet [in Greek mythology, the titan Prometheus was the bringer of fire to man via a blazing stone hurled from the heavens to Earth].

Oilers’ stadiums in Houston
The Oilers first venue was the well-remembered and cozy Jeppesen Stadium in Houston {Jeppesen Stadium at}. Jeppesen Stadium had a capacity then of 35,000 [the venue was the home of the Houston Cougars' NCAA football team from 1946–1950 and 1998–2012; the Oilers also hosted 2 AFL title games there in 1960 {see previous section} and in 1962 {see this about the longest pro football game ever, the '1962 American Football League Championship Game'}; also the MLS team the Houston Dynamo played soccer at Jeppesen Stadium from 2006 to 2011; the venue was demolished in 2012]. The Oilers played 5 seasons at Jeppesen Stadium, then in 1965 Bud Adams tried to negotiate a tenants’ lease with the owners of the then-newly-built Astrodome. The Houston Sports Authority, which owned both the MLB team the Houston Astros and the Astrodome, initially wanted more than Adams was willing to pay for rent, so Adams had his Oilers play for 3 seasons (1965-67) at another college football venue in the city, Rice Stadium (of Rice University), home of the Rice Owls – which had a gargantuan capacity of 70,000 back then [note: Rice Stadium hosted Super Bowl VII in January 1974]. Adams and the HSA/Astrodome owners finally reached an agreement after the 1967 season, and so the Houston Oilers moved into the Astrodome in 1968. The team would play there for the rest of the franchise’s years in Houston (for 29 seasons, until 1996). So in 1968, the AFL’s Houston Oilers became the first pro football team in the US to play in a domed stadium.

Oilers/Titans’ stadiums in the state of Tennessee
Bud Adams moved his franchise because he said the city of Houston wouldn’t work with him to find a suitable football-only replacement venue for the run-down Astrodome. But the problem was, Nashville wouldn’t have a new stadium ready for 2 more years, and the only other options in the state all had drawbacks…Nashville, TN’s Vanderbilt University wouldn’t let beer be served at their small-for-the-NFL, 40,000-capacity venue, so that was out. The Tennessee Volunteers’ huge 100,000-plus-capacity stadium, Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN was just too big, and Knoxville was too far off-the-beaten-track. The final option, which the franchise took for 1997 – the then-62,340-capacity Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN – turned out to be a terrible choice. First of all, at that time (ca. 1997), major road-work was being done on the main highway route from Nashville to Memphis, turning the regularly-2-hour-drive to a 5-hour-traffic-snarl nightmare, so very few Nashville-residents traveled to Memphis to see the Tennessee Oilers play in ’97. And meanwhile, Memphis residents, so mad at the NFL for all the years that the league refused to take seriously Memphis’ attempts to secure an NFL franchise, effectively boycotted Tennessee Oilers’ home games in Memphis. The stadium was less than half-full for 7 of the 8 Tennessee Oilers’ games the franchise played in Memphis (at around 27,000 or less), and the 1997 season-ending home game versus Pittsburgh ended in abject humiliation for Adams as tens of thousands of Steelers fans bussed down or drove down (or flew down) from the north end of the Appalachians and turned the Liberty Bowl into a de-facto Steelers’ home game, with an estimated three-quarters of the 57,000 in attendance there being Pittsburgh fans (Pittsburgh won, of course). Adams was so embarrassed by this case of poetic justice for his carpet-bagging franchise that he swallowed his pride and had the Oilers play 1998 at the dry, and too-small-for-the-NFL 40K-capacity Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.

The city of Nashville and Davidson County, TN would be the owners of the new stadium in downtown Nashville that the newly-renamed Tennessee Titans moved into in August, 1999. Now known as LP Field, the venue began as the 67,700-capacity Adelphia Coliseum, until that bent corporation went broke (eventually going belly-up with its boss, John Rigas, in jail). Then the venue was called The Coliseum for 4 years as they tried to scare up some more naming-rights money, which they did in 2006, which was also the year the last slight stadium-expansion took place. What’s LP? It is a manufacturing company specializing in wood-particle-board, based in Nashville, which was formerly called Louisiana-Pacific. Since 2006, the stadium has had a capacity of 69,143.

Music City miracle
My therapist told me it might be good for me to get closure on this incident & the mental-complex it has caused me as a Bills fan, if I talked about it, so I made the illustration below. Just kidding – us Bills fans can’t afford therapists! Anyway, hats off to Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher, and to the 1999 Titans’ coaching staff, and to the 1999 Titans players – for coming up with this play, for practicing it every week that season, and for flawlessly executing the play…making for one of the most sublime moments in NFL history. Sigh.

Youtube video – ‘Music City Miracle-Actual TV Broadcast‘, uploaded by Chris Lee at

Image credits above –
Music City Miracle-Actual TV Broadcast‘, uploaded by Chris Lee at
Helmet illustrations from
Graphic art: ‘Music City Miracle’ by Hmize, can be purchased at

The Houston Oiers won 2 AFL titles (1960, 1961).
The Titans/Oilers’ franchise is 0-1 in Super Bowl appearances (lost in the 1999 season to the Rams).


Thanks to Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site at, for the illustrations of the helmets on the map page.

Thanks to, for several of the logos and for dates of logos,

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘AFC South‘ (

Thanks to pro football historian Bob Carroll, for his excellent history of pro football in the 1960s, When the Grass Was Real, published in 1993 by Simon & Schuster, and available at here}.

Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving the permission to use the football uniforms illustrations {GUD}.

January 31, 2013

NFL, 1936 season and 1937 season – with a map featuring 1937 final standings and 1937 uniforms & thumbnail profiles of the 10 teams / Plus the greatest triple threat in NFL history, Sammy Baugh / Plus Helmet History charts of the 9 currently-active teams from 1937 (Cardinals, Bears, Packers, Giants, Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Steelers, and Rams).

Filed under: NFL>1937 map/season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 9:43 pm

NFL, 1937 map, with all-time helmet histories

Note: Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the Helmet History charts of the 9 currently-active teams from 1937 (1937 NFL teams: Chicago Bears, Chicago Cardinals, Cleveland Rams, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York football Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh football Pirates, Washington Redskins).

    1936 NFL -

1936 NFL teams’ uniforms can be seen at the following link, 1936 NFL teams [uniforms] (

The 9-team NFL that made up the 1936 NFL season looked like this (teams listed in final order of finish):
Eastern Division
Boston Redskins, 1936 NFL Championship Game finalist.
Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Giants
Brooklyn Dodgers
Philadelphia Eagles

Western Division
Green Bay Packers, 1936 NFL Championship Game finalist.
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Chicago Cardinals

In 1936, the NFL played its 17th season. It was the first season where each of the teams played an equal amount of games (12 games). Yes, that is correct – it took 17 years for the NFL to finally have a season with a balanced schedule. (This is one of several reasons why the NFL doesn’t really like to mention, let alone celebrate, the league’s fly-by-night and quasi-bush-league early days.) The 1936 NFL champions were the Green Bay Packers, who beat the Boston Redskins 21-6, in a game played at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, NY. The 1936 NFL Championship Game was the only NFL title game [pre-Super Bowl era] in which the team with the home field advantage declined to play at their own stadium, and instead elected to play at a neutral site. The Boston Redskins, who had won the Eastern Division, had rights to home field for the 1936 title game (it was done on a rotating basis back then). The Redskins moved the venue to New York City because the Boston Redskins’ owner, George Preston Marshall, was so angry about the small turnout for what would be the last game the Boston Redskins played in Boston, Massachusetts. That game, their final game of the 1936 regular season, was a 30–0 win over the Pittsburgh (football) Pirates, and only 4,813 fans showed up at Fenway Park in Boston (where the Redskins played then). So in spite (and Marshall was a spiteful man), Marshall had the 1936 title game moved to New York City at the Polo Grounds, where the New York (football) Giants played their home NFL games [renting the stadium from the stadium-owners, the New York (baseball) Giants of the National League]. [Note: on the map page you can see 2 photos of the Polo Grounds, as it looked for Giants' NFL games (one is an action photo from a 1937 NFL game of New York vs. Brooklyn, and another photo is an undated aerial photo of the Polo Grounds in football configuration {you can see them at the far right-hand side of the map page near the blue-and-red caption-box})].

The 1936 NFL Championship Game was the 4th that the league had played {origins of NFL playoffs, here, ‘NFL/Playoff and championship history/Early years/1932 playoff game/Before the Super Bowl (}. The Western Division winners were the Green Bay Packers, who were the last-surviving small-town team in the NFL and who had won 3 straight NFL championships in 1929, 1930, and 1931.

1936 NFL Championship Game, Green Bay 21, Boston 6, at Polo Grounds, New York City. So in 1936, Green Bay claimed their fourth NFL title [all-time, the Packers have won 9 NFL Championship titles and 4 NFL Super Bowl titles].

    The 1937 NFL season

1937 NFL teams’ uniforms can be seen at the following link, 1937 NFL teams [uniforms] (

For 1937, the NFL added a 10th team, with the expansion team the Cleveland Rams. The Cleveland Rams were only technically an expansion team, because the same owner, and 4 players, were part of the 1936 Cleveland Rams of the AFL of 1936 [this AFL, AFL (II) was the second of four rival-leagues called the AFL, the last, of course, being the successful AFL of 1960-69, which ended up getting all 10 of its teams into the NFL in 1970 with the AFL/NFL merger].

If you are interested in reading further on the Rams’ early days, you can click on the following link, to my profile of the franchise here, ‘NFL Thumbnail Histories: the Cleveland Rams/ Los Angeles Rams/ St. Louis Rams.’

Like the 1936 Cleveland Rams of the AFL (II), the 1937 Cleveland Rams of the NFL wore red and black. [The Rams changed to dark blue and yellow-orange the following season, 1938.] The Rams were placed in the Eastern Division, balancing the two NFL divisions then at 5 teams each. Most importantly, the NFL returned, after a 3-year spell, back to a league set-up that featured an even number of teams. [Having an even number of teams is something that is always helpful for an organized league to have, because it makes scheduling less complicated, but it is even more important for a gridiron football league to have an even number of teams - because an odd number of teams means that one team has to sit out each week.]

The other change in league membership in 1937 was that the Redskins franchise moved from Boston to the nation’s capital in Washington, DC. The Redskins began playing at the Major League baseball team the Washington Senators’ Griffith Stadium (you can see an undated photo of the Redskins playing at Griffith Stadium on the map page [lower center of page]).

The 1937 NFL regular season
Midway through the 1937 NFL’s 11-game season, the Chicago Bears, coached by owner George Halas and led by an aging but still effective Bronko Nagurski at fullback, were unbeaten (5–0) in the Western Division, while the New York Giants were leaders in the Eastern Division (4–1). At the Polo Grounds on October 31, the Bears and the Giants played to a 3–3 tie. The Giants and Bears held their leads in their divisions through the middle and latter parts of the ’37 season, with the Bears clinching a spot for the title game with a 13–0 win over Detroit at the University of Detroit Stadium on November 25th.

The Giants, on the other hand, lost their lead. On December 5, the final game of the 1937 season had Washington (7–3 and .700) traveling to New York (6–2–2 and .750). A win or a tie would have given the Giants the Eastern title, but the Redskins, propelled by rookie QB Sammy Baugh, won 49–14, and got the division crown and the trip to Chicago to face the Bears in the 1937 NFL Championship game. The Redskins were coached by former New York Giants End Ray Flaherty (who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976). But despite the Redskins’ potent and innovative passing-oriented offense, the Redskins were the decided underdogs to the dominant pro football team of that era, the Monsters of the Midway, the Chicago Bears.

Below, 1937 NFL final standings of the regular season…

    1937 NFL Championship Game, December 12, 1937 at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL.
    Washington Redskins 28, Chicago Bears 21.

It was so cold there that day at Wrigley Field on the North Side of Chicago that spectators tore up parts of the stadium to build large bonfires to keep warm. Both teams wore rubber-soled shoes to gain a better footing. The frozen, ice-shard laden and slippery surface of the field left players cut, bloody and dazed. The lead in the game changed hands 4 times. But the ahead-of-its-time passing-oriented offense of the unheralded Redskins prevailed in the end. The Redskins’ rookie QB Sammy Baugh went 17 for 34 for 352 passing yards and 3 TD passes. Those were unheard-of numbers for that era. Redskins’ coach Ray Flaherty further exploited Baugh’s passing prowess in that game by inventing, on that very day there in Chicago, the behind-the-scrimmage-line screen pass. Sammy Baugh completed three long touchdown passes in the 3rd quarter – 55 yards and 78 yards to End Wayne Miller; then the 35-yarder to Wingback Ed Justice that took the lead for good. The Washington defense held the Bears scoreless in the 4th quarter, and the Washington Redskins were professional gridiron football champions for the first time. Attendance was 15,878.

Below, via, a newsreel of the 1937 NFL Championship Game, December 12, 1937 at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL – Washington Redskins 28, Chicago Bears 21
Newsreel: World Football Crown – 1937‘ (Pathegram newsreel via, posted by weidvideos).

Below is an illustration which includes a screen-shot from the 1937 newsreel of the 1937 NFL Championship Game (linked to above) between the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins…
Image and Photo credits above -
Illustration of Bears’ and Redskins’ uniforms from
Screenshot of Pathegram newsreel via, posted by weidvideos.

1937 Washington Redskins season‘ ( [note: this link includes a team photo of the Redskins at Soldier Field in Chicago in Aug. 1938, 8 months after they had beaten the Bears for the title at Wrigley Field.]

From the Washington Redskins’ official site, from Feb.12, 2012, by Michael Richman, ‘Flashback: Redskins’ First season In D.C.

From NFL Network – ‘Top Ten Most Versatile Players, number one: Sammy Baugh‘ (3:31 video from
In the video linked to above, pro football historian Ray Didinger says, “You’re talking about one guy who was Peyton Manning, Ray Guy, and Ronnie Lott, all in one…” That one guy was Sammy Baugh, the QB/P/DB of the Washington Redskins for 16 seasons from 1937 to 1952. Slingin’ Sammy Baugh was a Texas-born halfback out of TCU. Baugh helped pioneer the quarterback’s role in the modern football game. Baugh, like many of his contemporaries, played both offense and defense – he excelled as a defensive safety, plus he took the Redskins’ punting duties. Baugh threw for 168 TD passes in a 16-year career for Washington. Baugh retired in 1952. In 1963 he was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

From, the salient points of Sammy Baugh’s NFL career…
» Drafted 6th overall in the first round of the 1937 draft.
» All-NFL seven times.
» NFL passing leader six times.
» NFL passing, punting AND interception champ, 1943.
» Only player to lead the NFL in an offensive, defensive, and special teams category.
» Top punter in NFL history.
» Career records: 21,886 yards, 187 TDs passing, 45.1-yard punting average, 31 interceptions.
» Only player in Redskin history to have his jersey retired (33).

From the Pop History Dig, ‘Annals of Sport – “Slingin’ Sammy” [Baugh]‘.

    Helmet Histories of the 9 oldest-still-active NFL teams (all teams still active from at least 1937)

Est. 1898 as the Independent semi-pro team the Morgan Athletic Club of Chicago, IL (Morgan Athletic Club {Independent}, 1898). / Name changed to Racine Normals (Racine Normals {Independent}, 1899-1901) [Racine being the street where the team's football field (Normal Park) was located, in the South Side of Chicago]. / In 1901 name changed to Racine Cardinals (Racine Cardinals {Independent}, 1901-06;1913-18; 1918-19). / Joined NFL [APFA] in 1920 as the Racine Cardinals (NFL [APFA], 1920-21). / In 1922 name changed to Chicago Cardinals (NFL, 1922-1959). / In 1960 moved to St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Cardinals (NFL, 1960-1987). / In 1988 moved to Greater Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Cardinals (NFL, 1988-93). / In 1994 name changed to Arizona Cardinals (NFL, 1994-2013).
Arizona Cardinals Helmet History -
Arizona Cardinals Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1919 as the Independent semi-pro team the Decatur Staleys (of the A.E. Staley Co.) of Decatur, IL. / Joined NFL [APFA] in 1920 as the Decatur Staleys (NFL, 1920). / In 1921 moved to Chicago, IL: Chicago Staleys (NFL [APFA], 1921). / In 1922 their name changed to Chicago Bears (NFL, 1922-2013).
Chicago Bears Helmet History -
Chicago Bears Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1919 as the Independent semi-pro team the Green Bay Packers (of the Indian Packing Co.) of Green Bay, WI. / Joined NFL [APFA] in 1921, Green Bay Packers (NFL, 1921-2013).
Green Bay Packers Helmet History –
Green Bay Packers Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1925 as an NFL expansion franchise, the New York (football) Giants (1925-2013) of New York City, NY.
New York Giants Helmet History -
New York Giants Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1929 as the Independent semi-pro team the Portsmouth Spartans of Portsmouth, OH. / Joined NFL in 1930 as the Portsmouth Spartans (NFL, 1930-33). / In 1934 moved to Detroit, MI as the Detroit Lions (NFL, 1934-2013).
Detroit Lions Helmet History -
Detroit Lions Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1932 as an NFL expansion franchise, the Boston (football) Braves of Boston, MA (NFL, 1932). / In 1933 changed name to Boston Redskins (NFL, 1933-36). / In 1937 moved to Washington, DC as the Washington Redskins (NFL, 1937-2013).
Washington Redskins Helmet History -
Washington Redskins Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1933 as an NFL expansion franchise, Philadelphia Eagles (NFL, 1933-2013).
Philadelphia Eagles Helmet History -
Philadelphia Eagle Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1933 as an NFL expansion franchise, Pittsburgh (football) Pirates of Pittsburgh, PA (NFL, 1933-39). / In 1940 changed name to Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, 1940-2013).
Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet History -
Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet History
Image credits above –

Est. 1936 as the Cleveland Rams of Cleveland, OH, a team in the second [of 4] AFL leagues that existed in the 20th century, the AFL (II) of 1936. / Joined NFL in 1937 as the expansion team the Cleveland Rams (NFL, 1937-45). / In 1946 moved to Los Angeles, CA as the Los Angeles Rams (NFL, 1946-1994). / In 1995 moved to St. Louis, MO as the St. Louis Rams (NFL, 1995-2012).
St. Louis Rams Helmet History -
St. Louis Rams Helmet History
Image credits above –


Photo credits on map (going clockwise from the upper left of the map page)-
Green Bay’s City Field (1920s) from History/Other Homes.
Brooklyn football Dodgers at Ebbets Field photo from: Brooklyn
Large action photo of New York football Giants vs. Brooklyn football Dodgers at the Polo Grounds from 1937: AP photo via
Polo Grounds aerial view:
Washington Redskins playing at Griffith Sradium photo [date and opponents indeterminate] from
Sammy Baugh photo, 1940 vs. Bears, unattributed at
Sammy Baugh color-tinted photo, unattributed at, ‘List of the day, Best Passing Yardage Seasons, 1940s NFL‘.
Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field aerial photo, unattributed at
Comiskey Park [Chicago Cardinals], unattributed at

Thanks to the, for score lines from 1937.
Thanks to, for this article, ‘Football at Wrigley has long, storied past‘.

Special thanks to Gridiron Uniforms Database, for allowing use of their NFL uniforms illustrations,

October 14, 2012

NFL, AFC North – Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list (up to 2012 season) / Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers).

Filed under: NFL>AFC North,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 7:03 pm

NFL, AFC North – Map
Helmet iilustrations above from

    Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers).

    Baltimore Ravens logo & helmet history (1996-2012) – click on image below
Baltimore Ravens logo & helmet history (1996-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.

The first NFL team in Baltimore was the green-and-silver original Baltimore Colts (I) (AAFC, 1947-49 / NFL, 1950 / defunct). The under-capitalized Colts of 1950 went 1-11 in their only NFL season and folded. Here are the uniforms of the 1950 NFL Baltimore Colts [I] ( Teams)

The second NFL team in Baltimore was the blue-and-white Baltimore Colts (II) (NFL, 1953-83). The Baltimore Colts were a very solid team in the NFL for a 15-year span when they won NFL titles in 1958 and 1959 (led by QB Johnny Unitas), then, for the 1970 NFL season, the Colts were at the top of the football world in January 1971 when they won Super Bowl V (#5) over the Dallas Cowboys with a last-minute FG by kicker Jim O’Brien. Then the Baltimore Colts entered a protracted period of eventual decline before their owner, Robert Irsay, snuck his franchise out of town at 3 in the morning one cold March day in 1984 and moved the team with a fleet of moving vans to Indianapolis, IN as the Indianapolis Colts (NFL, 1984-2012). Irsay was forced to do this because the Maryland legislature intended to seize the team! You see, the Colts’ venue, Memorial Stadium (which they shared with the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles), was in a crumbling state of disrepair, and Irsay was having a very hard time coming to a stadium agreement with Baltimore and with Maryland state officials. By this time (circa 1982-83) Indianapolis, Indiana was building a stadium – the Hoosier Dome – to attract an NFL team, and Irsay had visited the construction site in Indianapolis in February 1984. Here is what happened next, via an excerpt from the Wikipedia page entitled ‘Baltimore Colts relocation to Indianapolis‘…”Meanwhile in Baltimore, the situation worsened and the Maryland State Legislature inserted itself into the dispute — a move that would eventually force Irsay’s hand and result in the Colts’ final decision to depart. On March 27, 1984, the Maryland Senate passed legislation giving the city of Baltimore the right to seize ownership of the Colts by eminent domain. (An idea first floated in a memo written by Baltimore mayoral aide Mark Wasserman). Robert Irsay said that his move was “a direct result” of the eminent domain bill. Chernoff would say of the move by the Maryland legislature: “They not only threw down the gauntlet, but they put a gun to his head and cocked it and asked, ‘Want to see if it’s loaded?’ They forced him to make a decision that day.”…{end of excerpt}.

It took the city of Baltimore 13 years to get another NFL team, when they lured the Cleveland Browns (I). [ Cleveland Browns (I) (AAFC, 1946-49/ NFL, 1950-1995/ franchise dormant from 1996 to 1998/ Cleveland Browns (II) (NFL 1999-2012). ] The Baltimore Ravens (NFL, 1996-2012) came into being in 1996 when Art Modell, then-owner of the Browns, announced that he intended to relocate his franchise, the Cleveland Browns, to Baltimore. The huge controversy that resulted with this ended when representatives of the city of Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement in February 1996. Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue promised the city of Cleveland that an NFL team would be located in Cleveland, either through relocation or expansion, no later than 1999. The agreement also stipulated that the Browns’ name, colors, uniform design and franchise records would remain in Cleveland. 5 seasons later, in 2000, with several ex-Cleveland Browns players still on their roster, the Baltimore Ravens under Head coach Brian Billick and led by LB Ray Lewis and the stingiest defense in NFL history (conceding only 10.3 points per game), won Super Bowl XXXV (#35) by beating the New York Giants 34-7.

Stadiums the Baltimore Ravens have played in -
For their first two seasons after their hasty and controversy-laden relocation from Cleveland, Ohio the newly-renamed-and-officially-called-an-expansion-team Baltimore Ravens began play (in 1996 and in 1997) at the 53,000-capacity Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, MD. Memorial Stadium was pretty outdated by then and would eventually see the wrecking ball in 2002. Memorial Stadium was also former home of the Baltimore Colts until they relocated in the dead of night to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1984. Memorial Stadium was also home of the MLB team the Baltimore Orioles, before the Orioles got their own ballpark, Camden Yards, in 1992. Memorial Stadium opened in 1922, but was much smaller until the 30,000-capacity second version of Memorial Stadium opened in 1950. 4 years later the city of Baltimore poached their first big-league-club, when in 1954, they lured the Major League Baseball team the St. Louis Browns to relocate and become the third incarnation of the Baltimore Orioles (III) (MLB, AL 1954-2012).

The second and current home of the Baltimore Ravens is M&T Bank Stadium, which was opened in 1998 and which has a capacity of 71,000 and was built and is operated by it’s owner, the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The Ravens are so-named in honor of Baltimore-resident Edgar Allan Poe, whose macabre poem “The Raven” is one of the many famous works the much-celebrated 19th century writer produced. The Ravens’ colors are black, purple, and yellow-gold. The Ravens’ first logo was an un-credited copy of a logo design submitted to the Maryland Sports Authority by a Maryland resident who then sued (and won his suit but was only awarded a settlement of $3). You can see that story and images associated with it in the Baltimore Ravens logo & helmet history by clicking on the image above.

Baltimore Ravens: 1 NFL Super Bowl title (2000).
The Baltimore Ravens are 1-0 in Super Bowl appearances, beating the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV (#35) in the 2000 season.

    Cincinnati Bengals logo & helmet history (1968-2012) – click on image below

Cincinnati Bengals logo & helmet history (1968-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.

From, ‘Bengals Logos – Then & Now‘ (

The Cincinnati Bengals’ NFL franchise came to be because of a confluence of two things. The Major League Baseball team the Cincinnati Reds were looking for a new stadium to replace their run-down Crosley Field at the same time that former Cleveland Browns Head coach and GM Paul Brown was seeking a new pro football franchise in Ohio. Paul Brown had been fired by Cleveland Browns’ owner Art Model in January 1963, and was initially trying to get an NFL franchise for either Columbus, OH or Cincinnati, OH. When the Cincinnati Reds reached an agreement with Hamilton County in Ohio to build a multi-purpose stadium, an ownership group fronted by Paul Brown was able to get an AFL franchise in 1967. If you are wondering why Brown got an AFL franchise rather than the NFL franchise he was seeking, it is because at that point in time (1967), it was known that the NFL would be merging with the AFL in 1970. Paul Brown got a jab back at the Browns’ owner by choosing as his new team’s helmet color the same color as the Browns’ helmet – orange. The Bengals have always played in orange-and-black, and since 1981 have featured a helmet and uniform-detailing that have a tiger-stripe design. The Bengals were established in 1968 in the AFL, and played in the last 2 AFL seasons before the 1970 merger. Paul Brown, as part-owner and Head coach, coached the Bengals for 8 seasons, making the playoffs in 1970, 1973, and 1975, but losing all 3 of those playoff games. Brown retired from coaching after the 1975 season, and maintained ownership of the Bengals until his death at the age of 82 in 1991. His son Mike Brown is majority owner of the Bengals today.

Stadiums the Cincinnati Bengals have played in -
1). Nippert Stadium [home of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats' football team], in 1968 and ’69. It had a capacity back then of 28,000.
2). Riverfront Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1970-2002 and the home of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1970 to 1999. Riverfront Stadium had a capacity of 59,000 for football.
3). Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals got their own purpose-built stadium in 2000. The Paul Brown Stadium has a capacity of 65,500 and is owned and operated by Hamilton County, Ohio.

The Bengals are 0-2 in Super Bowl appearances, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 26-21 in Super Bowl XV! (#16) in the 1981 season, and losing again to the San Francisco 49ers 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII (#23) in the 1989 season.

    Cleveland Browns logo & helmet history (1946-1995/ 1999-2012) – click on image below

Cleveland Browns logo & helmet history (1946-1995/ 1999-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.

    The Cleveland Browns, est. 1946 as a team in the rival league called the AAFC (1946-49)

The white-helmeted Cleveland Browns were the flagship franchise of a rival pro football league called the All-America Football Conference, which challenged the NFL in the late 1940s. The Browns origins date to 1944, when taxi-cab magnate Arthur ‘Mickey’ McBride secured the rights to a Cleveland franchise in the soon-to-be-formed All-America Football Conference. The AAFC existed for 4 seasons, starting in 1946, and for it’s first 3 seasons it had 8 teams, and in it’s final season in 1949 it had 7 teams.

The AAFC was the brainchild of Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward. Several of the AAFC owners were actually better capitalized than some of the NFL owners at the time (back then, basically, NFL teams other than the Bears, the Giants, and the Redskins were usually in poor financial shape). The AAFC challenged the NFL directly in the USA’s 3 biggest cities – in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Dons, in Chicago with the Chicago Rockets, and in New York City with 2 teams…the New York Yankees (AAFC, 1946-49) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (AAFC, 1946-48).

It may surprise some folks that the AAFC actually outdrew the NFL. From 1946 to 1949, the AAFC, averaged 38,310 a game, versus the 27,602 per game that the NFL drew back then {see this pdf, THE COFFIN CORNER: Vol. 2, No. 7 (1980). “ALL-AMERICA FOOTBALL CONFERENCE”, By Stan Grosshandler.

    Below: map of the AAFC, with selected AAFC uniforms and logos

AAFC (1946-49) map
Image credits above – map of 1940s USA from Illustrations of AAFC uniforms from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of LA Dons ticket from: Photo of 1949 AAFC Chicago Hornets media guide from Photo of 1946 Cleveland Browns game program from,_September_1946.png. Logos of AAFC teams from and [look in NFL section near botom of 1st page there].

What made the AAFC a better draw than the NFL in the late 1940s? The huge popularity of the Cleveland Browns there in northeast Ohio, who drew 60,000 to fill Cleveland Municipal Stadium in their first AAFC game on September 6, 1946 (you can see the game program for that first Cleveland Browns game on the AAFC map above), and went on to draw between 40,000 and 50,000 for most of their home games in the AAFC. But it wasn’t just the Browns that were drawing above or near the NFL average – 3 other cities that had no NFL franchises at the time – San Francisco, Baltimore, and Buffalo – had AAFC teams that were drawing in the mid-20,000s-to-30,000s-per-game-range. Those 3 teams were the red-and-silver San Francisco 49ers {here are the uniforms of the 1948 AAFC San Francisco 49ers, the green-and-silver-Baltimore Colts {here are the uniforms of the 1948 AAFC Baltimore Colts}, and the original Buffalo Bills (AAFC, 1947-49), who wore dark-blue-and-silver {here are the uniforms of the 1949 AAFC Buffalo Bills}. Of those 3, Baltimore had the smaller crowds (low-20-K range), Buffalo played almost to capacity in their 30-K-capacity stadium, and San Francisco drew the highest of the three, often drawing above 30,000 and even getting 40,000 a few times. Another solid and very-good-drawing team in the AAFC was the New York football Yankees (AAFC, 1946-49), who lost to the Browns twice in the AAFC championship game – by score of 14-9 in 1946 in front of 41,000 at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, and in the following season (1947) the football Yankees lost again to the Browns in the title-game, by the score of 14-3 in front of an impressive 60,000 at Yankee Stadium. The AAFC Yankees, like their baseball namesakes, wore dark-navy-blue as their primary color, and added a secondary color of grey {here are the uniforms of the 1947 AAFC New York Yankees}. The Yankees of the AAFC probably would have been able to survive as an NFL team had the NFL allowed them to join in 1950, but the NFL chose not to let in any AAFC teams from cities which already had an NFL team or teams (ie, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City).

The only problem with the AAFC, one that would prove to be its undoing, was the fact that the Cleveland Browns were too successful, and that, coupled with the fact that the AAFC had no draft, made all the other teams in the league unable to stay competitive with the Browns. A very telling statistic was this…the last 2 AAFC title games, both played in Cleveland, only drew 22,000, because everyone knew it was a foregone conclusion that the Browns would win those games (they won over the Bills 49-7 in front of 22,981 in 1948 and 21-7 over the 49ers in front of 22,550 in the last ever AAFC game in 1949 {see this, ‘AAFC/championship games‘ ( Another problem was the weakness of the last 2 AAFC franchises to form – the Brooklyn team and the Miami franchise (which moved to Baltimore after losing $350,000 as the Miami Seahawks in 1946). The Brooklyn team closed up after the third AAFC season (1948) and merged with the Yankees AAFC team for the league’s last season in 1949 (they were officially called the Brooklyn-New York Yankees, but no one called them that). The Miami-to-Baltimore franchise was always under-capitalized and the green-and-silver original Baltimore Colts (I) were never able to muster the large support that the second (blue-and-white) Baltimore Colts (II) had. The Baltimore Colts of the AAFC were the weakest of the 3 teams that the NFL allowed to join in 1950 and only lasted one season. As it says in the AAFC page ar, …{excerpt}…’There was some sentiment to admit the Bills rather than the Colts, as the Bills had better attendance and the better team. However, Buffalo’s size (only Green Bay was smaller) and climate were seen as problems’…{end of excerpt}. The NFL chose the Colts (I) instead of the Bills (I) as an expansion team in 1950, and the city of Buffalo would have to wait another 20 years before they got a modern-day NFL franchise.

Three AAFC franchises joined the NFL in 1950 – the Cleveland Browns (NFL, 1950-95; 1999-2012), the San Francisco 49ers (NFL, 1950-2102), and the short-lived original Baltimore Colts (I) (NFL, 1950/defunct).

In less than 4 years, the NFL went from officially ignoring and publicly mocking the AAFC to allowing three teams from the AAFC to join the NFL in 1950. In 1946, NFL commissioner Elmer Layden had remarked that the new AAFC should, “first get a ball, then make a schedule, and then play a game.” That sarcastic statement, often later paraphrased in the media as “tell them to get a ball first” would not be forgotten. Especially when you consider what an ex-AAFC team did 4 seasons later…the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship in their first season in the NFL in 1950, with virtually the same squad that that steamrolled through all four years of the AAFC.

    The Cleveland Browns – from the AAFC champions to NFL champions in 1950, as an expansion team

Image and Photo credits above – Helmet and uniform illustrations from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of 1951 Bowman Paul Brown trading card from Tinted b&w photo of Otto Graham unattributed at Photo of 1950 Bowman trading card of Lou Groza at Photo of Jim Brown from Photo of Marion Motley in 1948 AAFC championship game from Cleveland Plain Dealer archive via

The Cleveland Browns were founded in the 1946 as a charter franchise of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), with Paul Brown, the team’s namesake and a pioneering figure in professional football, as its first Head coach and General Manager. Paul Brown first made his name as a 34-year-old Head coach who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the school’s first national football championship (in 1942, as the AP #1). During World War II, Paul Brown served in the U.S. Navy near Chicago as a coach and instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Station, where he coached the football team. Later, in 1946, when he formed his first Cleveland Browns team, Brown utilized the contacts he had made within both the college football world and within the military. For example, during his time in the Navy there at the Naval Station near Chicago, Paul Brown first met his future Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Otto Graham, who was attending Northwestern University and who became a Navy flier. Brown then signed Graham in April 1945 plucking a future-gridiron-star before any NFL team could ever draft him. Many of the Cleveland Browns players in 1946 were military veterans. With standout players such as Otto Graham (at QB, running a then-innovative T-formation offense), pioneering player Marion Motley (a running back and linebacker and one of the first black players in pro football in the modern era), and northeast-Ohio-born Lou Groza (who doubled as the team’s placekicker and as an offensive tackle), the Cleveland Browns won all 4 AAFC championships.

From ‘Paul Brown‘ (,
{excerpt}…’Brown is credited with a number of American football innovations. He was the first coach to use game film to scout opponents, hire a full-time staff of assistants, and test players on their knowledge of a playbook. He invented the modern face mask, the taxi squad and the draw play. He also played a role in breaking professional football’s color barrier, bringing some of the first African-Americans to play pro football in the modern era onto his teams.’…{end of excerpt}.

Under Paul Brown not only did the Browns win all 4 of the AAFC championships, the team also drew huge crowds, averaging a record-setting 57,000 per game in the first season of the AAFC in 1946. Cleveland Browns’ crowds were often above 50,000, and the Browns averaged a much, much higher gate than the NFL of the late 1940s. The Browns continued to succeed after moving to the NFL in 1950. Cleveland won the NFL championship in its first NFL season, and won two more titles in 1954 and 1955. By then, the Browns had appeared in 10 straight championship games (4 in the AAFC, then 6 in the NFL), and won 7 of them.

In 1957, the Cleveland Browns drafted, in the first round, the Syracuse football and lacrosse star Jim Brown (no relation to Paul Brown). Jim Brown, who grew up in Long Island, NY and whose father was a professional boxer, was a powerful full back with unmatched strength and speed. The Cleveland Browns of the late 1950s and early 1960s would build their teams around the force of nature that was Jim Brown.

The Art Modell era, 1951 to 1995
Art Modell was a 35-year old NYC advertising executive when he bought the Browns in 1961 from a group of shareholders led by National Insurance Company. A power struggle between Paul Brown and Art Modell, which also involved Jim Brown, developed. Here is an excerpt from the en.wikipedia page on the Cleveland Browns… {except}…
…’Journalist D.L. Stewart recounted in Jeff Miller’s book on the AFL, Going Long, “As you well can imagine, Jimmy Brown and Paul were not thick. The buzz was that Jimmy had Modell working for him, and Paul took exception to that”… {end of excerpt}. Not only was Paul Brown being alienated by the owner, but chemistry in the locker room was turning sour – many young Browns players circa 1960, who had not been part of the first great Browns teams of the 1940s and early 1950s, resented Paul Brown’s autocratic coaching style. Art Modell fired Paul Brown in January, 1963. The last title-winning team of the Cleveland Browns (in 1964) was coached by long-time Browns’ assistant coach Blanton Collier. Jim Brown would play 9 seasons for the Browns (1957-65) and would amass a staggering set of statistics. After playing just 9 NFL seasons, Jim Brown had the most career rushing yards (12,312 yards), was record holder for single-season rushing yardage (1,863 in 1963), and he was the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). After the 1965 season, Jim Brown retired to begin an acting career in Hollywood (which was a shame seeing as how he probably had a couple of good years left in him). Jim Brown was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, and in 2002 Jim Brown was named by Sporting News as the greatest pro football player in history {see this via wayback machine, ‘Football’s 100 Greatest Players: No. 1 Jim Brown‘(The Sporting News).

The Cleveland Browns have since then been only moderately successful, reaching the league’s playoffs a scant 15 times and appearing in the AFC championship game 3 times (last in 1987, when they lost to the Broncos 38-33).

Conditions at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium worsened throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Modell got the city of Cleveland to agree to improve Municipal Stadium, and then a new-stadium-referendum was set to be voted on in November 1995. But during this time period, Modell was secretly in discussion with representatives of the city of Baltimore. At this point in time, NFL franchises were threatening to relocate, or were actually relocating, at an alarming rate. There were 3 other franchise-relocations that occurred in the NFL in a 4-year period from 1994 to 1997: Rams from LA to St. Louis in 1994; Raiders from LA back to Oakland in 1994; and Oilers from Houston to Memphis to Nashville as the Tennessee Titans from 1997-98. NFL owners were using the threat of taking their franchise to another city as a way of basically getting a new stadium for free, at the expense of the city and the taxpayers. But the thing was, Modell announced the proposed Browns move to Baltimore on November 6, 1995, the day before the voters could actually vote on the new stadium issue (which voters approved, on Nov. 7, 1995, but was scrapped and a different stadium plan later went forward). From the ‘Art Modell‘ page (…
{excerpt}…”The reaction in Cleveland was hostile. Modell had promised never to move the team. He had publicly criticized the Baltimore Colts’ move to Indianapolis, and had testified in favor of the NFL in court cases where the league unsuccessfully tried to stop Al Davis from moving the Oakland Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles.”…{end of excerpt}.

The result was that Modell moved the Cleveland Browns’ front office and the Cleveland Browns’ player roster to Baltimore, Maryland – where the State of Maryland, trying to fill the vacuum left by the departure of the Baltimore Colts 13 years before, promised Modell a new stadium. Art Modell never set foot in Cleveland again.

Cleveland Browns supporters raised such an outcry that the NFL was forced to make the unprecedented move of forcing Modell to return the Cleveland Browns’ records, history, colors, and uniform design back to Cleveland to await the re-birth of the Cleveland Browns’ franchise. So officially, the Baltimore Ravens were an NFL expansion franchise, and the Browns’ franchise remained dormant for three seasons (1996-98). And then the Browns’ franchise was re-activated in 1999, with the team stocked with new players via an expansion draft. Wait a minute – an expansion draft? I thought, to placate the enraged Browns fans, the NFL was declaring that the 1996 Ravens, not the 1999 Browns, would be called the expansion team. So why did the NFL call the procedure to stock the Cleveland Browns’ roster in 1999 an expansion draft? They are not being consistent here (see this logo, Browns Expansion Draft Logo}. So even the NFL itself, by calling the procedure which stocked the Browns roster an expansion draft, can’t keep up the façade that the Browns today are the same franchise that Modell absconded with in 1995. The return of the Browns’ history, records, colors, and uniform designs is all very well and good from the Browns fans’ perspective, but it is not what the actual history of the event was. Because the squad moved to Baltimore. Calling the Ravens an expansion team in 1996 but then acknowledging that the Browns needed an expansion draft to fill their roster in 1999 is a complete contradiction. The whole thing smacks of historic revisionism and is intellectually dishonest. Browns fans can stare all they want at their overly-romanticized orange-helmet-with-no-logo, but that’s not going to change what really happened in 1995 and ’96. And what happened was this…a football team moved from Cleveland to Baltimore after the 1995 season, and all those players who played for the Cleveland Browns in 1995 were now playing for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. To insist that the Browns (I) and (II) are the same franchise is to believe that actual history is secondary to some other things, like pretending your team just took a nap for 3 years. Modell took that 1995 Cleveland Browns team and turned it into the 2000 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champions. That is what happened. The NFL might call the Ravens an expansion team, but they were the only “expansion team” in the history of the world that didn’t need an expansion draft because they already had a whole roster of Cleveland Browns players. Declaring that the Cleveland Browns established in 1999 are a continuation of the same Cleveland Browns’ franchise first established in the NFL in 1950, and calling the Baltimore Ravens an expansion team is an airbrushing of history. Actually, I have a better word for what it is. It is a lie.

‘A Little History of Brownie the Elf’ (, posted by Vince Grzegorek.

Stadiums the Cleveland Browns have played in –
Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, OH. The Browns played here from 1946-1995. Capacity – 1946: 83,000/ 1995: 78,500.
Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH. When the Browns’ franchise was re-activated in 1999, the team moved into their new purpose-built stadium built by the city of Cleveland. Capacity: 72,300.
cleveland-browns-stadium_aerial_b.gif’s Eye satellite view.

The Cleveland Browns won 4 NFL Championship titles (1950, 1954, 1955, 1964),
The Browns have never appeared in a Super Bowl final. The Cleveland Browns are one of only 4 teams in the NFL to have never reached a Super Bowl final (the other teams in this dubious category are the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans).

    Pittsburgh Steelers logo & helmet history (1933-2012) – click on image below

Pittsburgh Steelers logo & helmet history (1933-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.

In 1933, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania relaxed the Blue Laws, which had prohibited, among other things, pro football games played on Sundays. That finally cleared the way for the NFL to establish a stronger presence in the state. So in 1933, three new franchises joined the NFL, two of them from the Keystone State: the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Pittsburgh (football) Pirates. [The third new team was the Cincinnati (football) Reds, who only lasted one and a half seasons in the NFL.] As per the common practice of the time, the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL mimicked the city’s Major League Baseball club, the Pitsburgh (baseball) Pirates of the National League, with their name. The Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL (1933-39) chose as their colors the colors of the flag of the city of Pittsburgh (you can see it by clicking on the image above)). The first logo of the team was the coat-of-arms of the city of Pittsburgh, which is in the center of the flag (you can also see it in the illustration below).

Now, in a situation unique to pro sports, all 3 Pittsburgh major-league-teams wear black-and-gold colors. In 1933, the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL were the first present-day franchise in the city to wear black-and-gold, although the short-lived pro hockey club named the Pittsburgh Pirates (of the NHL) did wear gold-and-black when they existed 80 years ago, in the NHL, from 1925-26 to 1929-30 {to see the uniform and logos of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL, see this). The Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball did not start wearing black-and-gold until 1948 {see this from the Baseball Hall of Fame site Dressed to the Nines, ‘Pittsburgh (NL, 1946-1954)‘ ( That was 14 years after the NFL’s Pirates/Steelers began wearing black-and-gold. The Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL began wearing black-and-gold colors in 1980-81 {see this ‘Pittsburgh Penguins’ jersey fronts‘ ( The Pittsburgh football Pirates and the Steelers wore yellow-gold helmets before switching to black helmets in 1963. That time period also was when the Steelers began using their variation of the Steelmark logo (see illustration below). For the last 5 games of 1962, the Steelers debuted their first Steelmark logo {see this ‘Steelmark‘ (}, which, like the original Steelmark logo introduced by Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel in 1960, had the word “Steel” next to 3 star-like shapes. It was on a yellow-gold helmet, and the logo was much larger than the present-day Steelers logo. [Note, this helmet design has been used recently by the Steelers as part of a throwback alternate uniform (in 2007-09, and also in 2011.] The following season, 1963, the Steelers introduced the helmet design that has pretty much stayed the same for the last 50 years. Their second version of the Steelmark logo added “-ers” to the word on the logo, so it now read ‘Steelers’. The team was given permission to add “ers” in 1963 after a petition to the American Iron & Steel Institute. The thick grey circular outline and 3 star-like shapes (called hypocycloids [diamond shapes]) remained. As the team had done with the short-lived yellow-gold Steelmark helmet the year before, the Steelers had their 1963 black helmet design have no logo on the left side of the helmet. Here’s what it says about that in an article from the Steelers’ official website…
…”The Steelers are the only NFL team that sports their logo on only one side of the helmet. At first, this was a temporary measure because the Steelers weren’t sure they would like the look of the logo on an all-gold helmet. They wanted to test them before going all-out. Equipment manager Jack Hart was instructed to put the logo only on one side of the helmet – the right side. The 1962 Steelers finished 9-5 and became the winningest team in franchise history to date. The team finished second in the Eastern Conference and qualified for the Playoff Bowl. They wanted to do something special for their first postseason game, so they changed the color of their helmets from gold to black, which helped to highlight the new logo. Because of the interest generated by having the logo on only one side of their helmets and because of their team’s new success, the Steelers decided to leave it that way permanently. Today’s helmet reflects the way the logo was originally applied and it has never been changed….”
{end of exerpt}. From, ‘History of the Steelers Logo‘.

Image and Photo credits above – Photo of Steelers helmet from Illustrations of Steelers helmets and uniforms from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Logos from Text excerpt from

The owner of the new Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL was Art Rooney. Since its establishment in 1933, the ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers franchise has remained within the Rooney family. The NFL’s Pittsburgh Pirates played 7 seasons with that name, then in 1940, the Pirates changed their name to the Steelers, in honor of the region’s steel-making industry. The Pirates/Steelers were a poor-to-mediocre team for their first decade, and finally managed to have a winning record in their tenth year, in 1942 (at 2nd place in the NFL East, with a 7-4 record).

At the height of World War II, in 1943, the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles were forced to temporarily merge, due to the lack of able-bodied men on the domestic front. The Eagles provided the bulk of the roster, and the team was officially called “the Eagles”, with no city designation. The 1943 Phil.-Pitt. team wore the Eagles’ colors of green-and-silver. Fans soon took to calling them the “Steagles”, and the name stuck. The Steagles played 4 home games in Philadelphia, and 2 home games in Pittsburgh. They finished 5-4-1.

The next year, the Steelers were again forced to temporarily merge due to lack of personnel – in 1944, the Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals, and were officially called “Card-Pitt.”. The team wore the white helmets of the Cardinals and the Cardinals’ dark red jerseys, and had an alternate uniform of dark blue jerseys (and white helmet). 3 home games were played by Card-Pitt. in Pittsburgh, and 2 were played in Chicago. The 1943 Chicago Cardinals had been 0-10, and the 1944 Card-Pitt. team finished 0-10 as well. Journalists started to derisively call them the Carpets (a take on the phrase Card-Pitt.), as in “everyone walked all over them”.

Through the 1940s and the 1950s, and into the mid-1960s, the Steelers were pretty much the worst franchise in the NFL (not counting expansion teams, like the Saints). They had won no titles, and were chronically cash-strapped. But the “lovable losers” finally began to prevail, through solid scouting, and then the arrival of coach Chuck Noll, in 1969. Franco Harris’ “immaculate reception” in the 1972 playoffs versus the Raiders was like an indication from the Gods of Football that the Steelers’ time had finally come. Those Steelers were led by QB Terry Bradshaw, RB Franco Harris, DE Mean Joe Green, and LB Jack Ham. All four of those players had been selected by Noll in the 1969 through 1972 NFL drafts. That laid the foundation for a squad that brought Super Bowl titles to Pittsburgh in the 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979 seasons. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowl titles – 6 – with their last Super Bowl title won in the 2008 season, over the Arizona Cardinals, led by Head coach Mike Tomlin.

Below – the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s
Photo credits above – Terry Bradshaw on SI cover (1974) from Photo of Franco Harris from Photo of Jack Ham and Mean Joe Greene in discussion by Gojovich/Getty Images via Photo of Vince Lombardi Trophy from Photo of Coach Noll being carried off field on the shoulders of Harris and Greene from

Stadiums the Pittsburgh Pirates (NFL) and the Pittsburgh Steelers have played in -
For 31 seasons (1933-63), the Steelers shared Forbes Field with the Pittsburgh baseball Pirates, which had a capacity of 41,000 in that era. In 1958, though, they started splitting their home games with the football-only Pitt Stadium three blocks away at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1964 to ’69, the Steelers played exclusively at that on-campus facility before moving with the baseball Pirates to Three Rivers Stadium on the city’s Northside (which had a capacity of 59,000 for its football configuration). The Steelers played 31 seasons at Three Rivers Stadium, from 1970 to 2000). Then in 2001, the Steelers moved into their state-of-the-art and purpose-built stadium, named Heinz Field after the condiments-king H.J. Heinz Co., which is based in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field has a capacity of 65,050.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 Super Bowl titles (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008).
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-2 in Super Bowl appearances -
In the 1974 season, the Steelers won Super Bowl IX (#9) over the Vikings by a score of 16-6.
In the 1975 season, the Steelers won Super X (#10) over the Cowboys by a score of 21-17.
In the 1978 season, the Steelers won Super Bowl XIII (#13) ovr the Cowboys again by the score of 35-31.
In the 1979 season, the Steelers won Super Bowl XIV (#14) over the Los Angeles Rams by the score of 31-19.
In the 1995 season, the Steelers lost Super Bowl XXX (#30) to the Cowboys by the score of 27-17.
In the 2005 season, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL (#40) over the Seattle Seahawks by the score of 21-10.
In the 2008 season, the Steelers won Super Bowl XLII (#42) over the Arizona Cardinals by the score of 27-23.
In the 2010 season, the Steelers lost Super Bowl XLV (#45) to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 31-25.


Thanks to, for info on game dates, records, etc,

Thanks to, for image of 1950s-era playing card with 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers’ logo,
Thanks to Logoserver for Pittsbutgh Steelers’ 1951-60 logo.,
Thanks to or the photo of the Steelers’ white-jersey-front logo patch –

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page, for many of the old logos and for dates of logos, such as Pittsburg Steelers 1962 “Steel” Steelmark logo (on yellow-gold helmet), 1962 Helmet [with 'Steel' Steelmark logo on yellow-gold helmet].

Thanks to Logo Shak, for some old logos, such as [1968-69 Cincinnati Bengals logo].

Thanks to, for the photo of the 1951 Bowman Paul Brown card.

Helmet photos -
Thanks to
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Thanks to

Thanks to, for road signs.

Thanks to The Helmet Project, for dates of helmets and info,

Thanks to Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site, for helmets on the map page, and for dates of helmets,

Thanks to JohnnySeoul at each NFL team’s page at, for 2012 NFL uniforms, such as ‘AFCE-Uniform-BUF.PNG‘.

Thanks to Remember The (, which is now on my Blogroll.
Special thanks to Gridiron Uniform Database, for allowing use of their NFL uniforms illustrations.

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