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October 31, 2012

2012-13 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map and attendances of the 80 clubs.

Filed under: 2012-13 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 9:36 pm

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2012-13 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map and attendances of the 80 clubs


BBC/Football/FA Cup (bbc.co.uk/sport/football/fa-cup).

The 2012–13 FA Cup is the 132nd season of the competition. The FA Cup is open to all English clubs (plus a few Welsh clubs). It is the world’s oldest association football knock-out competition. 758 clubs were accepted into this season’s competition, which began on 11 August 2012. After 6 preliminary rounds, the 2012-13 FA Cup First Round Proper will begin on the weekend of 2-4 November 2012. 32 Non-league clubs which have survived the preliminary rounds (clubs from Levels 5 through 8) will continue on in the competition and are now joined by the 48 clubs in the Football League One (Level 3 / 24 clubs) and the Football League Two (Level 4 / 24 clubs). That makes for 80 clubs in the 1st Round. [Clubs from the Premier League (Level 1 / 20 clubs) and the Football League Championship (Level 2 / 24 clubs) enter the competition in the Third Round, which usually begins on the first weekend of the new year in January.].


Live televised matches, see this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012%E2%80%9313_FA_Cup#Media_coverage.
Below: home grounds of the televised matches…
Friday’s televised match (on ESPN-UK & Fox Soccer Channel), Cambridge City v. MK Dons, at the City Ground in Cambridge, home of Cambridge City.
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Photo credit above – cambridge2000.com

Saturday’s televised match (on Fox Soccer Channel), Hereford United v. Shrewsbury Town, at Edgar Street in Hereford, Herefordshire, home of Hereford United.
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Photo credit above – unattributed at thewashbag.com.


Sunday’s early televised match (on ITV), Braintree Town v. Tranmere Rovers, at Cressing Road in Braintree, Essex.
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Photo credits above – NorthEssexOnTour.

Sunday’s late televised match (on ESPN-UK & Fox Soccer Channel), Dorchester Town v. Plymouth Argyle, at the Avenue Stadium, in Dorchester, Dorset, home of Dorchester Town.
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Photo credit above – tigerroar.co.uk.

    The 2 smallest clubs in the 2012-13 FA Cup (as measured by home league average attendance -
    Metropolitan Police FC (of Surrey), and Yate Town FC (of Gloucestershire).

The two smallest clubs in the 2012-13 FA Cup First Round are Metropolitan Police FC (of Surrey), who currently average 137 per game, and Yate Town FC (of Gloucestershire) who currently average 138 per game. [Attendances are listed at the far left of the map page, and are current average attendances from home league matches to 28 Oct. 2012).]. Met Police FC are a 7th Level club in the Isthmian League Premier Division (aka the Ryman Prem) – they currently are in 13th place. Yate Town are an 8th Level club in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West. Along with Slough Town FC (of Buckinghamshire), Yate Town are the lowest-ranked team in the FA Cup this season by league-level. But while Slough Town sit in 10th place in the Evo-Stik Southern League Central Division, Yate Town are in dead last, in 22nd place, in their league.

Metropolitan Police FC are the football club that represents the London Metropolitan Police force, and are located just outside the actual boundaries of Greater London. They play at Imber Court, a London police force facility in East Molesey, Surrey, which is just across the River Thames from the SW border of Greater London (see London inset map on the map page). From the Wikipedia page on the club…
{excerpt}…
‘The club’s home at Imber Court is a general-use police sports facility which the Force acquired in 1919. Significant ground improvements, including a new stand, have taken place since the 1980s, funded by a Force lottery scheme.’…{end of excerpt).

Metropolitan Police FC lets in ringers these days, but still many of the players who represent Met Police FC are part of the police force and put on the uniform and badge. The club was forced to begin allowing in non-police in 2004, when they could not find a goalkeeper and had to look outside the Metropolitan police force to fill the squad. So now the Met Police FC set-up serves a bit as a recruitment tool, because some of those young Non-league players who have played for Met Police in recent seasons have decided to take up a career in law enforcement. Last season, around 3 to 4 Met Police players in the starting squad were employed by Metropolitan Police, although the reserve squad is almost completely full of Met Police employees. The manager of Met Police FC, Detective Jim Cooper, works in the crime squad monitoring dangerous sex offenders.

Most of the spectators Met Police get for their home matches are away fans, or neutral fans, who don’t mind going because the facilities are quite good for the seventh division. They probably have good coffee, tea, and doughnuts and bacon butties there. But I don’t think many folks are actually rooting for the squad (root for the cops? you must be joking). There is a story of how when the club hosted AFC Wimbledon a few years ago, Wimbledon brought over 2,000 of their supporters (they’re located just a couple kilometers east) – there were 3,000 there at Imber Court that day, and when the home team (Met Police) scored the first goal of the match, it went dead silent. A few months ago, in their June 2012 issue, ForFourTwo magazine had a short article about Met Police FC [sorry I can't link to it because ForFourTwo does not archive most of their material online]. In the article the reporter attempted to find any actual Met Police FC supporters who had season tickets and no connection (ie, friends and family) to Met Police FC players. There were exactly two (2) actual season-ticket-holders of Met Police FC – a retired couple from Dorking, Surrey. Here is Joyce, one half of the Met Police FC season-ticket-holder fan-base (see this photo by Stuart Tree at flicker.com).

Metropolitan Police FC, Imber Court, Surrey.
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Photo credits above-
Photo by Ray Stanton via arsenal.com.
putajumperon.wordpress.com.

Here is what Joyce had to say about her and her husband Jim deciding to become (the only) Met Police FC supporters…
{excerpt from FourFourTwo article from June 2012 written by Nick Moore}…”We used to go to Kingstonian, but they were too money-oriented, so we came here 10 years ago and thought it was great. We have no police connections – I just like ‘em. We go home and away, and I even have a player scrapbook. Three seasons ago we said, ‘We’ve been coming down here seven years – you’ve got to give us season tickets’. They had to make them specially.”…{end of excerpt}.

Here is an article about attending a Metropolitan Police FC match, ‘Metropolitan Police FC‘ (theballissquare.co.uk).

Yate Town are located in Yate in southern Gloucestershire – on the eastern edge of Greater Bristol, 19 km, (or 12 miles) east of Bristol. Yate has a population of around 21,000 {2001 census figure} Yate Rovers were formed in 1906, and changed their name to Yate YMCA in 1946. In 1969, the club changed their name to Yate Town. The play at Lodge Road, which has a 2,000-capacity (236 seated, with roof covering for 400). From Pyramid Passion.co.uk, ‘Yate Town FC‘ (pyramidpassion.co.uk). Yate Town are nicknamed the Bluebells, and wear white jerseys with dark blue pants. The club has been in the Southern League set-up since 1989-90, although they were relegated back to the 9th Level in 1999-2000, returning back 3 years later to the second-tier of the Southern League [8th Level] in 2003-04. As mentioned, the club sits in the relegation-zone currently, so it is hoped the squad can use this Cup run as the impetus to some good league form.

In Newport, Wales on Tuesday 23 October 2012, in an FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round replay, Yate Town defeated 5th Level club Newport County 3-1 to qualify for the FA Cup First Round for the first time in the club’s history. It was a pretty big upset seeing as Yate Town are 3 leagues below and 89 league places below Newport County in the football ladder – Newport County currently are in 1st place in the Conference National. The historic goals came from Tom Knighton, Scott Thomas, and Matt Groves. Admittedly, the equalizing goal for Yate Town – Knighton’s goal in the 73rd minute – came from a soft penalty, but Yate Town held their own for the rest of the 90 minues and then both Thomas and Groves scored in extra time to seal it. Match report at newport-county.co.uk, here. Here are video highlights of the match from itv.com, ‘Highlights of Yate Town’s win against Newport County‘ [scroll one-third down the page there for this video]

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Photo credits above – newport-county.co.uk.
itv.com/news/west/sport.
agroundhoppersdiary.blogspot.com/2011/12/yate-town-lodge-road
yate-town.blogspot.com.
tigerroar.co.uk/yatetown.

Yate Town currently average 138 per game (home league matches), and there were 132 away fans at that FA Cup replay in Newport, South Wales. Yes, I know it is not all that far from Bristol to Newport (about 192 km. or 109 miles), but on that Tuesday evening, 95 percent of the current fan base of Yate Town (as measured by average home attendance) traveled to Wales to support their club.

The FA Cup draw has been kind to Yate Town, because they will now play fellow-Gloucestershire–based Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road in the FA Cup First Round on 3 November 2012. I am sure there will be more than 132 travelling fans representing Yate Town there on Saturday.

Here is an article about attending a Yate Town match, ‘Yate Town (Lodge Road)‘ (agroundhoppersdiary.blogspot.com).
___

Thanks to Altrincham FC official site for the photo of the Altrincham 2012-13 home jersey badge.
Thanks to soccerway.com for attendance figures (for Football League clubs, and Conference clubs).
Thanks to nonleague.co.uk for attendance figures (for 7th-level clubs [Northern, Isthmian, and Southern Premier Leagues]).
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2012–13 FA Cup‘.
Thanks to bbc.co.uk/football for the Fixture list image on the map page.
Thanks to Gloucester City fansite Tiger Roar for aerial photos of the grounds of Dorchester Town and Yate Town, http://www.tigerroar.co.uk.
Thanks to Nick Moore at FourFourTwo, http://fourfourtwo.com.

October 24, 2012

England: League Two – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

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England: League Two – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data




Note: to see my most recent post on the English 4th division, click on the following: category: Eng-4th Level/League 2.

At the top of the map page, the 2012-13 home jersey badges of the clubs in England’s 4th division are shown in alphabetical order. I added the clubs’ names under the badges mainly because if I had not, I am pretty sure I would have confused a few folks because, for the club’s Centenary, Gillingham’s kit badges and jersey colors this season are very different than their usual. Gillingham 12/13 Centenary Vandamel Football Shirt Design (Footballshirtculture.com). The badge is the Kent-based club’s original kit badge from 1911-12, and their home jersey color this season is not the Gills’ present-day royal blue, but the 1911-12 version – red-with-royal-blue-sleeves.

Here are the other League Two clubs this season which have home kit badges that are different from their official crests…
Bradford City sport a star (for their 1911 FA Cup title) – black stars seem to be a new kit-design trend, as both Huddrsfield Town and Man City also feature black stars on their home kit badges this season. Like Nottingham Forest, Southend United’s badge is, as usual, a reverse of their official crest. For 2012-13, Exeter City sport a striking shield device, with their flanking-winged-horses-coat-of-arms sitting in a larger version of the black-and-red-shield that is in the center of the crest itself. Exeter City’s badge has a sort of MC Escher feel about it {see it here (exetercityfcshop.co.uk)}. Since 1986, Torquay United have had, for most seasons, a seagull-in-disk device on the kits which is different, and more simplified – in a good way, I feel – than their official crest. Torquay United’s official crest, with its tacky color-blend effects, looks too much like a cheap clip-art design. Finally, League 1/League 2 yo-yo club Wycombe Wanderers are celebrating their 125th anniversary, and on their badge this season they sport gold olive branches flanking their chained-goose-with crown-in-disk device (which is based on the Buckinghamshire coat of arms). You can see it here (jerseyrevival.com).

Gillingham FC, League Two leaders as of 24 October 2012 -
After 14 games played for most of the clubs in the fourth division, Kent’s only Football League club, Gillingham FC, hold a 2-point lead in League Two, ahead of Port Vale in second place. Gillingham have spent the lions’ share of their years in the 3rd Level (ie, League One), with 56 seasons in the third division (last in 2009-10). Gillingham’s highest league placement was in 2002-03, when they finished in 11th place in the second division. That was during a 5-season-spell when Gillingham were, for the only time in their history, a second division club. That era coincided with the almost complete redevelopment of Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium [known since 2011 as MEMS Priestfield Stadium for sponsorship purposes].

Much-traveled motivator/quick-fixer Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen is the Gills’ manager, after he helped keep Barnet from dropping out of the League in May 2012. This was a good karmic ending because you could say Allen was atoning for his sin against Barnet 13 months earlier, when he bolted from the the small North London-based club after just 3 games, leaving Barnet twisting in the wind and needing to find another way to once again save off relegation (which they did – just). The reason Allen bolted then was because Notts County, then in a relegation-battle of their own in League One, made Allen a better offer. Allen kept Notts County up in 2011-12, but poor league form the next season saw the Notts County board sack Allen in February 2011. So Allen then went back to Barnet and Barnet avoided relegation on the last day of the season for the third straight year. Then in July 2012 Allen made it nine job hires as manager in 9 years, with his appointment as the manager of Gillingham. [Clubs managed by Martin Allen - 2003–04, Barnet. 2004–06, Brentford. 2006–07, MK Dons. 2007, Leicester City. 2008–09, Cheltenham Town. 2011, Barnet. 2011–12, Notts County. 2012, Barnet. 2012, Gillingham.]. With the blossoming of Kent-born Gillingham striker and captain Danny Kedwell, Gillingham have held the top spot in League Two for virtually the whole season. Some observers feel Kedwell can forge a similar path to the top level like another rough-and-tumble ex-Non-league striker – Grant Holt, of Norwich City. The only problem with that scenario is that Kedwell is 29 years old.
Below, Danny Kedwell, Martin Allen, Priestfied Stadium…
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Image and Photo credits above – kentonline.co.uk. businessforkent.co.uk. bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. Interior photo of Priestfield from PA via dailymail.co.uk.

New Stadium in Rotherham
The good news for Millers fans up in South Yorkshire is that Rotherham United have a new stadium, the 12,021-capacity New York Stadium, which was built by, and is owned by Rotherham United FC. The bad news for Millers fans is that their new manager is the felonious controversy-magnet Steve Evans, late of Crawley Town. Evans’ latest dust-up sees Evans banned and fined (the FA.com). Well, once Evans eventually takes his act elsewhere, RUFC supporters will still have their shiny new ground, which, as you can see below, looks rather nice. First of all, the New York Stadium is located in the city-center of Rotherham, not out in some god-forsaken lot many kilometers outside the town’s core, like with Coventry City’s Ricoh Stadium or Colchester United’s Colchester Community Stadium. And as far as the design of the New York Stadium goes, you can see in the photo below how the stands are very close to the pitch and they have a steep incline, making for excellent sight-lines. The staggered roof line prevents the stadium from having a bland, cookie-cutter look. Plus, Rotherham top brass didn’t pull a Notts County and over-expand – 12,000 capacity suits Rotherham United just fine. Rotherham is only 9.5 kilometers (or 7 miles) from Sheffield in South Yorkshire. So it has always been an uphill battle for Rotherham United to build a larger fan base. That is because the club is situated right in the midst of the fan bases of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, both of whom can draw in the the high 20K-range when playing in the upper reaches of the football ladder. The last time Rotherham United were in the second division was a 4-season spell from 2001-02 to 2004-05, and they drew in the mid-7,000-per game range then. In their new stadium this season, Rotherham are currently averaging 8,135 per game and will probably end up averaging around 7 or 8 thousand this season, maybe a bit higher than that if they can maintain a promotion drive (Rotherham are currently just within the play-off places in 7th place).

Rotherham’s new ground is called the ‘New’ York Stadium because the RUFC chairman Tony Stewart insists that this was what this section of Rotherham was nicknamed a century ago. Whatever. He just thought that the name would garner attention, and maybe it would lead to some sponsorship tie-in with the actual city of New York or even the New York Yankees (dream on). The stadium was built on the former site of the Guest and Chrimes Foundry {which you can still see via Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here}.

Below, The New York Stadium, Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Opened 18 August, 2012. Capacity 12,021 (all seated). Built and owned by Rotherham FC.
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Photo credit above – unattributed at rotherfm.co.uk/news/local-news/new-york-stadium-good-for-rotherham/.

___

Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures and stadium capacities, http://www.soccerway.com/national/england/league-two/20122013/regular-season/ .
Thanks to Footballkitnews.com, for info on 2012-13 jerseys- http://www.footballkitnews.com/category/english-football-league-two/.
Thanks to Footballfashion.org, for info on 2012-13 jerseys – http://footballfashion.org/wordpress/category/201213-kits-jerseys/.
Thanks to Footballshirtculture.com, for info on 2012-13 jerseys – http://www.footballshirtculture.com/.
Thanks to Wycombe Wanderers site for 125th anniversary crest – http://www.wwfcshop.co.uk/collections/all-products/products/kuk01703 .

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

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NFL, AFC North – Map
Helmet iilustrations above from misterhabs.com/helmets.

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

    Baltimore Ravens logo & helmet history (1996-2012) – click on image below

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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] (gridiron-uniforms.com/Defunct 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

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

From bengals.com/team/history/bengals-logos.html, ‘Bengals Logos – Then & Now‘ (bengals.com).

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

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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-map_browns_49ers_1st-buffalo-bills_miami-seahawks_1st-baltomore-colts_la-dons_chicago-rockets_brooklyn-dodgers_ny-yankees_segment_e.gif
AAFC (1946-49) map
Image credits above – map of 1940s USA from etsy.com/listing/99272564/vintage-usa-map-1940s. Illustrations of AAFC uniforms from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of LA Dons ticket from: qualitycards.com. Photo of 1949 AAFC Chicago Hornets media guide from ebay.com. Photo of 1946 Cleveland Browns game program from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cleveland_Browns_game_program,_September_1946.png. Logos of AAFC teams from logoserver.com/AAFC and logoshak.com [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‘ (en.wikipedia.org)). 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 en.wikipedia.org, …{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

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Image and Photo credits above – Helmet and uniform illustrations from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of 1951 Bowman Paul Brown trading card from vintagecardprices.com. Tinted b&w photo of Otto Graham unattributed at gregandmark.blogspot.com/2009/12/otto-graham-episode. Photo of 1950 Bowman trading card of Lou Groza at vintagecardprices.com. Photo of Jim Brown from top100.nfl.com/all-time-100. Photo of Marion Motley in 1948 AAFC championship game from Cleveland Plain Dealer archive via cleveland.com.

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‘ (en.wikipedia.org),
{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 (en.wikipedia.org)…
{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’ (clevescene.com), 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
bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. clevelandbrowns.com/stadium.

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_helmet-history_logos_1933-2012_segment_h.gif
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)‘ (exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org). 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‘ (jerseydatabase.com). 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‘ (en.wikipedia.org)}, 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…
{excerpt}…
…”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 steelers.com, ‘History of the Steelers Logo‘.

pittsburgh-pirates-steelers_logos_1933-2002_e.gif
Image and Photo credits above – Photo of Steelers helmet from fansedge.com/Pittsburgh-Steelers-Authentic-Helmet. Illustrations of Steelers helmets and uniforms from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Logos from sportslogos.net. Text excerpt from http://www.steelers.com/history/logo-history.html.

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
pittsburgh-steelers_1970s_4-super-bowl-titles_bradshaw_harris_greene_ham_noll_d.gif
Photo credits above – Terry Bradshaw on SI cover (1974) from sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault. Photo of Franco Harris from nacnn.com. Photo of Jack Ham and Mean Joe Greene in discussion by Gojovich/Getty Images via examiner.com/slideshow/the-steelers-of-the-1970s. Photo of Vince Lombardi Trophy from mlive.com. Photo of Coach Noll being carried off field on the shoulders of Harris and Greene from steelersuk.com/history/seventies/chucknoll/75.

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 Pro-footballl-reference.com/Teams, for info on game dates, records, etc, pro-football-reference.com/teams.

Thanks to ebay.com, for image of 1950s-era playing card with 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers’ logo,ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1950s-1960s-PITTSBURGH-STEELERS-Playing-Card.
Thanks to Logoserver for Pittsbutgh Steelers’ 1951-60 logo. logoserver.com/NFL.html,
Thanks to ioffer.com or the photo of the Steelers’ white-jersey-front logo patch – ioffer.com/i/pittsburgh-steelers-logo-jersey-gray-border-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), sportslogos.net/Steelers 1962 Helmet [with 'Steel' Steelmark logo on yellow-gold helmet].
http://www.sportslogos.net.

Thanks to Logo Shak, for some old logos, such as logoshak.com/Bengals [1968-69 Cincinnati Bengals logo].
http://www.logoshak.com.

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

Helmet photos -
Thanks to sportsmemorabilia.com/baltimore-ravens-authentic-helmet.
Thanks to sportsmemorabilia.com/sports-products/cincinnati-bengals-authentic-helmet
Thanks to sportsmemorabilia.com/sports-products/cleveland-browns-pro-line-helmet.
Thanks to fansedge.com/Pittsburgh-Steelers-Authentic-Helmet.

Thanks to us.fotolia.com/id/41049590, for road signs.

Thanks to The Helmet Project, for dates of helmets and info, http://www.nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project/.

Thanks to Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site, for helmets on the map page, and for dates of helmets, http://www.misterhabs.com/helmets.

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

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

October 13, 2012

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.

Please note – I am posting this AAFC map and parts of my upcoming NFL, AFC North post here, so that there will be a stand-alone article on the AAFC in my archive. The NFL, AFC North post can be seen by clicking on the following link,
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).

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

aafc-map_browns_49ers_1st-buffalo-bills_miami-seahawks_1st-baltomore-colts_la-dons_chicago-rockets_brooklyn-dodgers_ny-yankees_segment_e.gif
AAFC (1946-49) map
Image credits above – map of 1940s USA from etsy.com/listing/99272564/vintage-usa-map-1940s. Illustrations of AAFC uniforms from uniformdatabases.com/defunct teams, uniformdatabases.com/browns, uniformdatabases.com/49ers. Photo of LA Dons ticket from: qualitycards.com. Photo of 1949 AAFC Chicago Hornets media guide from ebay.com. Photo of 1946 Cleveland Browns game program from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cleveland_Browns_game_program,_September_1946.png. Logos of AAFC teams from logoserver.com/AAFC and logoshak.com [look in NFL section near bottom of 1st page there].


    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 its first 3 seasons it had 8 teams, and in its 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).

AAFC Stadia -
The Cleveland Browns played at the 78,000-capacity Cleveland Municipal Stadium (and would play there until 1995). One of the teams in the AAFC played in the same stadium that their NFL city-rival were playing in – from 1946 to ’49, the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA hosted both the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) and Los Angeles Dons (AAFC). The Brooklyn football Dodgers (AAFC) played at the Brooklyn baseball Dodgers’ Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY (note: the NFL’s Brooklyn football Dodgers played 15 seasons in the NFL but had folded two years before [in 1944]). The Chicago AAFC team, first called the Rockets then called the Hornets, played at Soldier Field (however, the NFL’s Chicago Bears played at Wrigley Field back then, and would not play in Soldier Field until 1971). The New York football Yankees of the AAFC played at Yankee Stadium (while the NFL’s New York Giants played at the Polo Grounds back then). The Buffalo Bisons, who changed their name to the Buffalo Bills (I) in the second AAFC season in 1947, played at the first version of War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, which only had a capacity of 30,000 and did not yet have the giant looming roofed grandstand (which was built in 1960). The Baltimore Colts (I) of the AAFC played in Balltimore’s Municipal Stadium, which only had a single deck back then and a capacity of 30,000 (back in the 1946 to 1953 time period) [the second incarnation of the Baltimore Colts (II), also played at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium from 1953 to 1983]. The San Francisco 49ers of the AAFC played at Kezar Stadium, which was (and still is) a utilitarian-single-stand-with-bleachers-bowl-shape stadium with a 59,000-capacity that was built in a residential neighborhood of San Francisco which was adjacent to Golden Gate Park. The Forty-Niners played at Kezar Stadium from 1946-49 in the AAFC and from 1950 to 1970 in the NFL. The hapless and doomed Miami Seahawks played at the Orange Bowl to tiny crowds, then packed up and moved to Baltimore in ’47.

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.

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 map page above), and went on to draw between 40,000 and 50,000 for most of their home games in the AAFC. {Here are the uniforms of the 1947 AAFC Cleveland Browns (gridiron-uniforms.com).} 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 20K range), Buffalo played almost to capacity in their 30K-capacity stadium, and San Francisco drew the highest of the three, usually 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 1946 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‘ (en.wikipedia.org)}. 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, while 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 at en.wikipedia.org, …{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 had steamrolled through all four years of the AAFC.

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

browns_paul-brown_otto-graham_lou-groza_jim-brown_marion-motley_helmets-1946-61_k.gif
Image and Photo credits above -
Helmet and uniform illustrations from uniformdatabases.com/browns.
Photo of 1951 Bowman Paul Brown trading card from vintagecardprices.com.
Tinted b&w photo of Otto Graham unattributed at gregandmark.blogspot.com/2009/12/otto-graham-episode.
Photo of 1950 Bowman trading card of Lou Groza at vintagecardprices.com.
Photo of Jim Brown from top100.nfl.com/all-time-100.
Photo of Marion Motley in 1948 AAFC championship game from Cleveland Plain Dealer archive via cleveland.com.

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 1945-46, 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‘ (en.wikipedia.org),
{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 Cleveland Browns win all 4 of the the AAFC’s championships, the Browns 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.

    Enter Art Modell, exit Paul Brown, and the start of Cleveland Browns fans’ trials and tribulations…

Then Art Modell, who made his money in the New York City advertising industry, bought the team in 1961, fired Paul Brown two years later, and reigned over a team that won just 1 more NFL championship title but never made a Super Bowl appearance, then announced he intended to moved the team to Baltimore in 1996 despite the fact that the city of Cleveland was about to vote on a new stadium referendum (which passed). Art Modell never set foot in Cleveland again after he took the Browns’ front office and the Browns’ player roster to Baltimore, to become the Baltimore Ravens (NFL, 1996-2012). 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. That occurred in 1999. The only problem was – Modell took that 1995 Cleveland Browns team and turned it into the 2000 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champions. So Browns fans might have got their team back, but they will always wonder what might have been if the ’95 Browns had remained in Cleveland.

___

Thanks to Logoshak for many of the AAFC logos.
Thanks to logosever.com for several AAFC logos.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘All-America Football Conference‘.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page at sportslogos.net, for some logos and for dates of logos.
Thanks to The Gridiron Uniform Database for allowing billsportsmaps the use of the site’s helmet and uniform illustrations,
uniformdatabases.com/defunct teams [APFA, NFL, AAFC), uniformdatabases.com/browns,
uniformdatabases.com/49ers.

October 3, 2012

NFL, AFC East – Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list (up to 2012 season) / Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets).

Filed under: NFL>AFC East,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 8:56 pm

nfl_afc_east-2012map_titles-list_segment_e.gif
NFL, AFC East – Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list
Photo of Vince Lombardi Trophy from mlive.com.

    Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets).

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buffalo-bills_helmet-history_logos_1960-2012_segment_c.gif
Buffalo Bills logos & helmet history (1960-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.
Photo of Buffalo Bills’ replica helmet from amazon.com/Riddell-Buffalo-Bills-Replica-Helmet.

The Buffalo Bills were established in the AFL (1960-69), and became an NFL franchise in 1970, as part of the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. The Bills are named after the old AAFC team called the Buffalo Bills (I) (AAFC, 1947-49). That first version of the Buffalo Bills in the late 1940s in the All-America Football Conference, was, at one point in time (a time that stretched from at least Oct. 2012 to Jan. 2014) according to Wikipedia, named after a name given to the male bison – a “billy” {see this, which has since been sensibly edited to reflect actual history, ‘Buffalo Bills/History‘ (paragraph 3)}. As a life-long Buffalo Bills fan that was news to me. If that was the case, than why did the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC feature a logo that had Buffalo Bill Cody riding a buffalo? {See this, ‘AAFC‘ (logoserver), and see Buffalo Bison/Bills [AAFC] illustration further down}. I am beginning to think that that bit of information was a bit of Wikipedia vandalism, because the two following sites refute that since-edited-out claim…This site (history.buffalobills.com), says that the 1947 Buffalo Bills were named after Buffalo Bill Cody. So, in fact, does the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website, in this chart ‘Franchise nicknames‘ (profootballhof.com). The Buffalo Bills, either version, have to be named after world-famous 19th century Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody. In no possible way could they not be named after Buffalo Bill Cody, because the phrase Buffalo Bill was so well-known and was in popular currency then. That’s because Buffalo Bill was not just famous in America, he was world-renowned. Sure, most of the young folks today would probably not know of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West revues, but in 1947 they sure would have, and some older folks back in 1947 would have actually gone to Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West revues – the guy toured widely and extensively and elaborately and to huge popularity, in the US and in Canada, and in Europe, for 30 years – from the 1880s all the way up to the first decade of the 1900s. As the narrator in the 9-minute documentary video in the following link says, Buffalo Bill Cody was America’s first superstar.

Buffalo Bill “Beyond the Legend” (9:03 Video uploaded by Little Bighorn Productions at youtube.com).
buffalo-bill-cody_galloping-bison-with-oval-portrait-logo_1887_c.gif
Imagr credit above – Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming via http://www.studio360.org/2011/jul/15/.

So what I’m saying is that in 1960, when the Buffalo Bills (II) were established, the only way you would not have instantly thought of Buffalo Bill Cody if you heard the phrase “Buffalo Bills” would be if you lived in a cave. So how about it, Buffalo Bills’ organization, how about finally placing a representation of old Buffalo Bill Cody in red-and-blue on, say, a Bills’ shoulder-patch-logo or something – the Buffalo Bills’ organization should advertise the fact that the Bills are named after Buffalo Bill Cody – America’s first superstar – rather than what the organization has been doing for the last 50 years, which is to never, ever acknowledge the origins of their nickname. The fact that the Buffalo Bills are named after Buffalo Bill Cody is a cool bit of history that the franchise should be proud of.

    The Buffalo All-Americans and their 2 disputed NFL titles

The Buffalo Bills are the second NFL franchise from Buffalo, NY. The first was the Buffalo All-Americans, a charter member of the APFA [NFL], who played from 1920 to 1929, finishing off as the Buffalo Bisons (I), before folding in late 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression. The Buffalo All-Americans wore orange and black {here are the uniforms of the NFL’s 1921 Buffalo All-Americans (gridirons-uniforms.com/[Defunct Teams/Buffalo All Americans 1921])}. The Buffalo All-Americans have claimed two disputed NFL titles – the first two league titles in 1920, and in 1921. The Buffalo All-Americans officially finished in 3rd place in the first NFL [APFA] season in 1920, at 9-1-1. But with modern NFL tie-breaking rules, which the NFL instituted in 1972 – but not retroactively – the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans would be co-champions (at .814 Pct.) with the official champions of 1920, the Akron Pros (NFL, 1920-26), who went 8-0-3. [In the NFL, from 1920 all the way until 1971, ties were, illogically, thrown out of the computation when arriving at a team's winning Pct. Finally, in 1972, the NFL revised this, and ties were established as a .500 Pct. result (ie, half a win and half a loss)].

In 1921, in the second season of the APFA [NFL], the Buffalo All-Americans went 9-1-2, while the Chicago Staleys (the present-day Chicago Bears) went 9-1-1. The rules of the league stipulated that the Buffalo All-Americans and the Chicago Staleys should have been co-champions (because, as mentioned, ties were thrown out). But the league owners, influenced by the lobbying of Chicago Staleys’ player/owner George Halas, voted to award only the Chicago Staleys the 1921 title, fabricating, on the spot, a new rule that said a second match-up between two teams which were tied in the standings “counted more”. Here is what it says at ‘1921 APFA season/Def Facto championship game‘(en.wikipedia.org)…{excerpt} “The league then implemented the first ever tiebreaker: a rule, now considered archaic and removed from league rulebooks, that states that if two teams play multiple times in a season, the last game between the two teams carries more weight. Thus, the Chicago victory actually counted more in the standings, giving Chicago the championship. Buffalo sports fans have been known to refer to this, justly or unjustly, as the “Staley Swindle,” and have cited it as the first evidence of a sports curse on the city.”…{end of excerpt}.

The Buffalo All-Americans beat the Chicago Staleys 7-6 in Buffalo on Thanksgiving Day in 1921, then lost to Chicago 10-7 in Chicago on December 4, 1921 – and then later on the league voted that the second game “counted more”. After the fact. Changing the rules after the fact is by definition crooked.

{From subjectsummary.com/1921-NFL-Championship-controversy [see the 10th and 11th points, halfway down this page]. {éxcerpt}…”Halas decided to declare that the title belonged to Chicago and began to persuade the other owners in the league to give his Staleys the title. The new rule stated that a rematch counts more than a first matchup, which handed the championship to Chicago.”…{end of excerpt}.

    The Buffalo Bills (I) of the AAFC (franchise est. 1946/ merged with Cleveland Browns in 1950 when the Browns joined the NFL)

The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) was formed in 1946. It competed with the NFL for 4 seasons, and actually outdrew the NFL (see 6 paragraphs below at AAFC pdf). Then, after the 1949 season, 3 of the 7 teams from the AAFC joined the NFL for the 1950 season. Two present-day NFL franchises came from the AAFC – the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers. The other team that went from the AAFC to the NFL in 1950 was the original Baltimore Colts, who wore green-and-silver and who only played one NFL season (1950) before folding {1950 NFL Baltimore Colts [(I)/defunct] (gridiron-uniforms.com/Defunct teams)}. [Note: the Baltimore Colts (II) [colors: blue-and-white] were formed in 1953 as an NFL expansion team]).

The Buffalo AAFC team formed in 1946 was originally called the Buffalo Bisons (II) (1946), then in their second season, the franchise, which was owned by James Breuil of the Frontier Oil Company, had a local contest to pick a new name. The winning entry – Buffalo Bills – worked a tie-in with the team-owner’s company in that both referred to the Wild West. Here is an excerpt from that page titled ‘Nicknames’ at the Pro Football Hall of Fame site {‘Nicknames‘ (profootballhof.com)}…

{excerpt} …”BUFFALO BILLS – Buffalo’s team in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946 was the Bisons. In 1947 a contest was held to rename the team, which was owned by James Breuil of the Frontier Oil Company. The winning entry suggested Bills, reflecting on the famous western frontiersman, Buffalo Bill Cody. Carrying the “frontier” theme further, the winning contestant further offered that the team was being supported by Frontier Oil and was “opening a new frontier in sports in Western New York.” When Buffalo joined the new American Football League in 1960, the name of the city’s earlier pro football entry was adopted.”…
{end of excerpt}.

So in their second season, in 1947, the Buffalo AAFC franchise changed their name to the Buffalo Bills (I). With the 1947-49 AAFC Buffalo Bills, the similarity to world-famous 19th century Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody was used as a play on words in their logo (see 5 paragraphs below). The Buffalo Bisons/Bills of the AAFC never won a title in the four seasons that the AAFC played – the Cleveland Browns won all four AAFC titles. After Buffalo’s first, poor season in 1946, when the Buffalo Bisons went 3-10-1, the Buffalo Bills (I) were competitive, going 8-4-2 in 1947; and then 7-7-0 with a league final appearance in 1948 (losing to the Browns 49-7 in Cleveland in the 1948 AAFC title game); and in their last season of 1949, the original Bills went 5-5-2. The Buffalo Bills of the AAFC drew very good for the time-period, drawing in the high-20,000s-to-30,000-per-game-range, which was higher than the NFL average for that time, which was 27,602 per game for the 1946-49 time period. But the NFL refused to allow the AAFC Buffalo Bills (I) to join the league in 1950, because they insisted Buffalo was too small and the climate was too cold for it to support an NFL franchise. In other words, the NFL conveniently ignored the fact that there was a team already in the NFL that was from a city that was smaller and colder than Buffalo – Green Bay. Although 4 owners voted against the Buffalo Bills joining the NFL in 1950, the opposition to Buffalo entering the NFL in 1950 coalesced around two owners – Chicago Bears’ owner George Halas and Los Angeles Rams’ owner Dan Reeves.

Here is Wikipedia’s entry on the subject…
{excerpt from ‘Buffalo Bills (AAFC)/’ at en.wikipedia.org}…”There was some controversy over Buffalo’s exclusion from the enlarged NFL. Buffalo had experienced more success on the field and at the gate than Baltimore, and the original three-team plan would have left the league with 13 teams, not only a odd number, but also one considered to be bad luck. The move had left Buffalo as the only AAFC market without an NFL team post-merger, and one that had outdrawn the NFL average in fan attendance. With that in mind, Buffalo fans produced more than 15,000 season ticket pledges, raised $175,000 in a stock offering, and filed a separate application to join. When the vote to admit Buffalo was held on January 20, 1950, a majority of league owners were willing to accept Buffalo; however, George Halas, who had a longstanding animosity toward Buffalo’s previous NFL franchise, and Dan Reeves blocked the Bills’ entry into the league. League rules required a unanimous vote, but the vote, which included the other AAFC teams that were already admitted, was only 9-4 in favor. League commissioner Bert Bell had already put out a schedule based on the 13 teams, and Reeves cited as his excuse for voting against admission was simply that “it was silly to vote in a new city without first having a good idea where my teams would be playing and when.”
…{end of excerpt}.

The man who made the Chicago Bears, George Halas, the man whose initials are on the sleeves of the Chicago Bears’ jersey to this day, twice shafted the city of Buffalo – first in 1921 by convincing the other owners to make up, after the fact, a new rule to deny the Buffalo All-Americans a rightful share of the 1921 title, and then in 1950 by voting against Buffalo entering the NFL. Hey Buffalo fans, please remember this…we have been screwed by George Halas’ Chicago team twice. The Buffalo Bills of the AAFC were drawing higher than the NFL-league-average, but the NFL didn’t want them? Where is the logic in that? The NFL in 1950 did not want a team (from an unfashionable city) that was outdrawing the NFL average. Is that a business plan, or is that restraint of trade? It was restraint of trade. So the NFL owners barred the high-drawing Bills from entering the league, but let in the original Baltimore Colts of 1947-50, even though they knew the original Baltimore Colts were very shaky financially and did not have good support – and then those Baltimore Colts folded after the 1950 NFL season and entered history as a confusing footnote.

Buffalo was the 14th-biggest city in America in 1950, with a metopolitan-area population of around 895,000 {see this, ‘Top 20 U.S. Metropolitan Areas by Population, 1790-2010, Approximate Populations in Thousands‘ (peakbagger.com).
Here is the 1950 NFL final standings {1950 NFL (pro-football-reference.com}.
So, in 1950, in the 13-team NFL, the top 11 of the top 12 most-populous cities in America had NFL franchises (Boston did not have an NFL team in 1950, but had failed in the past to support 3 different NFL franchises there [see the New England Patriots' section further down in this post] and both New York City and Chicago had 2 NFL teams each), while 13th-largest city then – Minneapolis, MN – did not. But the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Golden Gophers were a big college football team that had won a consensus national title in 1940 and played in a 52,000-capacity stadium, whereas there has never, ever been a large college football program in western New York to compete with a pro team in Buffalo (11 years later in 1961 the Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL). And the NFL said that Buffalo – the 14th-largest city in the USA in 1950 – was not big enough? The position the NFL owners had to barring Buffalo in 1950 looks more like restraint of trade than any sort coherent plan for expansion. And when you factor in the city of Rochester 60 miles east of Buffalo, and the nearby Canadian cities of Hamilton and Toronto (both of which are less than 2 hours by car away from Buffalo), the catchment population (defined as one-hours’ drive away, meaning Rochester+Buffalo+Hamilton, Ontario) for a Buffalo franchise was well over a million-and-a-half people in 1950 (Buffalo’s 1950 population being around 895,000 as listed in the previous link), and the Buffalo Bills’ 60-mile-radius market is now well over 2.7 million people [current population figures...Buffalo, NY metro population, around 1.1 million; Rochester, NY metro population, around 1.0 million; Hamilton, ON, Canada metro population, around 700,000; plus one-and-a- half hours' drive away is Toronto, ON, Canada, with around 5.1 million {all 2011 figures}).

Here is what the pro football historians' newsletter called the Coffin Corner, in an article by Stan Grosshandler (from 1980), has to say about the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC being denied entry into the NFL in 1950...
{excerpt}..."Buffalo, a success both at the gate and on the field, was denied entry and owner Jim Breuil had to settle for a share of the Cleveland team. One of the odd facts of the war [between the NFL and the AAFC] is that the loser, the AAFC, averaged 38,310 a game while the NFL averaged only 27,602…”{end of excerpt).
pdf, THE COFFIN CORNER: Vol. 2, No. 7 (1980). “ALL-AMERICA FOOTBALL CONFERENCE”, By Stan Grosshandler.

buffalo-bisons-1946uniforms_buffalo-bills-1949uniforms_aafc_buffalo-bills-1949-logo-buffalo-bill-cody-with-helmet-and-football-uniform-riding-a-buffalo_d.gif
Image credits above –
Buffalo Bisons (II) AAFC 1946 uniforms and Buffalo Bills (I) AAFC 1949 uniforms from uniformdatabases.com/defunct.html. Buffalo Bill Cody logo [Buffalo Bills (I) AAFC 1947-49 logo], uploaded by Faulkster at fanbase.com/photo/406607.

    The Buffalo Bills (II) (est. 1960, AFL, 1960-69/ joined the NFL in 1970 as part of the AFL/NFL merger)

The Buffalo Bills (II) were established in the American Football League in 1960, as a charter member of the then-8-team league. The Bills’ owner was, and still is Ralph Wilson, Jr. (who as of 2012 is 93 years old). Wilson was heir to an automobile franchise in Michigan. At the time (circa 1959), Ralph Wilson was a part-owner of the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Wilson’s link to the Lions is shown by the Bills’ first color scheme – for their first two seasons the Buffalo Bills of the AFL wore silver-and-blue, like the Lions. [It might be a coincidence or it might not be, that the Bills of the AFL had the same color scheme that the previous pro football team in Buffalo had a decade before. I could not find any facts about this one way or the other. My guess is that Wilson & Co. knew that the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC wore blue-and-silver, which made it even more logical for the Bills of 1960 to carry on the colors of the last pro football team in the city and acknowledge their owner's former ties to the Detroit Lions simultaneously]. The Buffalo Bills switched from blue-and-silver to blue-white-and-red in 1963, and that year they also introduced their red-standing-bison logo, which they placed on their now-white helmets. Blue jerseys remained from the last color scheme, a slightly brighter shade of royal blue, now with red and white trim. The Bills kept white helmets when they changed their logo in 1973 to their blue-charging-bison-with-diagonal-red-streak logo. This has been the Buffalo Bills’ logo since 1973 all the way up to 2012. In 1984, the Bills changed their helmets from white to red because the bulk of the teams in their division then (Colts, Dolphins, and Patriots) all wore white helmets and it made it hard for Bills’ quarterbacks to see their receivers down-field. Red helmets were worn by the Bills from 1984 to 2010, then the Bills returned to their early 1970s look of the charging bison crest on a white helmet with classy retro-look grey facemask.

The Buffalo Bills of the NFL – that is, the Buffalo Bills from 1970 to the present-day – have never worn silver-and-blue. So here is my throwback uniform concept – every year since 2007, the New York Jets wear, as an alternate uniform, their franchises’ original colors of navy-blue-and-gold a couple times a year…so why not have the Buffalo Bills wear, as an alternate uniform, the striking 1946 Buffalo Bisons’ uniforms, complete with the silver-and-blue flying-wing helmet (you can also see the 1946 Buffalo Bisons’ uniform in the illustration above, top left). Or at least use the following as a Bills’ throwback uniform – the 1960 Buffalo Bills’ uniforms, which featured a silver helmet with players’ number in blue block-serif font {1960 Buffalo Bills [uniforms] (uniformdatabase.com).


Like the Buffalo Bills (I) of the AAFC before them, the Buffalo Bills of the AFL played in the city of Buffalo’s run-down and poorly-maintained War Memorial Stadium, aka “the Rockpile” (which was opened in 1937, and was partially demolished in 1988). The antiquated War Memorial Stadium evoked such a bygone era that they filmed most of the baseball-game-scenes in the 1984 film The Natural, starring Robert Redford, at War Memorial Stadium. War Memorial Stadium had a capacity of 46,500, but that was hard to substantiate, seeing as how many of the bleacher seats were falling apart. Writer Brock Yates said that the stadium “looks as if whatever war it was a memorial to had been fought within its confines.” Yeah, the place was a dump – but it was our dump. It gave the Bills a pretty good home-field advantage, because visiting players would invariably be shocked and stressed out by the appallingly inadequete facilities there. The Bills played at War Memorial Stadium for all 10 seasons of the AFL and for their first 3 seasons as an NFL team (1970-72).

war-memorial-stadium_buffalo-bills_h.gif
Image and Photo credits above – aerial black-and-white photo from stadiumsofprofootball.com. Photo of 1966 Bills in the huddle at War Memorial Stadium from tumblr.com. Two screenshots of video of War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo uploaded by broadwayfillmore at youtube.com.

Then in 1973 the Bills moved 11 miles south-east, out to the suburbs, and into an 80,000-capacity stadium in Orchard Park, NY. Now called Ralph Wilson Stadium, the stadium was originally called Rich Stadium, and was one of the first examples of a pro sports team using naming rights to pull in revenue ['Rich Products' (en.wikipedia.org)]. At the time (the mid 1970s and the 1980s), the Bills played in one of the largest stadiums in the NFL.

After a 1999 renovation, the capacity of the Ralph Wilson Stadium was reduced by about 4,500, and subsequent renovations have put the present-day capacity at 73,079. That makes the Buffalo Bills’current stadium capacity [2012] the 11th-largest in the 32-team NFL {see this list with clickable columns at en.wikipedia.org/List of current National Football League stadiums}. The capacity reductions were done in part so the Bills wouldn’t fall victim to the NFL’s draconian black-out rule. These days, despite the fact that the Bills pretty much suck, they hardly ever get blacked out. So there’s that. But Buffalo has the longest streak in the NFL without making the playoffs (12 years now). And to be perfectly frank about it, the wide right kick, the 4 straight Super Bowl defeats, and the soul-destroying failure by the Bills’ kickoff team to stop the kickoff-return-via-lateral-pass by the Tennessee Titans in the 1999 playoffs will never really go away. Unless the Bills finally win a Super Bowl.

Since 2008, Buffalo has played one of their 8 home games each season in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the retractable-roof stadium Rogers Centre [formerly called Skydome] (capacity 54,000 for football), which is to American Bills fans a constant nagging reminder that the Buffalo Bills could very well, in some dystopian future, end up as the Toronto Bills.

The Buffalo Bills won 2 AFL titles (1964, 1965).
The Bills are 0-4 in 4 Super Bowl appearances [lost in the 1990 season to the Giants, lost in the 1991 season to
the Redskins, lost in the 1992 season to the Cowboys, and lost in the 1994 season to the Cowboys).

...


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Miami Dolphins' logo and helmet history (1966-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.
Photo of Miami Dolphins' replica helmet from cardiacsports.net.

The first pro football team in Florida was the short-lived 1946 Miami Seahawks of the AAFC. The Miami Seahawks were a charter member of the AAFC and wore orange and white. They were a disaster. But the team never really got a shot at establishing itself, because the ridiculous 1946 AAFC schedule really hurt the team - the Miami Seahawks had to play 7 of their first 8 games on the road. By the time the Seahawks were set to play their last 6 games, all of them at home, the team was 1-7, and attendance dropped off from 28,000 (in their first home game) to just around a 9,000 average for those later 6 home games. The ownership was also the most under-capitalized in the AAFC, plus it hurt the franchise that Miami was not at all a very big city in the 1940s (it was even smaller than Buffalo back then). With the Miami Seahawks over $350,000 in debt, the AAFC front office stepped in and took over the franchise after the 1946 season, and moved the Miami Seahawks to Baltimore, where the franchise was originally planned to be (before stadium issues arose). The Miami Seahawks became the (original) Baltimore Colts (I) (AAFC, 1947-49/ NFL, 1950 / defunct), who wore green-and-silver and, like the latter incarnation of the Colts, played at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, and who, in 1950, joined the NFL along with 2 other AAFC teams, the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers. But these Baltimore Colts also went bust, lasting just one NFL season (1950). [The city of Baltimore got a more stable NFL franchise 3 years later when, in 1953, the Baltimore Colts (II) were formed (NFL, 1953-1983/ moved to Indianapolis as the Indianapolis Colts, NFL 1984-2012).
...

    Miami Dophins (est. 1966 as an AFL expansion team/ joined the NFL in 1970 as part of the AFL/NFL meger)

It would be another 19 years before Florida got another pro football team, and this time Miami got an AFL franchise after the NFL prevented the city of Atlanta, GA from acquiring one. In 1965, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle learned that the AFL was intent on placing a team in Georgia, and had awarded a franchise to a group of investors contingent upon the city of Atlanta approving the deal. So Rozelle literally took the next plane flight down to Atlanta, and made the city choose between an AFL or an NFL franchise. Back then, with the instability of the AFL, that choice would be a no-brainer and Atlanta opted for the NFL - hence the Atlanta Falcons (NFL, 1966-2012). So this unclaimed AFL franchise, for $7.5 million, went to a group in Miami that was headed by lawyer/politician Joe Robbie and entertainer Danny Thomas. A contest for the name of the new team got over 19,000 entries, with 622 entries suggesting the name "Dolphins". The Miami Dolphins' team colors were selected as "aqua and coral". The Dolphins' turquoise blue has morphed a number of times - it started as more of a greenish-blue that was a bit dark {here, 1966}, then from 1970 to 1979 it was a much more lighter blue-green {here, 1970), then in the 1980 to 1990 period it turned much darker and into a more greenish hue that resembled teal {here, 1984}, then from 1991 to '96 {1995, here} it got lighter again and looked more like it's 1970s-era light turquoise, then when the team re-did it's color scheme in 1997 to turquoise-orange-navy blue, the jerseys got way more darker and teal-like again {1998, here. You can see all these uniform changes that the Dolphins have had through the years at the Miami Dolphins' page at the Gridiron Uniforms Database (gridiron-uniforms.com, who have changed their goddamn png addresses THREE FREAKING TIMES IN 3 FREAKING YEARS [WTF you guys?]).

The Dolphins are one of the few NFL teams that regularly wears white as its home jersey (many other teams do it maybe once or twice a season {see this, ‘White at Home in the NFL‘ {uni-watch.com)}, and Dallas always does it). In 1972, the Dolphins started their tradition of wearing white jerseys – for home day games – in order to give a bit of a disadvantage to visiting teams, who would have to wear their dark jerseys in the hot Florida sun. Here are the uniforms the 17-0 Miami Dolphins wore each game in 1972 {1972 Miami Dolphins (gridiron-uniforms.com/1972_Miami)}.
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Photo credit above – unattributed at.dholmes.com.

Coincidence or not, the start of this tradition for the Dolphins of wearing white jerseys at home games coincided with the 1972 Dolphins’ perfect season. The 1972 Dolphins are the only NFL team to go undefeated in the regular season, then go on to win the Super Bowl. The Dolphins then went on to win the Super Bowl in the following season of 1973, becoming the second NFL team to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles, after Green Bay (since then, Pittsburgh – twice, San Francisco – twice, Dallas, and New England have also won back-to-back Super Bowl titles).

The Dolphins’ Head coach during this era was Don Shula, who eventually became the most successful Head coach in professional gridiron football history in terms of total games won. Don Shula won 347 NFL games as head coach, and retired as Dolphins’ head coach in 1995. Shula’s Dolphins teams posted losing records in only 2 of his 26 seasons as the helm.
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Photo and Image credits above – Don Shula as Redskins player, ebay.com. AP file photo via USA Today. Dolphins’ helmet from uniformdatabases.com/teams/1972_Miami.html.

Six future Football Hall of Fame members played for Miami during the 1970s, including fullback Larry Csonka, quarterback Bob Griese, and linebacker Nick Buoniconti. ‘[Miami Dolphins'] Pro Football Hall of Famers‘ (en.wikipedia.org). The Dolphins, after the Super Bowl titles in the 1972 and 1973 seasons, have never won another Super Bowl title, but they came close a couple times in the 1980s when Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino was their QB – losing in the Super Bowl to the Redskins in the 1982 season, and then losing in the Super Bowl to the 49ers in the 1984 season.

The Dolphins’ first stadium was the famous, but eventually run-down and obsolete Orange Bowl stadium, which was located east of downtown Miami in the city’s Little Havana district. This stadium opened in 1937 and was demolished in 2008, and was also home to the Miami Hurricanes’ college football team, as well as the huge annual college football bowl game, The Orange Bowl, from 1938 to 1995. For most of the latter part of it’s lifetime, the Orange Bowl had a capacity of around 72,000, and it hosted no less than 5 Super Bowls (the Orange Bowl stadium hosted Super Bowls 2, 3, 5, 10, and 13). The Miami Dolphins played their first 21 seasons at the Orange Bowl stadium (from 1966-69 in the AFL, and from 1970-1986 in the NFL). Then in 1987 the Dolphins moved 12 miles north to the suburb of Miami Gardens, FL and into Joe Robbie Stadium, which has a capacity of around 75,000 and, after 6 name changes, is now known as Sun Life Stadium.

There is an urban legend that every year all the surviving members of the 1972 17-0 Miami Dolphins meet up and pop the champagne and celebrate, after the last team in the NFL that season loses its first game (meaning the 1972 Dolphins’ perfect season has yet again failed to be duplicated). This is false. Granted, one year, 3 of the ex-1972-Dolphins who live in Coral Gables, FL – Bob Griese, Dick Anderson, and Nick Buoniconti – met in a parking lot there and popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate after the last undefeated team that year finally lost a game, but it only happened once. Nevertheless, the urban myth took off from there and now it is a hackneyed trope of some media outlets (such as the Jim Rome radio show) that the 1972 Dolphins are bitter old men glorifying in the lack of perfection of the other NFL teams. Here is the fact-checking and myth-debunking site Snopes.com’s page on the subject, ‘Miami Neat‘. The Dolphins players from the 1972 team might not be making a big deal of that 17-0 perfect season, but the Miami Dolphins’ front office sure was for a while – in both 1997 and 2002, the Dolphins featured a front-jersey-logo-patch that was in honor of the 1972 team – for the 25th anniversary of the perfect season (in 1997), and for the 30th anniversary of the perfect season (in 2002). You can see them at the Dolphins’ logo & helmet history {here, again}.

Miami Dolphins: 2 Super Bowl titles (1972, 1973).
The Dolphins are 2-3 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to the Cowboys in the 1971 season, lost to the Redskins in the 1982 season, and lost to the 49ers in the 1984 season].

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New England Patriots’ logo and helmet history (1960-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.
Photo of New England Patriots’ replica helmet from cardiacsports.net.

There were several NFL teams that had played in Boston, Massachusetts before 1970. The first was the Boston Bulldogs, who lasted only one NFL season (in 1929). This team was actually the relocated and hard-luck Pottsville Maroons, of Pottsville, PA (NFL, 1922-28), who, like the Buffalo All-Americans, have a claim for a disputed NFL title (in 1925). The next NFL franchise in Boston was the Boston Braves/Redskins, from 1932 to 1936, who started out in dark-blue-and-gold colors {Boston Braves’ 1932 NFL uniform (gridiron-uniforms.com/redskins)}, then switched to burgandy-and-gold in their second season when they changed their name to the Boston Redskins {Boston Redskins 1933 NFL uniforms gridiron-uniforms.com/redskins)}. This Depression-era NFL team played at two different Major League Baseball stadiums in Boston – first at Braves Field (later called Nickerson Field) and then at Fenway Park. The team had lousy support – even in the Boston Redskins’ final season (1936), when they reached the NFL Championship Game (losing to the Bears), they could barely draw 10,000 per game at home. This situation resulted in the Boston Redskins’ franchise moving to Washington, DC after the 1936 season, where they promptly won their first NFL title in their first season in the nations’ capital in 1937, and where they refused to integrate and employ black players on their team until threatened with Civil Rights legal action by the Kennedy Administration in 1961, and where, to this day, they maintain their racist nickname of the Washington Redskins (NFL, 1937-2012).

Then there was the Boston Yanks. 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 who wanted to locate the franchise at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, NY (the franchise finally got to Yankee Stadium 6 years later, but not for long). The Boston Yanks (NFL, 1944-48) wore dark-green and yellow {here are the Boston Yanks’ ghastly 1946 NFL uniforms (gridiron-uniforms.com/defunct teams). The Boston Yanks played from 1944–1948 to a lopsided losing record of 14-38-3, and to vast public indifference (and for a good reason…naming your team “the Yanks” in Boston would be like trying to start a football (soccer) club in Manchester called Liverpool United). After the 1948 season the Boston Yanks moved to New York City, to become the New York Bulldogs (NFL, 1949-50), then the New York Yanks (NFL, 1950-51), but in NYC, the franchise never had a shot at success because they had to compete with the popularity of the New York Giants’ NFL team. So after the 1951 season, the franchise was revoked and folded by the NFL. The franchise was reported by the NFL to have been “sold back” to the league, but that most-likely-bogus claim by the NFL has no substantiation. The NFL was no money-maker back then.

    Boston Patriots (est. 1960, AFL, 1960-69/ joined the NFL in 1970 as part of the AFL/NFL merger; changed name to New England Patriots, 1971-2012)

The New England Patriots began as the Boston Patriots – the last of the 8 original franchises of the AFL (1960-69). Principal owner of the franchise was Billy Sullivan, a former sportswriter and PR-man for the Boston Braves (the former MLB team), as well as the PR Man for Boston College athletics, and for Notre Dame athletics. The new team’s nickname was the result of the most popular suggestion in a local naming contest, and honored the Revolutionary War heroism of Bostonians. The logo was an angry-looking Revolutionary War-era soldier in Minuteman militia garb and a tri-corner hat, in a three-point footballl stance, about to hike a football. The Boston Patriots’ colors were red-white-and-blue, and they wore white helmets and red home jerseys. In their first season, the Boston Patriots sported a confusing look on their helmets – their first helmet-logo was a floating blue tri-corner hat above the players’ number in red {see it here, Boston Patriots Helmet Logo (1960) (sportslogos.net). But the next season, 1961, and all the way up to 1992, the Boston Patriots and then the New England Patriots sported on their helmets their three-point-stance-Minuteman logo (the fellow in the logo was dubbed “Pat Patriot”). In 1993, the Patriots changed their colors to silver-navy blue-red (the official colors of the New England Patriots are nautical blue, new century silver, red, and white). The Patriots’ silver helmets feature a logo that is the grey-skinned floating head of an American Revolutionary War soldier in profile, wearing a tri-corner hat which inexplicably has red and white ribbons streaming out of the back of it. For some reason, the face of the Patriot soldier on the present-day New England Partiots’ helmet looks very much like Elvis Presley.

The early years of the Boston Patriots saw the team hampered by not having a solid and dependable stadium to play their home games in. The Patriots played in 4 different venues in and around Boston before they moved out to the suburbs in 1971. The Patriots’ first venue was the home of the former National League team the Boston Braves, now called Nickerson Field (which these days, in a very different configuration, is owned by Boston University and is now home to the Boston University Terriers’ men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams). From 1963 to 1968, the Boston Patriots played at Fenway Park. That might sound great, but, owing to the different field dimensions, football played in baseball parks is usually a bad fit, as you can see by this undated photo (probably from late 1960s) of Fenway Park as a football venue (football.ballparks.com). In 1969, the Boston Patriots played outside of the city center of Boston, in the suburb of Chestnut Hill (6 miles west of downtown Boston), at Boston College’s Alumni Hall, which only had a capacity of 26,000 back then. The vagabond Patriots moved again the following year of 1970, which was their first in the NFL following the AFL/NFL merger. Their fourth venue, in 1970, was the 30,000-seat Harvard Stadium (in the Alston neighborhood of Boston, which though owned and operated by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard University, is on the other side of the Charles River and is within the city limits of Boston). The Patriots played 7 NFL games in this stadium, then finally got a purpose-built stadium of their own the next year, in 1971. The stadium was a 60,000-seater (originally called Schaeffer Stadium, then Sullivan Stadium, then finally called Foxboro Stadium). Because of the stadium’s distance from Boston, the franchise tried to re-name their team the Bay State Patriots (after the nickname of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). But the NFL wisely put the kibosh on that strange moniker, and so, in March 1971, the franchise, more sensibly, re-named itself the New England Patriots. The only problem was that their new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts and the new stadium on the same site that replaced it in 2002 (Gillette Stadium, capacity 68,000) was and still is 21 miles SE of Boston and is actually closer to Providence, Rhode Island (20 miles NE of Providence) than it is to downtown Boston. Plus there is only one main thoroughfare (and only 2 lanes) from the stadium back to Boston and it turns the road into a nightmare traffic jam after every home game.

The newly re-named and re-located New England Patriots started out as a basement-dweller (1971-75), but turned into a mediocre to decent to very good football team thereafter. Under Head coaches Raymond Berry (in the 1985 season) and then under Bill Parcels (in the 1996 season), the Patriots made it to two Super Bowls in a losing capacity, before finally winning a Super Bowl title (in their 42nd season as a franchise) in the 2001 season, under Head coach Bill Belichick. After a one-season-gap, and still with the manners-challenged-but-tactical-genius Belichick as Head coach, the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots, still under Belichick, have made 2 more Super Bowl appearances since then, but though favorites in both games, lost both to the New York Giants (in the 2007 and the 2011 seasons). In the last eleven seasons (2001-11), the Patriots have made the playoffs 9 times, and are one of the strongest franchises in the NFL these days, which only makes Boston-centric sports fans even more insufferable.

    The Patriots…they were cheaters back then, and they are still cheaters today…
    The Snowplow Game, December 12, 1982: Patriots 3, Dolphins 0.

Below is my all-time favorite moment in New England Patriots’ history…the Snowplow Game of 1982. In NFL lore, the Snowplow Game refers to a regular-season game played in a snowstorm between the Dolphins and the Patriots on December 12, 1982, that finished 3-0, thanks to the snowplow of a Schaeffer Stadium grounds crew worker named Mark Henderson. The incident happened during a blizzard, on an icy and frozen field, with 4:45 left to go in the 4th quarter of a scoreless tie between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. With 4th down for the Patriots and with the ball on the Dolphins’ 7-yard-line, Patriots’ Head coach Ron Meyer ordered stadium grounds crew worker Mark Henderson to make one crucial modification to his job that day, which was, for the sake of visibility, to periodically clear the yard-lines of snow. So on his snowplow tractor, as he was clearing the 10-yard-line, Henderson made a quick veer to the spot where Patriots’ kicker John Smith was about to attempt a field goal. The referees did not prevent this. Moments later, Smith converted the 33-yard FG. {Here is a youtube video of the play,’Snow Plow Game 1982 Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots‘ (2:14 video uploaded by insidetheredzone at youtube.com)}. The Patriots held the Dolphins for the remainder of the game. Dolphins’ Head coach Don Shula reacted furiously, but the call stood, and the final score was New England 3, Miami 0.
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Photo and Image credits above – black-and-white photo of Henderson on snowplow tractor with ref glancing at him is unattributed at usatoday.com. Helmets are from Gridiron Uniform Database at gridiron-uniforms.com/1982. Screenshot of television image from.youtube video uploaded by insidetheredzone at youtube.com. Screenshot (large image above) of kick attempt immediately prior to the snap is unattributed and is from a Google Image search preview of a former item at ioffer.com [ here ].

New England Patriots: 3 Super Bowl titles (2001, 2003, 2004).
The Patriots are 3-4 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to the Bears in the 1985 season, lost to the Packers in the 1996 season, lost to the Giants in the 2007 season, and lost to the Guiants in the 2011 season].

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New York Jets logos & helmet history (1960-2012)
Helmet illustrations above from Gridiron Uniform Database.
Photo of New York Jets’ replica helmet from cardiacsports.net.

The New York Jets’ franchise began life as the New York Titans, a charter member of the AFL (1960-69). The Titans wore navy blue and gold their first year (1960), then navy blue and yellow in 1961 and 1962 {New York Titans 1962 AFL uniforms (gridiron-uniforms.com/1962_NYTitans). Because a new NYC stadium was not yet ready (Shea Stadium in Queens, NYC, NY would not open until 1964), the Titans had to play in the old and decrepit Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan Island, which was the former home of the New York Baseball Giants before they bolted to San Francisco, California in 1958, and was also future home (in 1962 and 1963) of the 1962 Major League Baseball expansion team the New York Mets.

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Photo and Image credits above – remembertheafl.com/TitansJets.htm.
NY Titans 1960 helmet from Gridiron Uniform Database.

In three years flat, before the franchise was purchased and re-named and completely turned around by a consortium headed by Sonny Werblin and including Leon Hess, the New York Titans managed to become over 1 million dollars in debt ($1 million in 1963 equals around $7.5 million in 2012 terms {see this, CPI Inflation Calculator}). The Titans were under-capitalized and run by someone – ex-Washington Redskins’ radio announcer Harry Wismer – who was out of his league as a major league pro sports owner. Here is a an excerpt – a quote from former New York Titans/Jets linebacker Larry Grantham – from a New York Times article from October 14, 2007, by Larry Anderson, ‘Blue and Gold, Then Green and White as the Titans Became the Jets
…“ What was it like playing for the Titans?” linebacker Larry Grantham recalled… “Well, we dressed in a rat-infested locker room at the old Polo Grounds, and when Wismer announced there were 30,000 people at the games, maybe there were 10,000 people, if that many “….{end of excerpt}.

By 1962, Wismer’s checks were bouncing and players weren’t being paid, and Dallas Texans’ (future Kansas City Chiefs) owner Lamar Hunt actually payed the salaries of Titans players at one point (that’s how important a New York City-based franchise was to the AFL). By the Titans’ third and last season, in 1963, Wismer was trying to get the few Titans’ fans attending home games to move up all the way to the seats in the front rows at the Polo Grounds, so the television cameras wouldn’t show so many empty seats.

A five-man syndicate headed by Sonny Werblin saved the team from bankruptcy, purchasing the Titans’ for 1 million dollars. The new ownership group changed the team’s name to the New York Jets and changed their colors to green-and-white (now dark-green-and-white). The new owners hired Weeb Ewbank as the GM and Head coach in 1963. In 1964, in their first season at Shea Stadium, the Jets went a mediocre 5-8-1 but drew an AFL-record-at-the-time 42,710 per game. Then attendance rose even more as the team improved, to 62,433 per game in 1967 when the Jets went 8-5-1, led by the league’s passing-yardage-leader, the 3rd-year QB Joe Namath, a western Pennsylvania native and former Alabama Crimson Tide star. The next season, 1968, five seasons into the grandfatherly Weeb Ewbank’s tenure as GM and Head coach, the Jets finally broke through – big time.

In 1968 Weeb Ewbank and quarterback Joe Namath led the Jets to prominence when the AFL’s New York Jets defeated the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts of the NFL in Super Bowl III (in January, 1969 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida) and solidified the AFL’s position in the world of professional football. It also made the NFL wake up and realize that not only was the AFL no joke league, but that the AFL was a serious rival whose best team just beat the NFL’s best team. Burn.

In the illustration below, you can see, at the upper-left, Namath and his offensive line in a Jets’ pass play during Super Bowl III; and at lower-right you can see one of Namath’s legendary pool-side press conferences there in Miami in the days leading up to the game; and at the bottom of the illustration is an image of the cover of the official game program for Super Bowl III. [Note: some of the images below were found at the incredible photo-and-fact-filled website called Remembering The AFL.com (remembertheafl.com), which is highly recommended.].

    Super Bowl III, Orange Bowl, Miami FL, January 12, 1969.
    New York Jets (AFL) 16, Baltimore Colts (NFL) 7.

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Photo credits above – nydailynews.com/sports/football/super-bowl-game-by-game [Gallery]. Namath pool-side & Super Bowl III game program from remembertheafl.com/SuperJets.htm [1968 Jets' season Gallery].

The End.

Just kidding, but actually, in terms of the good news, that’s pretty much where the story of the New York Jets ends, because ever since January 1969 when Broadway Joe Namath very publicly guaranteed victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III, then delivered that shock upset victory which turned the pro football world upside-down, it’s all been busted opportunities for the Jets, with paltry success (no more Super Bowl appearances) and a fan-base filled with seething resentment over being forced to exist right under the shadow of the New York Giants. But let’s get back to 1963, and discuss the Jets’ stadium history.

In 1963, Harry Wismer’s debt-laden New York Titans were purchased by the Sonny Werblin group. The year after the ownership change, the team finally moved into the new Shea Stadium out in Queens, NY, where the NY Jets played for 20 seasons (1964 to 1983). Shea Stadium came to be after a 5-and-a-half-year period which saw the city of New York try numerous means to find a Major League Baseball team to replace the devastating loss in 1958 of two MLB teams – the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Baseball Giants, both of whom moved to California. Here is Ballparks.com’s summary of the events leading to Shea Stadium construction, via 2 excerpts from their page on ‘(Shea Stadium‘ (ballparks.com}…

{excerpt}…” Shea Stadium is named after William Alfred Shea, an attorney who was instrumental in acquiring a new team for New York following the city’s abandonment by the Giants and the Dodgers in the 1950s. Appointed chairman of the Baseball Commission by then New York mayor Robert Wagner, Shea first tried to get the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or the Philadelphia Phillies to move to New York, but had no luck. He then tried to organize a third major league, the Continental League, in 1958, with a franchise for New York, but the league died before a single game was played. In 1960, National League owners decided to expand to 10 teams and awarded franchises to Houston and New York. There were rumors that New York would be rejected unless it guaranteed construction of a new stadium. At Shea’s suggestion, Wagner sent telegrams to each owner with such an assurance, and the Mets started play in 1962. “…

{excerpt}…” Shea Stadium is the noisiest outdoor ballpark in the majors because it is in the flight path of La Guardia Airport. The story goes that when the city scouted out stadium sites in 1962, they went during the winter, when flight paths into La Guardia are different, so they never anticipated the aircraft noise. ”
…{end of excerpts}

Shea Stadium (capacity 60,000 for football) was a stadium that ticked off all the boxes for a poor fan experience, starting with the fact that it was built within a web of highways literally miles away from an actual restaurant or tavern or even a convenience store and had zero ambiance or charm. But the worst thing about Shea Stadium (I know, I saw 7 Mets games there in the early 1990s) was the fact that you needed ear-plugs there because it sat on the heavily-used flight paths of jet planes taking off from and landing at nearby La Guardia airport. Every couple of minutes – over 100 decibels roaring above you.


Jets’ nickname
There are conflicting explanations for why the New York Jets are called the Jets. Here is one explanation {see this, specifically the side-bar at the left, at ‘New York Jets‘ (sportsecyclopedia.com), which says “Named in 1963 after the Jets that flew overhead at Shea Stadium, their home starting in 1964 from nearby La Guardia Airport. It also gave them a name that rhymed with Mets, who they shared Shea Stadium with at the time.”} Then there is what the Pro Football Hall of Fame site says in the chart which I have already linked to in this post, ‘Nicknames‘ (profootballhof.com), which says, “New York’s original AFL team was called the Titans. When Sonny Werblin took over the franchise in 1963, he changed the team name to Jets to reflect the modern approach of his team and the star-studded performances he hoped his team would produce.”. That second explanation sounds like total BS public-relations-double-talk. How could it be such a coincidence that the New York Mets were formed in 1962, then one year later, a pro football team in New York City changes its name to the Jets, which just happens to rhyme with Mets, both of whom just happen to be moving to a new stadium the following year, which just happens to be next to an airport, where actual jets can be found? That “coincidence” is frankly impossible. The Jets were named to rhyme with the Mets and to signify that they played in a stadium next to an airport. End of. So, why does it say otherwise in the Pro Football Hall of Fame site? Because the folks there at the official Pro Football Hall Of Fame website are lying. I have a theory…the Jets finally moved out of Shea Stadium after the 1983 season mainly because of all the onerous scheduling restrictions that the city of New York (the stadium’s owner) put on the Jets. The Mets were primary tenant and got first dibs on any given scheduling date – in fact, each season, the Jets couldn’t play there until the Mets finished their last home-stand of the season in late September. …Here is an excerpt from the ‘Shea Stadium‘ page at en.wikipedia.org,

{excerpt} …” For most of the Jets’ tenure at Shea, they were burdened by onerous lease terms imposed at the insistence of the Mets. Until 1978, the Jets could not play their first home game until the Mets’ season was finished. Even after that year, the Mets’ status as Shea’s primary tenants would require the Jets to go on long road trips (switching Shea from baseball to football configuration was a rather complex process, involving electrical, plumbing, field and other similar work). The stadium was also not well maintained in the 1970s. The Jets moved to Giants Stadium for the 1984 season, enticed by the additional 15,000+ seats offered there “.
…{end of excerpt}.

So my theory is that there was so much resentment within the New York Jets’ organization towards the New York Mets’ organization, and to the stadium authority, over the problems that the Jets had with their tenancy at Shea Stadium, that the Jets’ organization stopped saying their nickname ever had anything to do with the Mets, or with Shea Stadium’s location next to an airport, and they came up with that BS about the “fact” that Sonny Werblin “changed the team name to Jets to reflect the modern approach of his team and the star-studded performances he hoped his team would produce”.

I’ll leave the final word on the subject to someone who contributed an answer to the question of “Why did the Jets change their name from the Titans?” at Jetsinsider.com/ forum from Aug. 2006…
Why did the Jets change their name from the Titans? …’The New York Titans changed their name with new ownership and a team that was going to play their games in Shea right next to Laguardia Airport. A Jet which is fast and sleek only made sense. It also had the “ets” as did the Mets”…
- ganooch at Jetsinsider.com, here jetsinsider.com/forums (commenter #9, ganooch). Thanks, ganooch, you said it the best.

So like the Giants had done in 1976, the Jets moved to New Jersey as well. The Buffalo Bills are and have been the only NFL team since 1984 that plays its home games in the State of New York.

Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ was opened in 1976, and had a capacity of 80,000. The Jets’ move in 1984 to their local rival’s stadium was a bit humiliating, to say the least, for the Jets’ organization and especially for its fans, and goes a long way to explaining the massive chip-on-the-shoulder that the average Jets fan has. In 2001, the Jets came up with a solution to the embarrassing situation that they played in another NFL team’s stadium. No, they didn’t get their own stadium – an attempt at a getting a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan proved to be impossible. So starting in 2002, they spent millions per year on something else. They spent $750,000 per game covering over every blue wall and every Giants’ logo on the stadium’s surface in Giants Stadium with huge green vinyl coverings and banners that had Jets logos and Jets’ signage. Covering the entire blue Giants’ signage and wall surfaces with Jets’-green vinyl banners was pretty desperate, and didn’t hide the fact to any NFL fans watching on television that the New York Jets were the only NFL team that played in another NFL team’s stadium (see the article at the following link, ‘Home Is Wherever the Jets Hang Their Banners‘ (nytimes.com [article by Richard Lezin Jones, from October 17, 2004]).

I don’t know where all those big green vinyl Jets banners are today, but since 2010, the Jets haven’t had to use them. Since 2010, the Jets have played, still along with the New York Giants, in MetLife Stadium, capacity 80,566, a stadium built adjacent to the former site of Giants Stadium. Both teams contributed funds to build the stadium, and it was built by and is owned and operated by the MetLife Stadium Company, LLC, a joint venture between the New York Giants and New York Jets. And crucially, for the sake of Jets fans everywhere, the stadium is distinguished by an interior lighting system, first employed in Allianz Arena in Munich, Germay, that switches colors on all walls and surfaces within and without the stadium depending on which team is playing at home.

The New York Jets won 1 AFL Championship Game (1968).
New York Jets: 1 Super Bowl title (1968).
The Jets are 1-0 in Super Bowl appearances.
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Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page, for many of the old logos and for dates of logos, http://www.sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Logo Shak, for some old logos, http://www.logoshak.com.
Thanks to The Helmet Project, for dates of helmets and info, http://www.nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project/.
Thanks to Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site, for helmets on the map page, and for dates of helmets, http://www.misterhabs.com/helmets.
Thanks to JohnnySeoul at each NFL team’s page at en.wikipedia.org, for 2012 NFL uniforms, such as ‘AFCE-Uniform-BUF.PNG‘.

Thanks to the Coffin Corner Newsletter for AAFC and AFL attendance figures, pdf – ‘AFL Attendance 1960-69‘.

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

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