Alternate History Sports

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4/02/2022 1:45 pm  #1

The American Football League


Long time no see! I'm finally back to posting a series again, but unfortunately it's not for the EFL. Truth be told, I was never really satisfied with it, so I unfortunately had to pull the plug and start from scratch. This time, I've spent the last couple of months brewing up something that both I (and hopefully you all) will like a lot more. With the sentimental stuff out of the way, I present you: the American Football League.


Introduction to the American Football League:

From the first game between the University of New Jersey and Hamilton College in 1869, football has remained a very popular sport in the U.S. However, that nationwide popularity in recent years has waned. Football started out strong, as the first attempt at a national football league, the American Association of Professional Football Clubs (commonly known as the American Association or AA), was founded in 1919 with 11 teams. It was decently successful to start off, reaching a total of 23 teams by its 3rd year, spanning from Boston to St. Louis, and was relatively popular in its prime. However, its prime was short lived, as the league went bankrupt and most of the teams couldn’t pay their players. Its nationwide appeal was limited too, as many teams were only exposed to other teams within a similar region due to mounting travel costs. Thus, after only 3 years of play, football shattered and broke into regional leagues. 3 leagues sprouted out from the turmoil, the first of which was the New England Football League in 1923, with 10 teams reaching from Maine to Connecticut. The New York Professional League was founded later that year, renaming itself the New York-Pennsylvania League (NYPL) in 1929 with the addition of Pittsburgh and 2 Philadelphia teams into the league, and expanded into Baltimore in 1939. The most prominent league, however, was founded last. The Midwestern Football Championship (MWFC, or just known as the Championship), formed in 1926, housed most of the teams left over from the AA, reaching its peak with 16 teams in 1935. With its size and caliber of teams, most would agree it was the premier professional football league in the nation. The three leagues would coexist with each other for the next 15 years, with the leagues seeing teams enter and leave, and experiencing success in their own regions. However, there was still the lingering question if football would ever reunite into a national league again. Baseball had already done so shortly after the AA was formed, and was becoming the nation’s most popular sport, with soldiers coming home from World War II only confirming their love for the sport. Football wasn’t so lucky. During and after the war, the three leagues started to slowly drift apart, with each of them developing different rules so that moving from one league to the next required a thorough reading of the league’s rulebook to understand the changes. The idea of a national football league was a fringe idea held only by a few people, and most would agree that football was better off as a regional sport.

However, there was one person who thought that fringe idea could become a possibility: Chicago Hogs owner Donovan Hasenkamp. He held fond memories of his playing days in the AA, and wanted to return football to the albeit brief national glory he had while playing. That belief has been with him since he bought the struggling Rockford Athletics in the MWFC in 1929 and moved them to Chicago for a better chance at the spotlight. His ambition to widen the game saw new ways to play the game, with his team moving past the “3-yards-and-a-pile-of-dust” that football was known for, and towards a more exciting playstyle that is more entertaining to fans. This playstyle spread on to other, younger owners in the MWFC, and is what made the MWFC into the pseudo-national league it is known for. However, this displeased the so-called “old guard” of the Championship, especially league president (and cross-town rival) Virgil Bradshaw. The two owners were constantly at odds with each other, ever since Hasenkamp “encroached” onto Bradshaw’s territory of Chicago, and turned the Stars into the second team of the second city towards the end of the 1930’s. Hasenkamp was also not very liked by most of the other owners, who viewed him as someone who was a bit petty at times, whose ideas were a bit too radical, and when his ideas failed, they failed miserably. The idea that got him the most hate was giving financial compensation to teams that could not participate effectively with the advent of WWII, leading to the folding of 3 teams and causing the league to nearly empty out its coffers entirely. As a result of the other owner’s hatred of him, most of his proposals to expand the league outside of the midwest and to evolve the game failed before they even got off the ground. Nearing defeat, Hasenkamp had another crazy idea. But it wasn’t so outrageous that it wouldn’t work. He secretly contacted 5 other owners who either supported him or at least tolerated him. In the middle of the night in Hasenkamp’s hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, he pitched his idea: if he couldn’t make the Championship better, then he would create a new league where it could expand the game, both across the country and evolve the game itself. It was a bold idea, and the other five hesitated to sign on at first. However, they trusted Hasenkamp enough to know that when he got an idea like this, it was bound to eventually work. And so, on September 7, 1949, the Chicago Hogs, Cincinnati Rivermen, Cleveland Crows, Columbus Buckeyes, Detroit Knights, and Tri-Cities Hawks announced that they would be leaving the Championship at the conclusion of the 1949 season, and after Bradshaw’s Chicago Stars beat the Hawks in the Championship Game, the 6 teams announced the creation of the American Football League that would begin in 1950, with Donovan Hasenkamp as the league’s first commissioner. With half of his league leaving, Bradshaw was furious, but was willing to play the long game, declaring that the breakaway owners “will come crawling back to us by Thanksgiving, begging for forgiveness.” Since Hasenkamp liked petty revenge, he moved the championship game for the fledgling league to Thanksgiving, just to stick it to his biggest rival that his big idea would be a success. 

The AFL’s first season will consist of 10 games played over 11 weeks between the day before Labor Day and the week before Thanksgiving, with each team playing a home and an away series against everyone else in the league, with 1 week as a bye. The top 2 teams in the league standings will face each other in the first AFL Championship Game, with the team with the best record hosting the game. 

C&C Appreciated! The first team will be up sometime tonight!

Last edited by DireBear (1/26/2024 10:09 pm)

Founder of the EFL and the AFL

4/02/2022 3:13 pm  #2

Re: The American Football League

New DireBear football league? Yes please! I like the league logo, feels very 50s and it's got the luv ya blue that I do, in fact, love. I also love pettiness so Hasenkamp is a winner in my book. Looking forward to seeing the identities to see who I should support at first. Until, of course, Charlotte gets a team.


4/02/2022 3:42 pm  #3

Re: The American Football League

Looking good! Can’t wait to see what everyone looks like, probably root for Cleveland unless I like someone else or until AZ gets a team.


4/02/2022 10:35 pm  #4

Re: The American Football League

Thanks for the feedback so far! As I promised, here's the first team of the AFL:

Chicago Hogs

The Hogs are one of the oldest teams in the nation, first coming together in 1919 as the Rockford Athletic Club during the AA. After it fell apart, the Athletics limped along for almost 10 years, with the Depression almost forcing the team to fold. They were saved at the 11th hour by former AA star Donovan Hasenkamp in 1929, who moved them to the south side of Chicago to play in a better and more comfortable market. Unfortunately for Hasenkamp, Chicago was already occupied by MWFC commissioner Virgil Bradshaw and his Chicago Stars, and a deep hatred developed between the two. Two years later, the Stars and Athletics played a particularly brutal game in muddy conditions, with Bradshaw proclaiming that Hasenkamp coached his players to “behave like feral hogs in a bloody pigpen.” Hasenkamp was already considering changing the team’s brand at this point, and loved his rival’s insult so much he changed the team’s name to the Hogs. After the rebrand, the Hogs’ play began to improve, winning their first title in 1935 and snagging another in 1940. The 1940 championship brought them enough attention to outclass the Stars in their own city, acquiring enough talent to go on a tear between 1943 and 1947, winning 3 more Bradshaw Cups, including one against the Stars. They currently play in Union Stadium, named after the nearby Union Stock Yards, seating 47,400 fans.

The Hogs are the favorites to win it all when the first championship comes on Thanksgiving, and it’s not hard to see why. Although reaching his 30’s, QB Alfred Walton is still right in the prime of his career and not ready to hang up his cleats just yet. RB Johnnie Hendrix is also reaching his 30’s, but is in a bit worse of shape than Walton, but should still see a fair amount of action on the field. Walton’s main options are veteran WR Nicholas Kramer, who is still one of the best receivers still in his prime, younger WR’s Donnie Stout and Bobby McClure, who are not as great as Kramer but should provide good options if Kramer is not open. The other, and Walton’s favorite endzone target, is TE Glenn Chambers, who nearly won MVP last year in the Championship, a rare feat for an award usually awarded to the more “popular” positions on offense and defense. On the defensive side of the ball, they have an especially scary front 7. DL’s Leslie Black and Joel Valentine lead the charge up the middle, and backing them up are LB’s Douglas Marks, George Post, and Joel Shepherd, who are usually enough to stop most plays. Rounding out the other front 7 are DL’s Kenneth Emery and Warren Pierson, who are approaching their 30’s and are being overshadowed by the other 5. Their backfield is led by veteran DB Tommy Lane, who is searching for one last title before he calls it quits. The secondary is a bit weaker than the front 7, with DB’s Clarence Newman and Vincent Kelly being fairly average, and S Stanley Daly all being fairly average for their position. Donovan Hasenkamp is very hands-on when it comes to his team, which sometimes does not go well for players who disagree with him. Most of his players do support and love him through the hardships he puts them through, though his age is slowly catching up with him, and he has to juggle how to both run a successful football team and how to prevent his fledgling league from folding in on itself. After all, his players would love to bring the title back to Chicago and win one more for “Old Hoss.”

The Hogs are very traditional for their design. They've sported the Hogs script ever since their rebrand, drawn by Hasenkamp's wife Gloria. Their uniforms are also pretty traditional, with their only extra detail is the extra brown stripe on their away uniform. 

(Players shown: TE Glenn Chambers (48) and LB Douglas Marks (51))

Last edited by DireBear (4/02/2022 10:41 pm)

Founder of the EFL and the AFL
     Thread Starter

4/02/2022 10:36 pm  #5

Re: The American Football League

I don't like the black belt.

2x Alt Champion :: AltLB Champion Oklahoma City Bison - 2022 :: AltFL Champion New York Emperors - 2022


4/02/2022 10:37 pm  #6

Re: The American Football League

That's a Chicagood looking team you have there, Dire.


4/02/2022 10:40 pm  #7

Re: The American Football League

big fan of the hogs name (big surprise I know), big fan of brown and red, and I think gloria did a bang-up job on that script *wonk*. good stuff!


4/02/2022 11:01 pm  #8

Re: The American Football League

I'm liking what you've got here, there's a great foundation for the brand.


4/03/2022 12:53 am  #9

Re: The American Football League

Off to a great start, can't wait to see where this goes!


4/03/2022 6:32 am  #10

Re: The American Football League

Good start, very baseball-y look for the Hogs and I like it.


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