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3/29/2024 6:26 pm  #181

Re: The American Football League

YES! My Rivermen haven't broken my heart for once and actually won the championship! Looking forward to the offseason (Especially as to learn of the fate of the Detroit Knights and the identities for the expansion teams in Philly and St. Louis)!


3/29/2024 6:27 pm  #182

Re: The American Football League


Congrats Rivermen. (Darn refs)


4/02/2024 8:50 am  #183

Re: The American Football League

Great to see the Rivermen and Edgar Abney win a title.


4/12/2024 7:17 pm  #184

Re: The American Football League

The Wide World of American Football: 1955-56 Edition

The PAFC endured one of its most chaotic seasons and offseasons since the split with the AFL in 1950. Several teams facing financial issues had the looming threat of either folding or relocating to a different city if they could not improve their attendance. The Louisville Colts and Columbus Aviators were the two teams that were affected the most, each not having a single successful season in their short time in the league. Louisville did not have a single winning season since their introduction to the league in 1952 as a hasty replacement for the departing AFL teams, and Columbus was entered in due to the AFL abandoning the city due to attendance but only had 1 “good” season in their 3 short years. With both teams faltering for another year, it was only a matter of time after the PAFC season concluded for both teams to announce that they would be seeking new ownership. The Boston Rebels had been the worst team in the Championship the past two years, placing second-to-last and last, not including their time near the basement in the NEFL. With their attendance and play already suffering, their finances were going down into the gutter. Left with no other option, the Rebels sold Commonwealth Field to the city of Boston at the beginning of the 1955 season in an attempt to remain in the city for the immediate future. Boston Christian College would end up buying the decrepit field in December, announcing plans to completely renovate the stadium beginning the next year. Those plans also included expelling the Rebels from playing at the stadium effective immediately, citing their horrendous play and the awful conditions at the field. The Rebels now have to quickly negotiate a new place to play, as the only other major stadium in Boston is where the Dragons and the NBL’s Boston Whales play in: Lansdowne Field. With the lack of available playing fields and not wanting to play second fiddle to the new team in town, owner Frank Goldstein reluctantly began looking for a new home outside of Boston. The announcement of a potential relocation was met with almost no reaction, with Bostonians shifting their fanfare to the Dragons. The most tragic event happened early in the year, and it was regarding the perennial power Fort Wayne Generals. Owner W. Lloyd Scott was returning from Kansas City to talk about stabilizing the Cowboys with owner Harold Burns. Scott then boarded a return flight to Chicago to head back to his hometown of Fort Wayne, but tragedy struck when the plane collided with a sign on the landing and crashed, killing Scott. Scott never had any children, and the few minority owners still left had trouble running the team they never thought they would lead, resulting in the Generals’ first below .500 season in over a decade. Scott’s death was revered across the football world, with the AFL extending a rare olive branch in the aftermath. He had built up his hometown team to a perennial contender while also being a prominent donor to the University of Indiana, also located in Fort Wayne. And with no suitor willing to step up and take control of the team and keep them in Fort Wayne, the Generals were all but done in Indiana.

With so many teams in flux, it was only a matter of time before the dominos would fall for the rearrangement of teams to begin. When no owner made themselves known in Fort Wayne, Bradshaw immediately allowed one of his old business partners Gerald Carlisle, the owner of multiple steel mills, to buy the Generals and move them to his hometown of Birmingham. The new team would lose its Generals name and rechristen themselves as the Birmingham Steelers, named after the industry that brought the Magic City to where it is now. Bradshaw wanted to continue his “Southern Expansion” plan, and saw the rapidly growing city and rapidly growing city as a valuable asset to keep the PAFC alive. Bradshaw also encouraged any remaining owners that were struggling to look south for a fresh start. The Louisville Colts also found new ownership, with Grand Ole Opry benefactor Buck Hopkins buying the team and moving them south a couple of hours to Nashville to become the Nashville Volunteers. Columbus Aviators owner Peter Isaacs could not find anyone willing to buy the team, and thus folded the team after only 3 seasons of play. Boston Rebels owner Frank Goldstein was somehow even less successful than Columbus, not even getting a single offer to buy the Rebels or move them. All proposals he sent to the PAFC were swiftly ignored, as he had ruffled the wrong feathers and all signs were pointing him to leave. He attempted sending one last attempt to keep the Rebels alive, asking for reapplication to the now-ASPFL. He went to the league headquarters in Boston, but was met by commissioner Robert McNamara, who said “We advise that you look for another league, though we would not wish that fate on their commissioner.” With their owner completely humiliated, the Boston Rebels folded after 32 seasons, leaving with nothing more than a whimper. In a hasty attempt to keep the league at an even 10 teams, Bradshaw quickly looked for somewhere to put a 10th team, even just for the time being while the Championship looked for prospective owners in the south. The only city that wasn’t already occupied by a professional football team and wanted to join the PAFC was Omaha. A small ownership group of meatpacking owners was granted an expansion team that was to be named the Omaha Packers. However, they did not have enough time to get permission to use the Packers name, as the baseball Packers were just coming off a World Series title in 1953 and weren’t so willing to allow some random group of people not associated with the club to use the name. The new football team was instead named the Bulls, though kept the same maroon and white color scheme the baseball team had.

Even through all of this, President Bradshaw was as adamant as ever that the PAFC was still the top football league in the nation. “The Championship is above and beyond where the AFL is, where it has been, or where it will be,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “We have the finest players and none of the lousy rules that make that lousy league the way it is.” The “World Series of Football” ended with a whimper, with the supposed “team of America” Chicago Stars demolishing the Indianapolis Flames 45-7 to win their 5th title in 8 years, adding to the doubt that the PAFC is the better league. Even with proclaiming that his league is better, Bradshaw still felt a need to expand to stay on par with the AFL. He announced his intent to get to 16 teams within the next decade, shocking many who believed that the Championship is in an inescapable death spiral. Team owners were in contentious debate over how fast the Championship should expand and where to, with Virgil Bradshaw and the “old guard” wanting to expand rapidly and continue into the south, while his son Julian and some of the younger owners preferring to beat the AFL out west to have any chance of surviving. Bradshaw had already succeeded in moving a team to a “southern stronghold”, and wants to continue expanding to places like Houston and New Orleans. The younger group, on the other hand, sees potential in the growing markets out west in California, and believe landing a team out there is almost guaranteed to succeed. There was no consensus gained from this year, so it may take a couple of years before any new teams can be awarded. 16 may be a lofty number if no one can seem to agree on which direction the PAFC must take, and if the league takes too long then it may truly be the end of what was once the nation’s best football league.

Louisville Colts move to Nashville, TN to become the Nashville Volunteers
Columbus Aviators fold after 3 seasons
Boston Rebels sell their stadium to pay off debts, their stadium gets bought out by Boston Christian, who then kicks them out due to bad performance. Rebels attempt a last-ditch effort to join the ASPFL but are rejected and humiliated. Boston Rebels fold after 2 seasons in the PAFC and 32 years of play
Fort Wayne owner dies in a plane crash. No one buys the Generals, and Virgil Bradshaw sells the team to a Birmingham, AL-based owner, who relocates them and become the Birmingham Steelers
PAFC quickly adds a team in Omaha, NE (Bulls) to keep the league at an even 10 teams
President Bradshaw plans to expand to 16 teams within next decade despite decline in league quality
Owners are split where to expand, either continuing south or going west. Expansion talks have stalled as a result


1955 ASPFL Standings
Providence (TRI) - 8-3-0
Long Island (BOS) - 8-3-0
Portland (WAS) - 6-4-1
Albany (N/A) - 6-4-1
Rochester (BUF) - 6-5-0
Newark (NY) - 5-6-0
Hartford (CIN) - 5-6-0
New Haven (PHI) - 5-6-0
Concord (CLE) - 4-6-1
Worcester (CHI) 4-7-0
Springfield (DET) - 4-7-0
Burlington (PIT) - 4-6-1

Before the 1955 AFL season began, the “inaugural” season of the Atlantic Semi-Professional Football League (ASPFL) kicked off in late July between the Newark Tigers and the Long Island Lancers, where the Lancers would take care of the Tigers for the first win of the year. The NEFL endured a multitude of changes of its own during its transition to a minor league, capped off by a fairly chaotic offseason attempting to reform. Boston and New London relocated to Long Island and Rochester respectively, Newark joined from the NYPL, and the Albany Titans were welcomed as an expansion franchise.  A lot of future AFL talent came down to the ASPFL as part of the developmental league, with many late round or undrafted players getting a chance to show off their talents to their parent club or any other team willing to give up capital for them. No player helped lead his team more so than Providence’s Sam Eagleburger, who tore up secondaries under center en route to the league’s most outstanding player award after getting drafted in the late 5th round by Tri-Cities. The defending champions in the Long Island Lancers (formerly the Boston Bards) were the other team to keep up with the Bears, with QB Salvatore Saab leading the team to a championship berth with an 8-3 record, the same as Providence. The title game was expected to be a close matchup between two up-and-coming QB’s, but the Bears blew the Lancers out of the water. Eagleburger torched the secondary for 4 touchdowns for Providence to cruise to a 30-10 victory and the title. The championship trophy was kept the same as the NEFL, so the Bears got to hoist their 8th Morgan Trophy.  While the NEFL had its troubles, the ASPFL under AFL assistance seems to be set up for success, allowing players to get a second chance at the game and to elevate players to potentially play in the AFL.

The world of professional sports has mostly been a regional one, with the major leagues effectively boxing themselves in with, usually going no further than Washington, D.C. southward and no further west than Kansas City.  Due to the sparse population west of the Mississippi, there has not been much of a demand for teams in the west. However, one major league has persisted out west and has come into competition with another major league: baseball’s Pacific Professional League. The National Baseball League had long been trying to expand its reach beyond the East and Midwest, and had been interested in cooperation with the PPL. The two leagues had some exhibition games between one another, including a postseason series that pitted the two league champions against one another. There were talks to merge the 8-team PPL with the 16-team NBL, but those discussions quickly died off after the NBL was only after the larger market teams in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Even with that setback, the partial merger was made complete when the NBL agreed to absorb the Los Angeles Reds, Los Angeles Olympians, Oakland Acorns, and San Francisco Zephyrs into its league, while scaling back the scale of the PPL to a AAA league. This move was slightly controversial, as the NBL took in teams in the better markets as opposed to taking the best teams, the most significant of which was the Portland Rosebuds. They had won the second-most titles since the league’s inception, and made the Pacific Series 5 out of the past 6 years, winning only a single title in the process while losing to the Acorns 4 times and the Reds a single time. The Rosebuds were not pleased getting left out of the now only professional baseball league due to their success in the other pro league, though the NBL cited travel costs to Portland the main reason why they were excluded. Even with the controversy, many saw the move out west as the first push out to the West for any major league. With some teams struggling in the top flight of baseball, moving westward might become viable to keep teams alive. How this movement will affect other professional sports leagues in the rest of the country is to be determined

C&C Appreciated!

Founder of the EFL and the AFL
     Thread Starter

4/12/2024 8:41 pm  #185

Re: The American Football League

providence won a football title? are you sure you didn't read something wrong?

[]National Dashball League[/url] || []US Quadball Redesign[/url]

4/13/2024 8:38 am  #186

Re: The American Football League

Great to see Saab have a breakout season. Hopefully he can eventually make the jump to the AFL.


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