Gridiron Replay (Bygone Teams): New York (nee Boston) Yanks (aka Bulldogs)

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Team Colors

Note: Names Not Official
Royal Blue
White

Team Existence: 
Boston Yanks (1944–1948)
New York Bulldogs (1949–1950)
New York Yanks (1950–1951)
Dallas Texans (1952)

League:
National Football League

Welcome to Gridiron Replay, where ESF will make eye shadow plays for long gone teams found in the annals of American football.  I will do my best to have correct colors and uniform designs.  However this is not guaranteed because some of these teams played before color photography was readily available.  I recommend the book Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football if you want to read more about American professional football history, especially before the modern NFL.

There are multiple incarnations of the New York football Yankees/Yanks. This particular team came about because the original New York football Yankees folded in the 1920s, and Boston (football) Yanks owner Ted Collins made his wishes clear he wanted a New York team. His wish was granted but the Yanks were awful. Someone bought the Yanks franchise from Collins and moved the team to Dallas. Strangely enough they were named the Dallas Texans. This incarnation of the Texans did not last long. The Texans went under after one season. Baltimore businessmen took what they could of the old Texans team and created the Baltimore Colts in 1953. For some reason the NFL does not acknowledge the link between the Yanks and the Colts. I suspect it’s because of the naming rights to a certain MLB team that’s also in New York.
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Throwback – Houston Texans


throwback-hote2Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Dark blue
Red
White

Throughout the history of professional football, I’m glad that in every major association or league there was a team based somewhere in Texas called the Texans.  Your other name choices when this team was formed (roughly in 2000)  included: the Bobcats, Stallions, Toros, and Apollo.  Maybe in another state those other names are fine but this is Texas, damn it.  Good thing current Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt gave the blessing to have the Texans come back to life.  Remember, the Kansas City Chiefs were the original Houston Texans before their move.
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Throwback – Indianapolis (né Baltimore) Colts

throwback-baco2 Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Blue
Grey
White

No courtesy notifications were sent to Baltimore that a popular source of revenue/city morale is going away.  Robert Irsay just loaded a fleet of moving trucks and hauled ass to Indianapolis as soon as Indianapolis sweetened their loan deal.  So by midday of March 29, 1984 the Baltimore Colts were no more.  Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride also took with him the Colts history he shaped in Baltimore (including Superbowl wins, historical rosters, records, and team colors). For all parties involved this situation sucked.  Baltimore Colts fans witnessed their team slide from playoff perennials to mediocrity.  They wanted their team to be relevant again yet all they witnessed were politicians and Bob Irsay playing chicken.  Baltimore legislature liked the goodwill the Colts gave them but had no money to foot the bill for stadium repairs.  Their city coffers did not have that kind of funding to support the Colts*.  Robert Irsay rightly believed that retrofitting and upgrading Memorial Stadium could help bring the Colts back to playoff contention.  Irsay also did not have that kind of funding.  Irsay also knew a good deal when he saw one.  He left for new opportunities and left Baltimore to spiral into a violent crack town in the 1980s and 1990s.  He should have left a press statement or give a press conference to explain the move to long time Baltimore Colts fans. The Baltimore Ravens with their Superbowl victories have helped ease the hurt.  There is a generation of children that only know the Ravens as their team in the Baltimore area.  Their parents and older relatives would have to retell the glory of the true team that came before, the Baltimore Colts, and the scary story of Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride.

*  I am assuming local politicians had good intentions.  Like many local political stories I’m sure there was corruption and dick waving that played a factor into Robert Irsay’s Midnight Ride. Continue reading

Throwback – Tennessee Titans (né Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers)

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Columbia Blue
Red
White

Texas football is ingrained since birth and you root for your local team only.  Normally Houston teams looked down on Dallas teams and vice versa.  This didn’t happen to the Houston Oilers.  Poor attendance, average records, no press support, and the popular Dallas Cowboys stealing the potential fan base forced owner Bud Adams to move the team east.  The new location didn’t do much for the Oilers.  Both seasons were they were the Tennessee Oilers they were 8-8.  The other new NFL expansion teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Caroline Panthers) could boast better records or more exciting football to watch.  The Oilers changed their name to the Titans.  The Titans found early success in a Superbowl bid in their inaugural season (1999).  Ever since that Superbowl loss the Titans are back to where they started with a mediocre record, a team with few standouts, and getting little media attention.
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Throwback – Buffalo Bills

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Red
White
Blue

Athletic abilities does not equate to a decent human being.  Take O.J. Simpson.  He was a lightning quick as a Buffalo Bills running back in the 1970s.  His record for fewest games to 1000 yards and 2000 in a single season still hold up.  He made Hall of Fame defenses look like high school JV linemen, especially the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I’m sure O.J. Simpson would regularly be in the list of greatest rushers of all time if it weren’t for his life outside of football.  Where to begin?  The murder trial circus, bankruptcy, jail time, drug addiction, and a tell all “confession” book that made more headlines from the circumstances of the publication rather than the contents of the actual publication.  Well, his acting career wasn’t that bad.

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Throwback – Miami Dolphins

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Turquoise
Orange
White

There is a reason why the 1972 Dolphins Perfect Season and Superbowl victory is heralded:  No other team has yet to repeat it.  The Patriots came very close in Superbowl XLII (42) but the New York Giants stomped those hopes.  The number of things that have to go right for your team and wrong for your opponents to get to perfect season and Superbowl victory is mind boggling.  Here is one possible way to simulate the dominance of the 1972 Dolphins:  Completely load up your fantasy Madden team and max out stats for all of your players.  Make sure that you are ranked #1 in offense and defense every week for the entire season.  Your rushers and pass catchers have Hall of Fame numbers.  Finally, you must be a tactical genius on the offensive side of the ball.  We have to use a video game to fathom what actually happened to the 1972 Dolphins.

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Throwback – New England Patriots

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Team Colors 

Note: Names not official
Red
White
Blue

I have put the following entry on my bucket list:

Go to the Patriots Hall of Fame in Gillette Stadium to see the snow plow involved in the Snowplow Game.

The Snowplow Game is schadenfreude when reading Miami Dolphins’ history, but an amusing boon in New England Patriots’ history.  December 12, 1982 is when Miami faced New England.  There is 4:45 left in the 4th quarter and the score is 0-0.  Bad weather the previous day made the field icy and weather during game day was snow.  Patriots coach Ron Meyer requested for part of the field to be plowed before Patriots kicker John Smith attempts to score a field goal.  The snow plow went across the field, then made a little curve right at the area where John Smith would kick, then continued plowing to the other side.  The curve made the perfect kicking area and the Patriots won the game.  Miami coach Don Shula was understandably upset but the final score stood.  0-3 New England was the final score.

Yes folks, that snowplow can be seen in Gillette Stadium.  I’m sure we’ll both be chuckling when we gaze upon this relic and its moment in football lore.

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Throwback – Denver Broncos

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Blue
Orange
White

It is not a secret that former Broncos quarterback John Elway is a douche bag.  But this path to being a bitter, legendary Broncos figurehead really reminds me of Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader in Star Wars.  John was a bright eyed, extremely talented kid hailing from California when he started. Anakin was a bright eyed, extremely talented kid hailing from Tatooine when he started.  As time marched on John was repeatedly given a chance to play in the Superbowl.  Repeatedly he saw the Broncos fall apart.  As time marched on Anakin was repeatedly given a chance to secure victory against the rebellious Sith lords.  Repeatedly he saw these battles end in failure.  John hardened his heart and lost his humanity in order to obtain his coveted Superbowl ring (his fast approaching retirement age may also be a factor).  Anakin hardened his heart and lost his humanity in order to bring balance to the Force (the death of his wife during this period may also be a factor).
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Throwback – San Diego Chargers

throwback-sdcha2Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Powder Blue
Yellow
White

The title Fearsome Foursome is handed down to only good defenses.  Many associate the title with the Los Angeles Rams, but in the early 1960s that title belonged to the AFL San Diego Chargers.  Earl Faison, Ernie Ladd, Bill Hudson and Ron Nery were its members. Earl was rookie of the year as a lineman.  Ernie Ladd was literally the biggest, strongest guy in the AFL, and would later become a legendary heel in the WWWF (now WWE). Bill Hudson only played 3 years in the AFL, but he was traded to the Boston Patriots before the Chargers could make the AFL championship in 1963.  The same goes for Ron Nery, who was traded to the Denver Broncos.

Speaking of championships, the Chargers have  not made it to won the Superbowl ever.  Yes, since the introduction of the Superbowl.  Sticklers will tell me they won an AFL championship, but that’s not the same as the post merger, modern Superbowl.

Correction:  The Chargers did make it to Super XXIX (29) in 1994.  They lost to the San Francisco 49ers.

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Throwback – Chicago Bears (né Staleys)

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Navy
Orange

George Halas, Papa Bear himself, was involved with the Bears (née Staleys) since the team as created in 1919.  Like many founders at the time George did everything.  Coach, president, offensive player (wide receiver) and defensive player (end).  He played football at a time when it was really just a derivative of rugby and brawling.  He literally witnessed the NFL rise from a bunch of corporate sponsored semi-professional clubs to the huge sports league it became.  Even before he did in 1983 (at 88) he made one last significant impact on his beloved Chicago team: He hired Mike Ditka as head coach.

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