Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

1983-1985 Oakland Invaders

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Oakland InvadersUnited States Football League (1983-1985)

Born: May 11, 1982 – USFL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1985 – The Invaders cease operations.

Stadium: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

 

 

==Oakland Invaders Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

1983

1983 4/3/1983 @ Los Angeles Express L 10-7 Program
1983 4/16/1983 vs. Philadelphia Stars L 17-7 Program
1983 6/13/1983 vs. Denver Gold W 16-10 Program Video
1983 7/10/1983 @ Michigan Panthers  L 37-21 Program

1984

1984 5/13/1984 vs. Arizona Wranglers W 14-3 Program
1984 6/15/1984 @ Los Angeles Express L 24-19 Program

1985

1985 2/24/1985 vs. Denver Gold W 31-10 Program Game Notes
1985 3/4/1985 vs. Baltimore Stars T 17-17 Game Notes
1985 3/10/1985 vs. Houston Gamblers L 42-7 Program Game Notes
1985 3/17/1985 vs. Jacksonville Bulls W 42-36 Program Game Notes
1985 3/31/1985 @ Los Angeles Express W 30-6 Program
1985 4/6/1985 @ Portland Breakers L 30-17 Program
1985 4/13/1985 @ Birmingham Stallions L 20-17 Program
1985 4/22/1985 vs. San Antonio Gunslingers W 27-20 Program
1985 4/27/1985 vs. Arizona Outlaws W 27-11 Program
1985 5/5/1985 @ Orlando Renegades W 21-7 Program
1985 5/11/1985 vs. Los Angeles Express W 27-6 Program Game Notes
1985 5/18/1985 @ San Antonio Gunslingers W 24-21 Program
1985 6/2/1985 vs. Portland Breakers W 38-20 Program
1985 6/30/1985 vs. Tampa Bay Bandits W 30-27 Program Video
1985 7/14/1985 Baltimore Stars L 28-24 Program Video

 

==Key Players==

  • Anthony Carter
  • Bobby Hebert

 

==YouTube==

The last USFL game.  Invaders vs. Baltimore Stars in the 1985 USFL Championship Game, July 14, 1985.

 

==In Memoriam==

Defensive end Larry Bethea, who played briefly for Oakland in 1985, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 24, 1987 at age 30.

Offensive lineman Chris Riehm (Invaders ’84) passed away in March 2012 at age 50.

Safety John Arnaud died of lung cancer at age 51 on November 10, 2012.

 

==Downloads==

1-4-1984 Oakland Invaders Territorial Draft Selections Press Release

April 1984 Oakland Invaders “Gold Helmet Club” Newsletter

 

==Links==

USFL Media Guides

USFL Game Programs

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2001-2002 New Jersey Gladiators

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Arena Football League (2001-2002)New Jersey Gladiators

Born: 2001 – The New Jersey Red Dogs are re-branded as the Gladiators.
Died: December 20, 2002 – The Gladiators relocate to Las Vegas, NV.

Arena: Continental Airlines Arena (19,040)

Team Colors: Black, Red & Gray

Owner: Jim Ferraro

 

A pretty much forgotten Arena Football League entry that briefly made its home at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford at the turn of the century.  The franchise was actually formed back in 1997 as the New Jersey Red Dogs, who took their name and logo from a title sponsorship with Miller Brewing’s briefly prominent Red Dog beer brand.

By the end of the 2000 season, the Red Dogs’ original ownership group (which included former Giants Carl Banks, Jim Burt, Harry Carson and Joe Morris) was ready to move on and the team passed into the hands of Miami attorney Jim Ferraro.  The beer sponsorship seemingly ended at this time as well, since Ferraro quickly re-branded the team as the “Gladiators” for the 2001 season.

The new-look Gladiators got off to a grim start when only 3,542 showed up for the first home game of the 2001 season, a listless 52-21 loss to the Carolina Cobras.  The team finished the 2001 season in last place with a 2-12 record and average attendance of 3,312, which was barely a third of the Arena Football League average of 9,188.

New head coach Frank Haege led a turn around on the carpet in 2002 (9-5 record and a playoff appearance). But the team’s improved play failed to translate at the box office and the Gladiators bolted town for Las Vegas in December 2002.

Ex-New York Jets quarterback Glenn Foley signed with the Gladiators in 2002 but failed to best journeyman minor leaguer Jay McDonagh for the starting job and spent the season on the bench.

 

==Links==

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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1983-1985 Los Angeles Express

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Steve Young Los Angeles ExpressUnited States Football League (1983-1985)

Born: May 11, 1982 – USFL founding franchise.
Died: 1985 – The Express cease operations.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

 

 

==Los Angeles Express Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

1983

1983 3/6/1983 vs. New Jersey Generals W 20-15 Program
1983 4/3/1983 vs. Oakland Invaders W 10-7 Program

1984

1984 4/1/1984 vs. New Jersey Generals L 26-10 Program
1984 5/13/1984 @ Philadelphia Stars  L 18-14 Program Video
1984 6/15/1984 vs. Oakland Invaders W 24-19 Program

1985

1985 3/10/1985 @ New Jersey Generals L 35-24 Program
1985 3/23/1985 @ Arizona Outlaws L 27-13 Program
1985 3/31/1985 vs. Oakland Invaders L 30-6 Program
1985 5/4/1985 vs. Tampa Bay Bandits L 24-14 Program Video
1985 5/11/1985 @ Oakland Invaders L 27-6 Program

 

==Key Players==

  • Steve Young
  • Gary Zimmerman

 

==YouTube==

Los Angeles Express debut game at the L.A. Coliseum. March 6, 1983.

==In Memoriam==

Defensive back David Croudip (Express ’83) died of a cocaine overdose on October 10, 1988 at age 30.  He was a member of the Atlanta Falcons at the time. (New York Times article)

Ex-USC and L.A. Express wide receiver Kevin Williams (’83) died in a freight train crash near Los Angeles while working as a brakeman on February 1, 1996.  Williams was 38.

Founding co- owner Bill Daniels died on March 7, 2000.  The cable TV pioneer was 79 years old.

Express General Manager Don Klosterman (’84-’85) died of a heart attack on June 7, 2000 at age 70.

Former USC and L.A. Express defensive lineman Rich Dimler passed away September 30, 2000 of pancreatitis at age 44.

Linebacker Carlton Rose (Express ’85) died of a stroke on March 26, 2006.  Rose was 44.

Linebacker Eric Scoggins (USC ’80, Express ’83) died of amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on January 10, 2009 at the age of 49.

 

==Links==

USFL Media Guides

USFL Game Programs

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November 25, 1967 – Alabama Hawks vs. Joliet Chargers

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Alabama Hawks ProgramAlabama Hawks vs. Joliet Chargers
Professional Football League of America Championship Game
November 25, 1967
Milton Frank Stadium
Attendance: ?

Professional Football League of America Programs
32 Pages

 

Cool minor league football program, purchased from an antique book dealer in Maryland this week.  This 1967 championship game was the final contest of a short-lived minor league circuit known as the Professional Football League of America (1965-1967).  This was back in the days when NFL and AFL teams had loosely organized minor league farm clubs around the country where late round picks and taxi squad players could go to earn game reps.  The host Alabama Hawks were affiliated with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.  The Joliet Chargers from Illinois had a relationship with the AFL’s San Diego Chargers.

The Huntsville-based Hawks played at Alabama A&M’s Milton Frank Stadium and carried seven former A&M players on the roster.  The team also boasted a handful of former SEC college stars.  Rookie defensive tackle George Patton was a two-time All-America at Georgia, and captain of the 1966 Bulldogs squad that finished #4 in the nation.   Linebacker Doc Griffith was All-SEC at Auburn, as was leading rusher Tom Bryan.  Center Gaylon McCullough was an Academic All-America at Alabama.

Collegiate honors and citations aside, one thing that caught my eye flipping through the pages of this program was the racial composition of the Hawks’ team.  Two months earlier, the Southeastern Conference finally integrated, with the elevation of Nat Northington and Greg Page to the varsity football squad at the University of Kentucky.  But Alabama, Auburn and the rest of the SEC remained whites-only programs that fall.  The minor league Alabama Hawks seemed somewhat more progressive, featuring 12 black players, the majority of whom hailed from A&M.  (The team’s all-white cheerleading squad, however, was a more familiar story).

The Hawks’ opponent were the Joliet Chargers, regular season champions of the PFLA’s Eastern Division with a 10-2 record.  The teams had met twice in the regular season, each winning at home.  In fact, both squads were undefeated at home in 1967.  That seemed to confer an advantage upon the Hawks and the hosts carried a slim 13-10 lead into the 4th quarter.

That’s when Joliet’s Paul Hudson took over.  Hudson, a rookie fullback out of Ohio State, was named season MVP of the league earlier in the week.  He scored two touchdowns on the ground in the final 11 minutes as Joliet pulled away for a 31-20 victory.

This turned out to be the last game for the Professional Football League of America and for Joliet, the league’s best team who won two of the league’s three championships.  After the 1967 season, the PFLA merged with the larger Continental Football League.  Joliet dropped out, not wishing to join the more ambitious and expensive league.  The Hawks continued on for two more seasons, going out of business along with the rest of the Continental League at the end of the 1969 campaign.

 

==Downloads==

November 25, 1967 Alabama Hawks Roster

November 25, 1967 Joliet Chargers Roster

 

==Links==

Joliet Chargers Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

December 30th, 2014 at 3:37 am

1966-1967 Waterbury Orbits

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Waterbury Orbits ProgramAtlantic Coast Football League (1966-1967)

Born: January 1966 – ACFL expansion franchise.
Died: 1968 – The Orbits relocate to Bridgeport, CT.

Stadium: Municipal Stadium (10,000)

Team Colors:

Owners: Dan Adley, Israel Gordon, James Lamberti & C. Newton Schenck

 

The Waterbury (CT) Orbits were a minor league football outfit that played for two seasons in the Atlantic Coast Football League during the mid-1960’s.  The franchise, awarded in January 1966, was originally intended for New Haven, Connecticut but community opposition to use of the city’s playing fields caused the team to relocate to the fading industrial city of Waterbury.

Connecticut Gridiron Bill RyczekBill Ryczek’s excellent Connecticut Gridiron: Football Minor Leaguers of the 1960’s and 1970’s offers the definitive history of the Orbits (and perhaps the Atlantic Coast Football League more broadly).  Ryczek notes the support the Orbits received from Waterbury Mayor Frederick Palomba, a sports booster who worked to bring both pro football and minor league baseball to the Brass City in 1966.  One of the enticements was a $100,000 upgrade to Waterbury’s Municipal Stadium, which included the installation of lights for night games and the expansion of seating to accommodate 10,000 fans for football.

Club and civic officials confidently forecasted a sellout of 10,000 for the Orbit’s home opener in September 1966, but the crowd that day was about half that number and never would approach those lofty expectations.

The 1966 Orbits squad was strong under the direction of Fred Wallner, a former Pro Bowl lineman with the Chicago Cardinals NFL teams of the mid-1950’s.  Waterbury finished 8-3-1 and just outside of the playoffs in their first season.  Wide receiver Roger Milici led the ACFL in receiving yardage (1,083) and touchdowns (13), while Jerry Stevenson was the circuit leading ground gainer with 942 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.

Wholesale changes were in store for 1967.  Wallner departed as coach, replaced by Nick Cutro.  Stevenson departed as well, but was ably replaced by Allen Smith in the offensive backfield.  Smith would finish 2nd in the league in rushing yards and lead the ACFL with 15 touchdowns.  Milici returned, but was no longer the focus of the passing game – he would finish third on the team in receiving, although his totals (23-447-5 TDs) would still rank among the league’s best.

Superstar Billy GrahamThe Orbits’ prolific 1967 passing attack was directed by a flamboyant rookie quarterback named Jim “King” Corcoran.  There was no one quite like The King – a cult playboy who toiled most of his career in places like Pottstown and Chambersburg, yet earned tributes from The Rockford Files (where Rob Reiner played a character clearly based on Corcoran) to The Washington Post who printed an encyclopedic obituary upon his death in 2009.  In what would become a typical Corcoran number line, he led the league in passing yards (2,065), touchdown passes (19) and interceptions (21).

Another colorful figure from the Orbits roster was gargantuan defensive lineman Wayne Coleman from the 1966 squad.  Coleman’s football career would summit with a brief trial with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 1968.  But he found his real calling in the world of pro wrestling, where he became “Superstar Billy Graham”, heavyweight champion of the W.W.W.F. (precursor of today’s WWE) in the late 1970’s.

Following the 1967 season, the money-losing Orbits moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Kennedy Stadium and became the Bridgeport Jets.  The Jets would play in Bridgeport from 1968 until the demise of the ACFL in 1973.

 

==Waterbury Orbits Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
1966 9/17/1966 @ Scranton Miners W 20-13 Program
1966 9/24/1966 vs. Wilmington Clippers ?? Program

 

==Links==

Atlantic Coast Football League Media Guides

Atlantic Coast Football League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

December 28th, 2014 at 9:41 pm