Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Atlantic Coast Football League (1962-1973)


The Atlantic Coast Football League was a minor league loop that stretched, at various times, from northern New England west to New Jersey and as far south as Orlando, Florida. During the late 1960’s, many ACFL clubs formed working agreement with NFL and AFL parent clubs.  A small (very small) number of players were able to leverage their ACFL experience into NFL careers, perhaps most notably Pottstown Firebirds tight end Bob Tucker, who led the ACFL in receiving in 1969 before going on to an 11-year career with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.  He was one of the most productive pass-catching NFL tight ends of the 1970’s.

The league received national exposure in 1972 when NFL Films showed an hour long documentary on the 1970 Pottstown Firebirds championship season – Pro Football, Pottstown, Pa. – prior to the telecast of Super Bowl VI.  Unfortunately, the league chose to take that season off to re-organize and was unable to capitalize on its fifteen minutes of fame.

The ACFL was active from 1962 to 1971, did not play in 1972, and then staged a final season in 1973 before folding for good.

Franchise List:

  • Ansonia (CT) Black Knights (1962-1963)
  • Atlanta Spartans (1964)
  • Atlantic City Senators (1966)  Folded in mid-season, 1966
  • Baltimore Broncos (1963)
  • Boston Steamrollers (1965)
  • Boston Sweepers (1963-1964)
  • Bridgeport (CT) Jets (1968-1971, 1973)
  • Frankfort (CT) Falcons (1962)
  • Harrisburg (PA) Capitols (1963-1969)
  • Hartford Charter Oaks (1964)
  • Hartford Knights (1968-1971, 1973)
  • Holyoke (MA) Bombers (1965)
  • Indianapolis Capitols (1970)
  • Jersey Giants (1963-1964)
  • Jersey Jays (1970)
  • Jersey Jets (1965-1966)
  • Jersey Tigers (1969)
  • Long Island Bulls (1969-1970)
  • Long Island Chiefs (1973)
  • Lowell (MA) Giants (1966-1968)
  • Mohawk Valley (NY) Falcons (1963-1965)
  • New Bedford (MA) Sweepers (1965-1966)  Folded in mid-season, 1966
  • New England Colonials (1973)
  • New York Crusaders (1973)
  • Newark Bears (1963-1964)
  • Norfolk (VA) Neptunes (1970-1971)
  • Orlando Panthers (1970)
  • Paterson (NJ) Miners (1962)
  • Pittsburgh Valley Ironmen (1963-1965)
  • Portland (ME) Sea Hawks (1962-1964)
  • Pottstown (PA) Firebirds (1968-1970)
  • Providence Steamrollers (1962-1964)
  • Quincy (MA) Giants (1969)
  • Rhode Island Steelers (1966)
  • Richmond Rebels (1964)
  • Richmond Roadrunners (1968-1969)
  • Richmond Saints (1970)
  • Roanoke Buckskins (1969-1971)
  • Scranton (PA) Miners (1965-1966)
  • Scranton (PA) Pros (1964)
  • Springfield (MA) Acorns (1963-1964)
  • Stamford (CT) Golden Bears (1962)
  • Virginia Sailors (1966-1968)
  • Waterbury (CT) Orbits (1966-1967)
  • Westchester (NY) Bulls (1967-1968)
  • Westchester (NY) Crusaders (1963-1964)
  • Western Massachusetts Pioneers (1973)
  • Wilmington (DE) Clippers (1966-1967)

Written by andycrossley

July 15th, 2012 at 1:45 am

Posted in

7 Responses to 'Atlantic Coast Football League (1962-1973)'

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  1. Wonderful website about all these lesser known but nevertheless entertaining teams. Question- Was the ACFL a semi-pro league or professional? I hear the players got paid $50-$100 a week (about $400 in today’s money) but had to get jobs even during the season Keep up the good work! Thanks. Rick


    29 Dec 13 at 12:41 am

  2. Thanks Rick.

    The ACFL was pro/semi-pro. Some of the players were on developmental assignments from NFL teams during the late 60’s, but not sure how they were compensated (i.e. whether those salaries came from the local club or from the NFL parent).


    29 Dec 13 at 1:30 am

  3. I have a collection of films, from 66-70 from Virginia Sailors, Roanoke Buckskins. These are actual game films, professionally filmed. 31 films total, looking for offers – let me know if you can point me in a good direction.

    chris shafer

    5 Sep 14 at 7:52 pm

  4. I have heard of the Baltimore Bronco club moving to Hazleton Pa. as the Hazleton Mustangs Anywhere I can get more information? Thank yhou


    28 Sep 14 at 3:51 am

  5. My Father played QB for the Ansonia Black Nights in 1962 would anyone have any information about Him,

    Maurice H Wadley Jr

    28 Sep 14 at 9:32 pm

  6. I played for the Westchester Crusaders in 1963 part of `64 and 1967 played 4 or 5 games with the Westchester Bulls . Played Rt. CB. #41 , it was a great time. I met some great guys , some had played in the NFL and the AFL . A few guys from the Bulls got to the NFL . I remembered playing Don Jonas {CFL}and Demsey the field goal kicker to mention a few. The sad thing I keep reading about teammates that we are losing every day. Myself being 74 yrs. old . I consider my self lucky to have played with and met some great team mates.
    Thanks , Bob D`Avanzo #41 and #19

    Bob D`Avanzo

    4 Nov 14 at 3:32 am

  7. Chris Shafer

    I spent some time during the ’69/’70 seasons bouncing
    back and forth from the Long Island Bulls to their
    NFL affiliate NY Giants. I do recall playing TE in
    games against a Roanoke team that was the Saints
    affiliate. I’m curious as to whether the Roanoke
    Buckskins were the Saints affiliate and whether you might have films of 1969 or 1970 games against the
    Long Island Bulls. Thanks for your time. Bob

    Bob Long

    10 Dec 14 at 8:40 am

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