Lively Tales About Dead Teams

2014 Boston Brawlers

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Boston BrawlersFall Experimental Football League (2014)

Born: 2014 – FXFL founding franchise
2015 (Mahoning Valley Brawlers)

Stadium: Harvard Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: FXFL


The Boston Brawlers were an misbegotten minor league football effort that managed two stage just two games at Harvard Stadium in the fall of 2014 before evaporating.  The Brawlers were part of a start-up called the Fall Experimental Football League which suddenly popped up in three cities (Boston, Brooklyn, Omaha) in the summer of 2014 with virtually no advance publicity, sales effort or investors .  (A fourth team, the “Florida” Blacktips had no home base and rounded out schedule as a travel-only squad).

The Brawlers’ biggest name was quarterback Tahj Boyd.  Boyd, the 2012 ACC Player-of-the-Year at Clemson, was the 6th round draft pick of the New York Jets earlier in 2014. After getting cut in training camp, Boyd latched on with the Brawlers for a couple of games.

The Brawlers played in the league’s debut game on October 8th, 2014, losing 41-18 to the Omaha Mammoths at TD Ameritrade Park in Nebraska.  Meanwhile, back in Boston, the Brawlers neglected to do any local promotion, short of an agreement to air a few game broadcasts on NESN, the Red Sox-owned cable network. Boston Globe sportswriter Stan Grossfeld, who covered the team’s second and final appearance at a near-empty Harvard Stadium in November 2014, noted that the team’s pugilistic logo “looks more like V.I. Lenin than John L. Sullivan”.

On November 7, 2014 30 days after the FXFL debuted, league founder Brian Woods announced the cancellation of the league’s final regular season contest and championship game. After the season, many FXFL players complained on social media of unpaid salaries.

Surprisingly, the FXFL returned to play in 2015 with a new business model. Brooklyn returned,  but gone were the major/mid-major markets of Boston and Omaha.  In their place, the FXFL formed partnerships with minor league baseball operators to handle promotion and operations.  The Brawlers were re-purposed as the Mahoning Valley Brawlers, to be operated by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball team in Niles, Ohio.

On September 28, 2015 the FXFL folded the Mahoning Valley Brawlers franchise one week before the planned kickoff of the 2015 season.



The Boston Brawlers host the Brooklyn Bolts at Harvard Stadium. November 2014.


The Brawlers planned move to the Mahoning Valley in Ohio, plugged in a July 2015 WKBN news package.


Written by andycrossley

November 11th, 2015 at 2:40 pm

1978 Anaheim Oranges

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1977 Anaheim Oranges Pocket ScheduleWorld Team Tennis (1978)

Born: December 6, 1977 – WTT expansion franchise.
Folded: Postseason 1978

Arena: Anaheim Convention Center

Team Colors:

Owners: Dr. Jerry Buss, Frank Mariani & Billie Jean King

WTT Championships: None


The Anaheim Oranges were an expansion franchise during the final season of World Team Tennis in 1978.  Anaheim received a full-fledged franchise of its own after the Anaheim Convention Center hosted 10 league contests as a neutral site in 1977.

The Oranges were owned by Dr. Jerry Buss and his business partner Frank Mariani, who also backed the league’s other Southern California franchises, the Los Angeles Strings and San Diego Friars.  Tennis superstar and league co-founder Billie Jean King reportedly owned 29 percent of the franchise, though she played for the rival New York Apples team in 1978.

World Team Tennis was a co-ed league and featured top touring pros from all over the world who played in the league during breaks between Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and other summer tournaments.  Key players for the ’78 Oranges included Rosie Casals, Cliff Drysdale and 15-year old Tracy Austin, who appeared in three matches for Anaheim as an unpaid amateur.

The franchise folded along with the rest of the World Team Tennis organization in late 1978. Billie Jean King revived a lower-budget version of the league in 1981 and a re-boot of the Oranges (the “California Oranges”) returned to the Anaheim Convention Center that summer. The new Oranges lasted from 1981 to 1983 before fading into history.


==Anaheim Oranges Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


1978 8/1/1978 vs. Los Angeles Strings  L 31-21 Program


World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs


Written by andycrossley

November 8th, 2015 at 9:51 pm

1963-1964 Springfield Acorns

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Springfield Acorns ProgramAtlantic Coast Football League (1963-1964)

Born: 1963
Moved: Marc 1965 (Norfolk Neptunes)

Stadium: Pynchon Park

Team Colors:

Owners: Acorn Sports Association (James Dunn, et al.)

ACFL Championships: None


The Springfield Acorns were a short-lived pro football team in Western Massachusetts during the early 1960’s. The Acorns competed in the Atlantic Coast Football League, a minor league loop that featured teams from Maine to Georgia.  The team played out of Pynchon Park, Springfield’s 8,500-seat minor league baseball stadium.

The Acorns were notable for their quarterbacks.  In 1963, a rookie signal caller out of the University of Pittsburgh named James Traficant took over the starting job at midseason.  Traficant (12 TDs vs. 5 INTs) and his teammates played just well enough to win the ACFL’s Northern Division with a 7-5 record.  That earned the Acorns a chance to host the ACFL championship game on November 24th, 1963 against the 11-1 Newark Bears.  Newark limited the Acorns to one early rushing touchdown en route to a lop-sided 23-6 victory.

Traficant departed after the 1963 season and was replaced under center by Dan Henning, a rookie from the College of William and Mary.  Henning would go on to become and NFL head coach with the Atlanta Falcons (1983-1986) and San Diego Chargers (1989-1991). He later returned to Massachusetts as Head Coach of Boston College from 1994 to 1996.

Traficant, meanwhile, grew up to be an absurdly-toupéed U.S. Congressman from the 17th District of Ohio. Prosecuted twice for racketeering, Traficant’s colorful 17-year run in the House of Representatives ended in 2002 with a 7-year federal prison sentence.

In February 1965, several members of the ACFL split away to form the more ambitious Continental Football League.  The Acorns were one of the defector clubs, but team officials were simultaneously trying to unload the franchise to out of town investors. In March 1965 the Acorns were sold to Virginia investors who moved the team and renamed it the Norfolk Neptunes.  The Neptunes played on in Virginia for seven more seasons before going out of business in 1971.


==Springfield Acorns Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other


1963 9/28/1963 vs. Ansonia Black Knights ?? Program
1963 11/24/1963 vs. Newark Bears L 23-6 Program


Atlantic Coast Football League Media Guides

Atlantic Coast Football League Programs


Written by andycrossley

November 8th, 2015 at 8:21 pm

2001-2003 Bridgeport Barrage

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Bridgeport BarrageMajor League Lacrosse (2001-2003)

Born: 2001 – MLL founding franchise.
Moved: 2004 (Philadelphia Barrage)

Stadium: The Ballpark at Harbor Yard (5,300)

Team Colors: 

Owners: Ken Paul, Mickey Herbert, Charlie Dowd & Bob Watson


The Bridgeport Barrage were one of six original franchises in Major League Lacrosse, the outdoor lax circuit developed by Body By Jake huckster Jake Steinfield and Warrior Lacrosse founder Dave Morrow.  The Barrage were owned and operated by the investor group behind the Bridgeport Bluefish independent baseball team and the $19 million Ballpark at Harbor Yard development, opened to great acclaim in 1998.

The Barrage played the role of league punching bag during their three seasons in Bridgeport, winning just 7 games against 33 losses from 2001 to 2003.  The team never won more than three games in a season. After the 2003 campaign, the club relocated to suburban Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Barrage played five more seasons before folding in 2008.



Major League Lacrosse Media Guides

Major League Lacrosse Programs



Written by andycrossley

November 7th, 2015 at 9:33 pm

1967-1968 Westchester Bulls

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Westchester Bulls ProgramAtlantic Coast Football League (1967-1968)

Born: 1967 – The Scranton Miners relocate to Westchester, NY.
Moved: 1969 (Long Island Bulls)

Stadium: Memorial Stadium

Team Colors:


ACFL Championships: None


The Westchester Bulls were a minor league farm club of the NFL’s New York Giants for two seasons in the late 1960’s.  The Bulls played their home games out of Memorial Stadium in Mt. Vernon, New York.

The 1967 Bulls won their first nine games en route to a 10-2 record in the Atlantic Coast Football League.  Late season call-ups to New York for halfback Randy Minniear and defensive back Bob Post sapped the Bulls of their momentum.  The Bulls lost to the Virginia Sailors 20-14 in the league’s championship game in Mt. Vernon on November 25th, 1967.

Following the 1967 season, Roy Boe bought the club for $50,000 from the team’s original owner, Cosmo Iacavazzi.  The Bulls were the first sports investment for Boe, who would later own the New York Nets of the ABA and become the founding owner of the NHL’s New York Islanders. In 1969, Boe moved the team out of Westchester and over to Hofstra Stadium on Long Island where the franchise became known as the Long Island Bulls.

The Long Island Bulls played two more seasons before folding after the 1970 season. The ACFL went out of business in 1973.


==Westchester Bulls Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other


1967 9/2/1967 vs. Lowell Giants W 26-14 Program
1967 11/25/1967 vs. Virginia Sailors L 20-14 Program



Atlantic Coast Football League Media Guides

Atlantic Coast Football League Programs


Written by andycrossley

November 7th, 2015 at 1:33 pm