Atlantic Coast Football League

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The Atlantic Coast Football League (ACFL) was a minor football league that operated from 1962 to 1973. Until 1969, many of its franchises had working agreements with NFL and AFL teams to serve as farm clubs. The league paid a base salary of $100 per game and had 36 players on each active roster.[1]

For the first few years, Joe Rosentover served as league president. He had served in the same capacity for the American Football League (formerly the American Association) from 1947 to 1950; a relative, John Rosentover, had run the league from 1936 to 1947. In fact, several of the teams from the AA were revived in the ACFL, including the Providence Steam Roller, Newark Bears and a team in Paterson, New Jersey. By 1968, Rosentover had left the organization and been superseded by commissioner Cosmo Iacavazzi.

In 1965, three of the franchises (the Hartford Charter Oaks, Newark Bears and Springfield Acorns) joined with five teams from the United Football League to create the Continental Football League. The league picked up four franchises from that league when it folded in 1969 (Norfolk Neptunes, Orlando Panthers, Jersey Jays and Indianapolis Capitols); the Neptunes and Panthers were exactly the same teams as the Acorns and Bears respectively, having relocated during their time in the CoFL.

In 1970, the Orlando Panthers signed a husband and wife duo, Steven and Patricia Palinkas, as a kicker and holder respectively. Steven did not make the team, but Patricia did, making her the first female professional football player.[1] Other notable ACFL players included Pro Bowl fullback Marvin Hubbard, three-time championship winning quarterback Jim "The King" Corcoran, and offensive lineman Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmermann, who shortly after his retirement began an over 40-year career as a sportswriter, much of that time with Sports Illustrated.

Most of the ACFL's teams, including all of the teams that had been in the Continental league, folded following the 1971 season. The Hartford Knights and Bridgeport Jets survived, and both moved down to the Seaboard Football League in 1972. Hartford accrued a perfect season in that league in 1972, including several games with margins of victory over 40 points, and after much dissatisfaction with the league announced it was leaving with the intent to reform the ACFL.[2] The ACFL returned for one final season in 1973 with Hartford, Bridgeport, and several teams promoted up from the SFL (which led to a trickle-up that brought Empire Football League teams upward to the SFL to fill the old SFL teams' void). The return, however, was short-lived; the league determined it would not compete with the World Football League and folded after the 1973 season.

Commissioner Cosmo Iacovazzi was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Championship Games[edit]

Teams[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Associated Press (1970-09-04). "First woman to earn place on pro grid team is also suspended." Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  2. ^ "Hartford quits Seaboard loop." Associated Press (1972-11-23). Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Stetz, Bill (1969). "1969 Atlantic Coast Football League media guide". Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  4. ^ Woods, Mark (2009-10-22). Smith is Pats' UK connection. ESPN.com. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  • Gill, Bob Outsiders II: Minor League and Independent Football 1951-1985 (St. Johann Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-878282-65-1