Dallas Texans (NFL)
|Based in||Dallas, Texas (games 1–7)
|League||National Football League|
|Team history||Boston Yanks (1944–1948)
New York Bulldogs
New York Yanks (1951)
Dallas Texans (1952)
Royal Blue, Silver, White
|Head coaches||Jim Phelan|
|Owner(s)||Giles Miller (games 1–7)
NFL (games 8–12)
|Home field(s)||Cotton Bowl (games 1–7)
traveling team (games 8–12)
The Dallas Texans played in the National Football League for one season, 1952, with a record of 1–11. They were one of the worst teams in NFL history, both on (lowest franchise winning percentage) and off the field. The team was based first in Dallas, then Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Akron, Ohio, during its only season. The Texans were the last NFL team to fold.
After the 1951 season, the financially troubled New York Yanks franchise was put on the market. Ted Collins had founded that franchise in 1944 as the Boston Yanks, moved it to New York City in 1949 as the Bulldogs, and renamed it the Yanks in 1950. Unable to find a buyer, Collins sold the team back to the league.
A few months later, a Dallas-based group led by a pair of young millionaires, Giles Miller and his brother, Connell, bought what was ostensibly a new franchise—the first-ever major league team based in Texas. However, it also acquired the entire Yanks roster. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Millers bought the Yanks and moved them to Dallas. Home games were scheduled to be played at the Cotton Bowl. The Millers originally wanted to name the team the Rangers, but later decided to name them the Texans instead.
The Millers thought that Texas, with its longstanding support of college football, would be a natural fit for the NFL, and NFL owners approved the move with an 11–1 vote. Giles Miller declared, "There is room in Texas for all kinds of football." However, the first game, against the New York Giants, set the tone for the season. While the Texans managed to get the first touchdown, they missed the extra point. They never found the end zone again and lost 24–6. In what proved to be another harbinger for the franchise, only 17,499 fans showed up at the Cotton Bowl (capacity 75,000) for the opening game. Attendance continued to dwindle as the losses piled up and the team showed no sign of being competitive. The nadir came with a November 9 game against the Los Angeles Rams, which attracted only 10,000 fans.
As it turned out, this would be the last game the Texans would play in Dallas. Unable to meet payroll or get financial support from area businessmen (an important factor even in those days), the Millers returned the team to the league on November 14 with five games to go in the season. The NFL moved the franchise's operations to Hershey, Pennsylvania (though it kept the "Dallas Texans" name). It also moved the Texans' last two home games out of Dallas, making them a traveling team.
The team wound up playing one of its final two "home" games at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, where the franchise tallied its only win under the Texans moniker — over the Chicago Bears of George Halas, in front of an estimated 3,000 fans on Thanksgiving Day. Head coach Jim Phelan suggested because of the small turnout — where a high school game earlier outdrew the NFL contest (a measure of how low the NFL still ranked on the sports scene at the time)— that instead of being introduced on the field, they should "go into the stands and shake hands with each fan." Halas had been so certain that the Bears would overpower the lowly Texans that he started his second-stringers. The Texans jumped out to a 20–2 lead before hanging on for a 27–23 win. With the victory, the NFL avoided having a franchise with a winless regular season, something that had not happened since 1944. The team's final game was a 41–6 flogging at the hands of the Detroit Lions. That game was supposed to be played in Dallas, but was moved to Detroit after the league took over the team—forcing the Texans to make their second trip of the year to Briggs Stadium.
The NFL was unable to find a buyer for the Texans, and folded the team after the season. A few months later, the NFL granted a new franchise to a Baltimore-based group headed by Carroll Rosenbloom, and awarded it the remaining assets (including the players) of the failed Texans operation. Rosenbloom named his new team the Baltimore Colts. For all intents and purposes, Rosenbloom bought the Texans and moved them to Baltimore. However, the Colts (now based in Indianapolis) do not claim the history of the Yanks/Bulldogs/Yanks/Texans as their own, in spite of the fact that the Colts 1953 roster included many of the 1952 Texans. Likewise, the NFL reckons the Colts as a 1953 expansion team. It does not consider the Colts to be a continuation of the Yanks/Bulldogs/Yanks/Texans franchise, or even the Dayton Triangles for that matter considering that franchise's successor, the Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers, merged with the Yanks in 1945. As a result, the Texans officially remain the last NFL team to permanently cease operations and not be included in the lineage of any current team.
In 1960, the league made a second venture into Dallas and established what would become a more successful team, the Dallas Cowboys. Also in that year, the American Football League began with its own Dallas Texans; that team moved after winning the 1962 AFL Championship and became the Kansas City Chiefs. The "Texans" name has since been revived by the NFL for the current Houston Texans, which started play in 2002.
Pro Football Hall of Famers
- Jack Adkisson, who would become more famous as professional wrestler Fritz Von Erich
- Brad Ecklund
- Weldon Humble
- Matthew Maguire
- Dennis Nichol
- Chuck Ortmann
- George Taliaferro
- Frank Tripucka
- Buddy Young
- Joe Campanella, Baltimore Colts General Manager in 1967
First round draft selection
- 1952 Les Richter Guard California (Pick was actually made by New York Yanks. Yanks picks given to Dallas.)
|1952||1||11||0||6th National||Jim Phelan|
|Week||Day & Date||Opponent||W-L-T||Score||Site||Record|
|1||Sun 9/28/1952||New York Giants||L||24–6||Cotton Bowl||0–1–0|
|2||Sun 10/5/1952||San Francisco 49ers||L||37–14||Cotton Bowl||0–2–0|
|3||Sun 10/12/1952||Chicago Bears||L||38–20||Wrigley Field||0–3–0|
|4||Sat Night 10/18/1952||Green Bay Packers||L||24–14||Cotton Bowl||0–4–0|
|5||Sun 10/26/1952||San Francisco 49ers||L||48–21||Kezar Stadium||0–5–0|
|6||Sun 11/2/1952||Los Angeles Rams||L||42–20||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||0–6–0|
|7||Sun 11/9/1952||Los Angeles Rams||L||27–6||Cotton Bowl||0–7–0|
|8||Sun 11/16/1952||Detroit Lions||L||43–13||Briggs Stadium||0–8–0|
|9||Sun 11/23/1952||Green Bay Packers||L||42–14||East Stadium||0–9–0|
|10||Thu 11/27/1952||Chicago Bears||W||27–23||Rubber Bowl (Akron, Ohio) ^||1–9–0|
|11||Sun 12/7/1952||Philadelphia Eagles||L||38–21||Shibe Park||1–10–0|
|12||Sat 12/13/1952||Detroit Lions||L||41–6||Briggs Stadium ^||1–11–0|
^ moved from Dallas
- "Yanks' purchase completed by Miller". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 30, 1952. p. 16.
- Brandt, Gil Ten things you didn't know about Les Richter. NFL.com, 2011-07-11.
- Both the Brooklyn Tigers and Card-Pitt — the latter being the merged (for that year) Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers — finished 0–10–0 in 1944, an unenviable feat that would later be surpassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that lost all of its fourteen regular season games in 1976; the 2008 Detroit Lions have since surpassed both of these marks by finishing their season 0–16–0.
- "The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts". Colts.com. Retrieved 2010-11-27.