Dallas Texans (NFL)

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For other teams named "Dallas Texans", see Dallas Texans.
Dallas Texans
Dallas Texans logo
Founded January 30, 1952
Folded 1952
Based in Dallas, Texas (games 1–7)
Hershey, Pennsylvania
(games 8–12)
League National Football League
Conference National Conference
Team history Boston Yanks (1944, 1946–1948)
Yanks (1945)
New York Bulldogs
New York Yanks (1951)
Dallas Texans (1952)
Team colors

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)[1] 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. Many players on the 1952 roster went to the new Baltimore Colts franchise in 1953.


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.

On January 30, 1952, 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.[2] However, it also acquired the entire Yanks roster.[3] 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.[4]

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 was the last game the Texans played in Texas. 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.[5] 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.

Program from first ever game played by Dallas Texans in 1952

The team played 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 and hung 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.[6] 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. Two weeks later, the Lions won the NFL championship.

George Taliaferro, the team's leading rusher, was selected to the Pro Bowl at the end of the season.

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.[7] Rosenbloom named his new team the Baltimore Colts, but for all intents and purposes, Rosenbloom bought the Texans and moved them to Baltimore.

However, the Colts (based in Indianapolis since 1984) 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;[7] 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.

Although the NFL rapidly grew more prosperous during the latter part of the 1950s, the fiasco in Dallas left the league weary of further expansion, especially to Dallas. Unable to persuade NFL owners to reconsider, Texas oil scion Lamar Hunt founded the American Football League as a direct competitor to the NFL. When Hunt's Dallas Texans were announced as charter members of the new league, the NFL quickly reconsidered its position on expansion and made a second venture into Dallas, establishing what would become a more successful team, the Dallas Cowboys, briefly known as the Rangers. The minor league baseball team of that name was expected to disband, but didn't and the "Cowboys" name was adopted for the NFL team in mid-March.[8] Both franchises shared the Cotton Bowl (also the home of SMU) for their first three seasons.[9] The AFL team moved after winning the 1962 AFL Championship in double overtime and became the Kansas City Chiefs for its fourth season in 1963.

The "Texans" name has since been revived by the NFL for the current Houston Texans, an expansion team in 2002.

Notable players[edit]

Pro Football Hall of Fame[edit]


First round draft selection[edit]

Main article: 1952 NFL draft


Year W L T Finish Coach
1952 1 11 0 6th National Jim Phelan

1952 results[edit]

Week Day & Date Opponent W-L-T Score Venue 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


  1. ^ http://michigan-football.com/nfl/nfl.htm
  2. ^ "Yanks' purchase completed by Miller". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 30, 1952. p. 16. 
  3. ^ http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/17-05-621.pdf
  4. ^ Brandt, Gil Ten things you didn't know about Les Richter. NFL.com, 2011-07-11.
  5. ^ "Dallas Texans, pro football club, folds". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. INS. November 13, 1952. p. 17. 
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b "Defunct Dallas football team to play for Baltimore next year". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 2, 1952. p. 14. 
  8. ^ "Dallas NFL entry adopts 'Cowboys' tag". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. March 20, 1960. p. 10A. 
  9. ^ "Head-to-head combat in Dallas as pro football leagues collide". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 24, 1960. p. 8. 
  10. ^ "The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts". Colts.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 

External links[edit]