|Based in||Miami, Florida, United States|
|League||All-America Football Conference (1946)|
|Team history||Miami Seahawks (1946)|
Orange, White, Green
|Head coaches||Jack Meagher (games 1-6)
Hamp Pool (games 7-14)
|AAFC Championship wins||0|
|Home field(s)||Burdine Stadium|
The Miami Seahawks were a professional American football team based in Miami, Florida. They played in the All-America Football Conference in the league's inaugural season, 1946, before folding. They are notable as the first major league sports franchise in Miami and the state of Florida's first professional football team.
The Seahawks were coached initially by Jack Meagher and then by Hamp Pool. The team faced a difficult schedule filled with many early road games, and finished the 14-game regular season with only three wins. The franchise, which by that time had accrued $350,000 in debt, was confiscated by the AAFC after the end of the season, and its assets were purchased by a group of entrepreneurs who reorganized it as the original incarnation of the Baltimore Colts. Florida would not have another major league-level football team until the (fourth) American Football League organized in 1960 added the Miami Dolphins in 1966.
The Miami Seahawks were the last of the AAFC's charter teams to be established. They were formed to replace an aborted Baltimore franchise which was to have been owned by retired boxer Gene Tunney. However, Tunney's bid foundered when he was unable to secure a stadium deal with old, city-owned "Municipal Stadium" on 33rd Street, built in 1922 in the former Venable Park of northeast Baltimore (site of future "Memorial Stadium", rebuilt 1950-1954). A group of Miami football boosters led by Harvey Hester seized on the chance to bring a major league team to their city. The AAFC, needing an eighth team to balance the schedule, readily granted Hester a franchise. The Seahawks thus became the first major league sports team to be based in Miami. Home games were played at Burdine Stadium, later called the Miami Orange Bowl.
The Seahawks stood out from the other AAFC franchises in several ways. First, Miami was by far the smallest market in the league, with roughly half the population of most other metropolitan areas with professional football teams. Indeed, the only city in the NFL and AAFC that was smaller was Green Bay. Although Miami was beginning a period of growth that continues today, it was only the 42nd-largest city in the United States at the time, while the other AAFC cities were among the 15 largest in the United States. Additionally, Hester was substantially less wealthy than the other team owners; he was the only one among them who was not a millionaire. Cleveland Browns famed coach Paul Brown remarked that Hester seemed out of his element around the other owners, to the point that he was uncomfortable even playing poker among them.
The Seahawks hired Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks coach Jack Meagher as head coach. Their schedule was quite difficult from the beginning. They played seven of their first eight games on the road. Their first game was a harbinger of things to come--a 44-0 thumping by the Cleveland Browns. By the time of their first home game, they had a record of 0-3-0, leading local papers to describe them as "woefully inept". Meagher quit abruptly on October 22 after winning just one of his first six games. Hamp Pool, captain of the 1940 and 1941 Chicago Bears NFL championship teams, was forced to take over as head coach. After a 1-7-0 start, the team returned home to host their final six games, a difficult sell to the general public. While an average 28,000 people came to the Seahawks' first two home games, fans quickly lost interest in the flagging team, and only around 9,000 came to each of the last three games. Brooklyn, Cleveland, and San Francisco had completed their 14-game regular seasons before the Seahawks hosted their final two home games. The team also played all of its November games on Monday night, the first time in major professional football that such a move had ever been attempted more than once in a year.
At the end of the season, the team was $350,000 in debt, including $80,000 in travel and payroll costs, and Hester could not afford to repay it. Football boosters in Miami attempted to buy the team, though they were unwilling to square the substantial debt Hester had accumulated, and decided to wait a year to make the bid. Before this could happen, however, Hester declared bankruptcy and league commissioner Jim Crowley expropriated the team. Before the Miami boosters could make an offer, the league approved a bid by Washington, D.C., attorney Robert D. Rodenburg and four other businessmen. The group reformed the team in Baltimore and relaunched it as the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts.
Miami Seahawks - 1946 schedule and results
- Fri. Sep. 6th --- Miami 0 at Cleveland Browns 44
- Sun. Sep 15 --- Miami 14 at San Francisco 49ers 21
- Fri. Sep 20 --- Miami 14 at Los Angeles Dons 30
- Tue. Oct. 8th --- San Francisco 49ers 34 at Miami 7
- Fri. Oct 11 --- Miami 17 at Buffalo Bisons 14
- Fri. Oct 18 --- Miami 7 at Chicago Rockets 28
- Fri. Oct 25 --- Miami 7 at Brooklyn Dodgers 30
- Sun. Nov. 3rd --- Miami 21 at New York Yankees 24
- Mon. Nov 11 --- Chicago Rockets 20 at Miami 7
- Mon. Nov 18 --- Buffalo Bisons 14 at Miami 21
- Mon. Nov 25 --- Los Angeles Dons 34 at Miami 21
- Tue. Dec. 3rd --- Cleveland Browns 34 at Miami 0
- Mon. Dec. 9th --- New York Yankees 31 at Miami 0
- Fri. Dec 13 --- Brooklyn Dodgers 20 at Miami 31
|1946||3||11||0||4th AAFC East||--|
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