Youngstown Hardhats

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The Youngstown Hardhats were a semi-professional football team who played in the 1970s. The team was based in Youngstown, Ohio, and competed in the Middle Atlantic Football League.[1]

Organized in 1972, owned and ran by Ralph Erskine the Hardhats posted a 38-6 record over three seasons. Despite this strong record, the Hardhats' owners announced in March 1975 that they would not field a team for the upcoming season, because of declining attendance and reports that a team from the World Football League would locate in Akron, Ohio.[1]


The Hardhats' organization in the early 1970s signified a departure from the prevailing norm in Youngstown's sports community, where teams were generally sponsored by public and private educational institutions, including Youngstown State University. The Youngstown Hardhats last season was 1981. Days before the 1982 season opener we the players were told we wouldn't be able to compete do to lack of funds. Some years later the Mahoning Valley Cobra,s Semi Pro Football team came along and was around till 1988-89.

[2] The success of the team helped pave the way for increased business investment in organized sports in the Youngstown area.[2] Youngstown was home to the Mahoning Valley Thunder, an indoor football team that competed in the af2 from 2007-2009.[3]


  1. ^ a b "A Century of Sports: The Mahoning and Shenango Valleys". The Vindicator. November 14, 1999. p. 4. 
  2. ^ a b Bassetti, John; Kovach, John (March 31, 2007). "Area breeds toughness, tradition; From players, coaches, officials, the area has been well represented in the NFL". The Vindicator. p. 1. 
  3. ^ Bassetti, John (March 31, 2007). "Mike Schneider: Backup ready; the former Sharon and Youngstown State QB has quickly adapted to the indoor game". The Vindicator. p. C-1.