Philadelphia Quakers (AFL)


Philadelphia Quakers (AFL)

"Not to be confused with the defunct Philadelphia Quakers team of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia Quakers baseball team who became the Philadelphia Phillies in 1890 or the University of Pennsylvania athletics teams, the Pennsylvania Quakers."

The Philadelphia Quakers were a professional American football team that competed in the first American Football League in 1926 and won the league’s only championship. Owned by L. S. Conway, [ "A.F.L. Fields Nine Teams" "New York Times", July 17, 1926] the Quakers played their home games in Sesquicentennial Stadium on Saturdays due to Pennsylvania’s Blue laws prohibiting work or business on Sundays. Coached by Bob Folwell, the majority of the team played their college football in Pennsylvania. [ David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, "The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present" (St. Martin’s Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4] The Quakers had nine players (including Century Milstead, Charlie Way, Butch Spagna, and Bull Behman) who had previously played for various National Football League teams. The combined experience gave the team an edge in line play, particularly on defense (the Quakers yielded only five points per game for the 1926 season). The addition of All-American Glenn Killinger merely added to the defensive riches: he intercepted four passes in his league debut (November 4, 1926, in a 24-0 victory over the Rock Island Independents). [ [http://aflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee] ]

Unlike half of their league opponents, the Quakers had no financial connection with league founders C. C. Pyle and Red Grange. In addition to having a championship team, the Quakers drew well in the stadium in the midst of the Sesquicentennial Exposition. When the fair ended (early November), the audience in the soon-to-be renamed Municipal Stadium diminished, but still drew well when the Quakers defeated the New York Yankees 13-7 on a Bob Dinsmore punt return that decided the game - and the league championship (November 27, 1926). [ [http://aflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee] ] [ David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, "The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present" (St. Martin’s Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4]

At the time of the championship-clinching game, the AFL had only four active teams (the Quakers, the Yankees, the Los Angeles Wildcats, and the Chicago Bulls), three of which were being subsidized by C. C. Pyle and Red Grange. [ David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, "The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present" (St. Martin’s Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4] The latter three teams played games in the last two weeks of the season while the Quakers started challenging National Football League teams for a “pro football championship game.” The NFL champions Frankford Yellow Jackets were the first to refuse, claiming that their postseason schedule had been already set. Additional challenges by the Quakers were unanswered until Tim Mara, owner of the seventh place New York Giants, accepted the challenge, scheduling a game for December 12, 1926, at the Polo Grounds.

As the Yankees and the Bulls were playing the AFL’s last official game (a 7-3 Yankees victory in Comiskey Park), [ [http://aflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee] ] the Quakers and the Giants were battling in front of 5000 fans in the middle of a driving snowstorm. While the score was only 3-0 at halftime, Quaker errors led to the Giants winning the game 31-0. [ [http://home.comcast.net/~ghostsofthegridiron/Quakers_NY-Giants_1926.htm "New York Giants Beat Quakers in Slop, 31-0"] – "The Philadelphia Record", December 13, 1926] Both the Quakers and the AFL were no more.

At the end of the season, Wilfred Smith of the "Chicago Tribune" presented a combined NFL-AFL All Pro team in his column. Three Quakers were named to the second team: George Tully, Bull Behman, and Al Kreuz. [ [http://www.footballresearchers.org/The_Coffin_Corner 1926 All Pros] – John Hogrogian, citing "Chicago Tribune", December 19, 1926]



Players

The following people played for the Quakers for at least one game in the 1926 AFL regular season, the only one of the team’s (and the league’s) existence: [ David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, "The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present" (St. Martin’s Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4]

1 Played fullback, blocking back (position later called “quarterback”), and wingback
2 Also played end
3 Also played center
4 Played blocking back, tailback, wingback, and fullback
5 Played five games for Cleveland Panthers before the team folded
6 Played tailback and fullback
7 Also played guard and end
8 Started 1926 season on New York Giants roster
9 Played wingback, tailback, and blocking back

After the first AFL

Upon the completion of a New York Yankees 7-3 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Comiskey Park on December 12, 1926, the first AFL was officially dead. [ [http://nflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League] – week-by-week history by the Elias Sports Bureau and the Professional Football Researchers Association Linescore Committee] The simultaneous 31-0 drubbing of the Quakers by the New York Giants in the Polo Grounds left the AFL champions in a similar state. [ [http://www.footballresearchers.org/Articles/The_Grange_War.pdf The Grange War: 1926] – Bob Carroll, Professional Football Researchers Association]

It was, however, not the end of the professional football career for five Philadelphia Quakers. The following men were on rosters of NFL teams in the 1927 season: [ David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, "The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present" (St. Martin's Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4]

Bob Beattie – 1927 New York Yankees, 1929 Orange Tornadoes, 1930 Newark Tornadoes
Bull Behman – 1927-31 Frankford Yellow Jackets (player-coach 1930-31)
Adrian Ford – 1927 Pottsville Maroons, 1927 Frankford Yellow Jackets
Century Milstead – 1927-28 New York Giants
George Tully – 1927 Frankford Yellow Jackets

On the other hand, the pro football careers of several former NFL players ended with the 1926 Quakers:

Charlie Cartin – 1925 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers
Saville Crowther – 1925 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers
Doc Elliott – 1922-23 Canton Bulldogs, 1924-25 Cleveland Bulldogs, 1926 Quakers
Glenn Killinger – 1921 Canton Bulldogs, 1926 New York Giants, 1926 Quakers
Johnny Schott – 1920-23 Buffalo All-Americans, 1926 Quakers
Butch Spagna – 1920 Cleveland Tigers, 1920-21 Buffalo All-Americans, 1924-25 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers
George Sullivan – 1924-25 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers
Whitey Thomas – 1924 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers
Charlie Way – 1921 Canton Bulldogs, 1924 Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926 Quakers

NOTE: Doc Elliott came out of retirement in 1931 to play for the Cleveland Indians.

References

External links

* [http://ghosts.footballhistory.org/Quakers.htm History of the Philadelphia Quakers]


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