Boston Bulldogs (AFL)


Boston Bulldogs (AFL)

The Boston Bulldogs were a professional American football team that competed in the first American Football League in 1926. Owned by Robert McKirby, [ "Bill Edwards Named President of A.F.L." "New York Times", March 8, 1926] the Bulldogs lasted only six games into the AFL season, playing one home game in Braves Field and one in Fenway Park. [ [http://aflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee] ] Coached by player-coach Herb Treat, the majority of the team played their college football in New England, Pennsylvania, and New York. [ 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 offense led by Joe McGlone (who started the season playing for the Providence Steam Roller) was inconsistent, scoring a total of 20 points in its existence… 17 of which were tallied in one game (a 17-0 victory over the Brooklyn Horsemen on October 17, 1926). [ [http://aflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1926a.pdf 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee] ] Erwin Gehrke and Carl Etelman shared the kicking duties. Bill Cronin, a tailback, scored the team’s only offensive touchdown (the other TD was scored on a fumble recovery by Charlie Morrison).

While Robert McKirby was the owner of the team, it was subsidized by league founders C. C. Pyle and Red Grange (who owned the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Wildcats, and a portion of the Chicago Bulls). [ [http://home.comcast.net/~ghostsofthegridiron/articles/9-01-684.pdf “The Grange League”] – Professional Football Researchers Association (1997)] While the team’s first home game (a 13-0 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park, October 9, 1926) drew 12,000 fans, only 2000 fans attended the team’s next game (a 21-0 demolition by the Wildcats at Braves Field). The Bulldogs were not a draw on the road, having drawn no more than 4000 people to any game away from Boston. Despite the financial support by C. C. Pyle, the team was in such financial straits that it became the fourth AFL team to leave the league (November 14, 1926 – after Newark, Cleveland, and Brooklyn). [ [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 ]

With the departure of the Rock Island Independents the following week, the fate of the first American Football League was sealed. Its last official game (the Yankees "vs." the Bulls at Comiskey Park) was played on December 12, 1926. The AFL was no more. [ [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 ]



Players

The following people played for the Bulldogs 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 Also played end
2 Played wingback, fullback, and blocking back
3 Finished season with the Providence Steam Roller
4 Played blocking back and wingback
5 Also played wingback
6 Also playing fullback and end
7 Played for the Frankford Yellow Jackets of the NFL after the folding of the Bulldogs
8 Started season with the Providence Steam Roller
9 Position later known as quarterback
10 Started season with the Newark Bears
11 Also played guard
12 Also played guard and center

After the first AFL

Immediately after the sudden departure of the Bulldogs from the AFL, two of the team’s members managed to join other rosters in either the NFL or the AFL. [ 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] Carl Etelman and Vern Hagenbuckle both joined the Providence Steam Roller in late November and finished their NFL careers the next month.

On the other hand, a few members of the 1926 Boston Bulldogs continued their pro football careers by signing contracts with National Football League teams: [ 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 ]

Bill Cronin – 1927-29 Providence Steam Roller
Bull Lowe – 1927 Providence Steam Roller
Al Pierotti – 1927 Providence Steam Roller, 1929 Boston Bulldogs (NFL)

In 1929, there was a new Boston Bulldogs franchise in the National Football League. Unrelated to the AFL team, it was the relocated Pottsville Maroons franchise. It, too, lasted only one season in Boston before calling it quits. [ 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 ]

References


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