The Dayton Triangles were an original franchise of the American Professional Football Association (now the National Football League (NFL)) in 1920. The Triangles were based in Dayton, Ohio, and took their nickname from their home field, Triangle Park, which was located at the confluence of the Great Miami and Stillwater Rivers in north Dayton. They were the longest-lasting traveling team in the NFL (1920–1929), and the last such "road team" until the Dallas Texans in 1952, who, coincidentally, descended from the Dayton franchise.
|Based in||Dayton, Ohio, United States|
|League||"Ohio League" (1913–1919)|
National Football League (1920–1929)
|Team history||St. Mary's Cadets (1913–1914)|
Dayton Gym-Cadets (1915)
Dayton Triangles (1916–1929)
|Team colors||Navy, White|
|Head coaches||Louis Clark (1913–1914)|
Al Mahrt (1915)
Bud Talbott (1916–1917)
Greasy Neale (1918)
Bud Talbott (1919–1921)
Carl Storck (1922–1926)
Lou Mahrt (1927)
Faye Abbott (1928–1929)
|Owner(s)||Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company |
Dayton Metal Products Company
Domestic Engineering Company
|Other League Championship wins||(3) 1913, 1914, 1915|
|Ohio League Championship wins||(1) 1918|
|Undefeated seasons||(3) 1913, 1917, 1918|
|Home field(s)||Westwood Field (1916)|
Triangle Park (1917–1929)
The original Dayton Triangles members first began playing together as basketball players at St. Mary's College, now the University of Dayton, from 1908 until 1912. After graduation, the players organized a basketball team of alumni, students, and other local athletes. They went by the name of the St. Mary's Cadets. The Cadets claimed the title of "World Basketball Champions" by defeating the Buffalo German Ramblers.
In the fall of 1913, the St. Marys Cadets organized a football team. The team was coached by Louis Clark, who coached the St. Mary's college football team as well. Al Mahrt was elected team captain. The team finished its first season with a 7–0 record and won the Dayton City Championship. It also won the Southern Ohio Championship by defeating the Cincinnati Celts 27 to 0 at Redland Park. The team won a second city championship in 1914, despite injuries to Al Mahrt and Babe Zimmerman. In 1915 the team changed its name to the Dayton Gym-Cadets after their presumed sponsors, the Dayton Gymnastic Club. That season saw Al Marhrt take over as the team's coach. The team only lost one game that season, to the Columbus Panhandles. It also won its third city championship.
The team was reorganized in 1916 as a recreational football team from among the employees of three downtown Dayton factories: the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (or Delco), the Dayton Metal Products Company, and the Domestic Engineering Company (now called Delco-Light). Carl Storck, who later served as treasurer of the NFL and as acting league president from 1939 to 1941, co-sponsored the Dayton Cadets and used players recruited from the three factories to fill out the team roster. Storck would later become the team's manager, while Bud Talbott, a Walter Camp All-American tackle and team captain at Yale University, was named the team's coach. The team's name was also changed to the Dayton Triangles that season.
In 1916, the Triangles went 9–1, defeating teams from Cincinnati, Detroit, Toledo and Pittsburgh. The Canton Bulldogs, with the legendary Jim Thorpe in the line-up, claimed the "Ohio League" Championship after their win over the Massillon Tigers. The Triangles challenged the Bulldogs to a game on December 10, 1916, but the game was never played. The following season saw the Triangles move into their new park, Triangle Park. The team's 1917 campaign was successful. The team went 6–0–2 that season. The Triangles were able to score 188 points and gave up only 13 to their opponents.
In 1918 saw the United States entry in World War I, as well as a devastating Spanish flu pandemic. While the Triangles lost players to military service, they also had many kept home with regular jobs in industries deemed essential to the war effort and, along with the few other teams still playing, far less competition for the talent pool. This allowed the Triangles to keep a team on the field and beat what few representative teams remained. They claimed an Ohio League Championship. The Triangle player-coach that season was Earle "Greasy" Neale, since Bud Talbott joined the army. During their championship run, the Triangles defeated future NFL teams, the Toledo Maroons, Hammond Pros, Columbus Panhandles and Detroit Heralds. The Triangles went 8–0–0 in 1918, one of two known teams to have collected a perfect record of more than five games that year, the other being the Buffalo Niagaras, whose 6–0–0 record was collected as a result of playing only teams from Buffalo and who built their team on many of the players left out of work because of the Ohio League teams' suspension.
In 1919, they followed up their championship with a season record of 4–2–1.
National Football League (NFL) eraEdit
At the first meetings held on August 20, 1920 and September 17, 1920 at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile dealership located in Canton, Ohio, the Triangles were represented by their manager Carl Storck as they became charter members of the new league called the American Professional Football Association (APFA), until 1922 when it was renamed the National Football League. During the latter meeting, Jim Thorpe was unanimously elected as new league's president. Also at this meeting, a membership fee of $ 100 per team was established, however George Halas stated that none of the charter teams ever paid it.
On October 3, 1920, the Triangles won what could be considered the very first APFA/NFL game, with a 14–0 defeat of the Columbus Panhandles at Triangle Park. The high point of the Triangles' 1920 season was a 20–20 tie at Triangle Park with Thorpe's Canton Bulldogs; it was the first time a team had scored three touchdowns on the Bulldogs since 1915. Trailing the Triangles, 20–14, Thorpe nailed two late field goals to tie the score. Six games into the season, the Triangles remained undefeated (4–0–2) but in the final three games lost twice to eventual league champion, the Akron Pros, ending 1920 with a 5–2–2 mark.
In 1922, the other teams in the NFL were recruiting and signing top college players from around the country; however Dayton continued to use mainly local players. This marked a decline in the team's performance, and the Triangles ceased being competitive in the NFL. Because of their poor showing on the field, the Triangles were not able to draw crowds for home games: Triangle Park, with a seating capacity of 5,000, rarely saw that many fans. Soon, the combination of poor home gates and the lure of $2,500 guarantees to play at larger venues (like Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park and the Polo Grounds), made the Triangles primarily a traveling team.
By the late twenties, Dayton was one of the league's doormats, winning just five of their 51 NFL contests from 1923 through 1929. Only the revenues from playing on the road kept them afloat. Also around this time, the NFL began shaking off its roots in mid-sized midwestern cities. Although the Triangles were one of only three original NFL teams (along with the Bears and Cardinals) to survive the 1920s, and the only team from the Ohio League to survive past 1926, it soon became apparent that Dayton was not big enough to support a team in the burgeoning league. Finally, on July 12, 1930, a Brooklyn-based syndicate headed by Bill Dwyer bought the Triangles; the franchise moved to Brooklyn and was renamed the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jack Depler was a co-owner and new coach of the Dodgers who had been a coach-player for the NFL's Orange Tornadoes. He took most of the members of the 1929 Tornadoes with him for the new Dodgers team.
Due to numerous transactions over the years, the Triangles have a tenuous connection to the current NFL. The Dodgers merged with the Boston Yanks franchise for the 1945 season due to player shortages. In 1946, Brooklyn's owner jumped to the AAFC and played as the New York Yankees. The Boston Yanks remained in the NFL, and in 1949 moved to New York and became the New York Bulldogs. Also in 1949, the AAFC Yankees merged with the Brooklyn Dodgers and played as the Brooklyn-New York Yankees. When the AAFC merged with the NFL, the Yankees players were divided between the New York Giants and the New York Bulldogs.
A failure at the box office, the Bulldogs were "sold back" to the NFL in 1952 and awarded to a group from Texas, who moved it to Dallas for the 1952 season as the Dallas Texans. The Texans failed after one year and were again sold back to the NFL, who folded the Texans franchise. Its remains were awarded to an ownership group in Baltimore to form the Baltimore Colts. The Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984 and are still playing as the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL currently does not consider the Colts to be a continuation of any of its past incarnations, including the Triangles.
Dayton Triangles Soccer ClubEdit
During the 1970s, the Dayton Triangles Soccer Club revived the name and enjoyed some success and recognition as a successful youth (and later semi-pro) soccer club. Like the football team, they took their name from the same city park and played an important role in development of soccer in the Miami Valley.
Dayton Triangles RFC (Rugby Union)Edit
In 1973, the Dayton Triangles RFC club was founded. Like the aforementioned soccer club, this team also took its name from the original football team and city park. Through various amalgamations over the years, the club is still active under the name of the Dayton Area Rugby Club.
Pro Football Hall of FamersEdit
|Season||Team||League||Regular season||Post Season Results||Refs.|
|Dayton St. Mary's Cadets|
|1913||1913||Ohio||—||7||0||0||Named Ohio City Champions
Defeated Cincinnati Celts for Ohio League South Division Championship
|1914||1914||Ohio||—||5||4||0||Named Ohio City Champions|||
|1915||1915||Ohio||—||7||1||1||Named Ohio City Champions|||
|1916||1916||Ohio||4th||9||1||0||The Ohio League did not have playoffs|||
|1918||1918||Ohio||1st||8||0||0||Named Ohio League Champions|||
|1919||1919||Ohio||—||5||2||1||The Ohio League did not have playoffs|||
|1920||1920||APFA||6th||5||2||2||The APFA did not have playoffs|||
|1922||1922||NFL||7th||4||3||1||The NFL did not have playoffs until 1932|||
|12||4||0||Dayton St. Mary's Cadets season record (1913–1914)|
|7||1||1||Dayton Gym-Cadets season record (1915)|
|46||54||11||Dayton Triangles season record (1916–1929)|
|65||59||12||All-time season record (1913–1929)|
- Collett & Presar (1990), p. 1
- "1915 Dayton Gym-Cadets". The Pro Football Archives. Maher Sports Media. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- Collett & Presar (1990), p. 4
- PFRA Research (n.d.a), p. 3
- Braunwart & Carroll (1981), p. 4
- "1920 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1921 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1922 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1923 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1924 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1925 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1926 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1927 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1928 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "1929 Dayton Triangles Starters, Roster, & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- Braunwart, Bob; Carroll, Bob (1981). "The Ohio League" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 3 (7). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-22.
- Collett, Ritter; Presar, Steve (1990). "Dayton Played Large Founding Role in NFL" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 12 (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-22.
- "Dayton Triangles' Impact on Early Records". DaytonTriangles.com. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- Peterson, Robert (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511913-4.
- PFRA Research (1980). "Happy Birthday NFL?" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (8). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-11.
- PFRA Research (n.d.a). "The Super Bulldogs: 1916" (PDF). Professional Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 6, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- PFRA Research (n.d.b). "A War Year: 1918" (PDF). Professional Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- "Triangles Develop into Champs". DaytonTriangles.com. Retrieved March 31, 2012.