New York Yanks

The New York Yanks were an American football team that played in the National Football League under that name in the 1950 and 1951 seasons.

New York Yanks / Bulldogs
New York Yanks / Bulldogs logo
Founded1949
Folded1951
Based inNew York City
LeagueNational Football League
ConferenceNational Conference
Team historyBoston Yanks (1944, 1946–1948)
Yanks (1945)
New York Bulldogs (1949)
New York Yanks (1950–51)
Dallas Texans (1952)
Team colorsRoyal Blue, Silver, White      
Head coachesCharley Ewart (1949)
Red Strader (1950)
Jimmy Phelan (1951)
Owner(s)Ted Collins
Home field(s)Polo Grounds (1949)
Yankee Stadium (1950–51)

1949 seasonEdit

The team began in 1944 as the Boston Yanks, owned by Kate Smith's manager, Ted Collins. He wanted a team in New York City, but had to be content with one in Boston after the New York Giants refused to let his new team share the New York area. In 1949, however, Collins, suspecting that the All-America Football Conference was on its last legs, got permission to move the Yanks to New York; rather than a formal relocation, however, Collins asked the NFL to fold his Boston franchise and grant him a new one for New York—most likely as a tax write-off.[1] This new team played as the New York Bulldogs and shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants during the 1949 season.

The 1949 Bulldogs were a disaster on the field (1–10–1) as well as the box office, drawing just 48,007 fans to six home games, with by far the largest crowd (17,704) coming against the Giants. A 13-all tie with the Washington Redskins on October 30 attracted only 3,678 customers; until the 2020 pandemic severely limited crowds at sporting events, only one NFL crowd[2] since had been smaller.

1950 seasonEdit

In 1950, Collins changed his franchise's name to the New York Yanks and moved to Yankee Stadium, essentially merging the woeful Bulldogs with the New York Yankees of the now-defunct AAFC, as part of a deal in which he bought the rights to most of the Yankees players. (Eighteen players from the '49 Yankees played for the Yanks in 1950,[3] while only four players from the 1949 Bulldogs — Joe Domnanovich, Joe Golding, John Nolan and John Rauch — returned.)

After splitting their first two games, the Yanks went on a five-game winning streak, putting them on top of the NFL's new National Conference with a 6–1 record. Led by quarterback George Ratterman (who the Yanks acquired after his old team, the Buffalo Bills, failed to be accepted in the NFL-AAFC merger), New York rolled up 190 points in those five victories. (Attendance improved as well; after attracting barely 30,000 total to their first three home games (all Yanks victories), 48,642 showed up for their next home game against Chicago, followed by 42,673 against the Rams.) That proved to be the team's high-water mark, however; a porous defense led to a four-game losing streak that knocked the Yanks out of the race. A win over the expiring Baltimore franchise (playing its last game) upped their final record to 7–5, good enough for third place and a definite improvement over 1949.

1951 seasonEdit

The football Yanks sported two future Hall of Fame linemen in Art Donovan and Mike McCormack in 1951, but their biggest opponent turned out to be their co-tenants: the baseball Yankees, who won the American League pennant. Not wanting the field torn up while the 1951 World Series was going on, the Yanks were forced to move their first two home games to Los Angeles and Detroit, which both turned out to be blowout losses. The Yanks were also bedeviled by just plain bad luck: their next five games resulted in four losses (by a total of 16 points) and a tie, all but one of which were also played on the road. With a 0–6–1 record, the Yanks season was already over. (Attendance crashed, too: their sole home game in that span, a 29–27 loss to Green Bay, drew just 7,351 fans.) The Yanks staggered through the rest of the 1951 season with only one victory, a 31–28 decision in Green Bay. Their final game, against the Giants, played on an icy field with a game time temperature of 17 °F (−8 °C), drew a crowd of only 6,658 in cavernous Yankee Stadium; the Yanks lost, 27–17, finishing their season with a pitiful 1–9–2 mark.

The endEdit

Only 37,268 people found their way through the turnstiles in their abbreviated 1951 home schedule (four games: three losses and a tie), and this proved to be the end of the line for the New York Yanks. The team was reported to have been "sold back" to the league following the 1951 season, but it is more likely the franchise was simply revoked and canceled by the NFL. Shortly thereafter, a group of Dallas businessmen bought the Yanks' roster and player contracts—though it was ostensibly a "new" franchise—and moved them to the Cotton Bowl as the Dallas Texans. That franchise, in turn, failed after only one season, and the remains were awarded to a Baltimore-based group that used it to start the new Baltimore Colts. However, the NFL does not consider the Colts (now based in Indianapolis) to be a continuation of the franchise once known as the New York Yanks.

First round draft selectionsEdit

New York Yanks / Bulldogs first-round draft picks
Year Player name Position College
1949 Doak Walker Back SMU
1950 None
1951

Pro Football Hall of FamersEdit

New York Yanks / Bulldogs Hall of Famers
Players
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
22 Bobby Layne QB/K 1949 1967
39 Art Donovan DT 1951 1968
71 Mike McCormack OT 1951 1984

Notable playersEdit

Season-by-seasonEdit

Year W L T Finish Coach
Bulldogs 1949 1 10 1 5th East Charley Ewart
Yanks 1950 7 5 0 3rd National Red Strader
1951 1 9 2 6th National Jimmy Phelan

Yanks Total: 8 - 14 - 2

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 17, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ On Thanksgiving Day 1952, the failing Dallas Texans moved their game that day to Akron, Ohio, playing in front of only 2,500 people.
  3. ^ Bruce Alford, George Brown, Brad Ecklund, Don Garza, Sherman Howard, Duke Iverson, Harvey Johnson, Bob Kennedy, Lou Kusseow, Pete Layden, Paul Mitchell, Barney Poole, Martin Ruby, Jack Russell, Ed Sharkey, Joe Signaigo, John Wozniak and Buddy Young