The Dallas Texans played in the National Football League (NFL) for one season, 1952, with a record of 1–11. The team is considered one of the worst teams in NFL history, both on (lowest franchise winning percentage) and off the field. The team was based first in Dallas, then Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Akron, Ohio, during its only season. The league moved the team to Baltimore in 1953, where it began play as the Colts. The American Football League (AFL) had a 1960 charter member named the Dallas Texans (who later became the Kansas City Chiefs), but the AFL Texans have no relationship with the earlier NFL team.
|Founded||January 29, 1952|
|Based in||Dallas, Texas (games 1–7) |
|League||National Football League|
|Team history||Boston Yanks (1944, 1946–1948)|
New York Bulldogs
New York Yanks (1951)
Dallas Texans (1952)
|Team colors||Royal Blue, Silver, White|
|Head coaches||Jim Phelan|
|Home field(s)||Cotton Bowl (games 1–7) |
traveling team (games 8–12)
After the 1951 season, the financially troubled New York Yanks franchise was put on the market. Ted Collins, (1900–1964) had founded that franchise in 1944 as the Boston Yanks, in Boston, Massachusetts, then moved it to New York City in 1949 as the New York Bulldogs, and renamed it again briefly as the Yanks in 1950. Unable to find a buyer, Collins sold the team back to the League.
On January 29, 1952, a Dallas-based group led by a pair of young millionaires, Giles Miller and his brother, Connell, completed the purchase of what was ostensibly a new franchise—the first-ever major league sports team based in Texas. However, it also acquired the entire Yanks old roster. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Millers bought the Yanks and moved them to Dallas. Home games were scheduled to be played at the Cotton Bowl, home stadium for the SMU Mustangs of Southern Methodist University. The Millers originally wanted to name the team as the Rangers, but later decided to call them the Texans instead.
The Millers thought that big growing Texas, with its longstanding support of college football, would be a natural fit for the NFL to move farther south and west, and the team owners approved the move with an 11–1 vote. Giles Miller declared, "There is room in Texas for all kinds of football." However, the first game, against the New York Giants, set the tone for the season. While the Texans got the first touchdown, they missed the extra point. They never found the end zone again and lost 24–6. In what proved to be another harbinger for the franchise, only 17,499 fans showed up at the Cotton Bowl (capacity 75,000) for the opening game. Attendance continued to dwindle as the losses piled up and the team showed no sign of being competitive. The nadir came with a November 9 game against the Los Angeles Rams, which attracted only 10,000 fans.
As it turned out, this was the last game the Texans played in Texas. Unable to meet payroll or get financial support from area businessmen (an important factor even in those days), the Millers returned the team to the League on November 14th with five games to go in the season. The NFL moved the franchise's operations temporarily to Hershey, Pennsylvania (though it kept the "Dallas Texans" name). It also moved the Texans' last two home games out of Dallas, making them a traveling team.
The team played one of its final two "home" games at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, where the franchise tallied its only win under the Texans moniker — over the ancient Chicago Bears of George Halas, in front of an estimated crowd of only 3,000 fans on Thanksgiving Day. As a measure of how low the NFL still ranked on the sports scene in the 1950s, a high school football game far outdrew the professional contest. Head coach Jim Phelan jokingly suggested because of the small turnout, they should "go into the stands and shake hands with each fan." Halas had been so certain that the Bears would overpower the lowly Texans that he started only his second-stringers. The Texans jumped out to a 20–2 lead and hung on for a 27–23 win. With the victory, the NFL avoided having a franchise with a winless regular season, something that had not happened since 1944. The team's final game was a 41–6 flogging at the hands of the Detroit Lions. That game was supposed to be played in Dallas, but was moved to Detroit after the league took over the team—forcing the Texans to make their second trip of the year to Briggs Stadium. Two weeks later, the Lions won the NFL's 1952 championship.
The NFL was unable to find a buyer for the Texans, and decided to relocate the team after the 1952 season. A few months later, the NFL granted a new franchise to a Baltimore-based ownership group headed by Baltimorean Carroll Rosenbloom, and awarded it the remaining assets (including the players) of the failed Texans operation. Rosenbloom named his new team the Baltimore Colts, (after the previous team playing for the city in the competing All-America Football Conference, which merged with the NFL in 1950)
The Colts (later based in Indianapolis since 1984) do not claim the history of the earlier Yanks/Bulldogs/Yanks/Texans as their own, even though the Colts' 1953 first roster included many of the previous 1952 Texans. Likewise, the NFL also reckons the new Colts as a 1953 expansion team; it does not consider the Colts to be a continuation of the Yanks/Bulldogs/Yanks/Texans franchise, or even the Dayton Triangles for that matter considering that other franchise's successor, the Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers, merged with the Yanks in 1945. As a result, the Texans officially today remain as the last NFL team to permanently cease operations and not be included in the lineage of any current franchise team.
Although the NFL rapidly grew more prosperous during the latter part of the 1950s, (especially after the success of "The Greatest Game Ever Played" – the 1958 championship game in old Yankee Stadium between the vaunted New York Giants versus the developing Colts leading to a later profitable nationwide television contract), the fiasco in Dallas left the NFL leery of further expansion. Unable to persuade other NFL owners to reconsider, Texas oil scion Lamar Hunt with others, founded the American Football League as a direct competitor to the older NFL. When Hunt's new Dallas Texans were announced as charter members of the new league, the NFL quickly reconsidered its position on expansion and made a second venture into Dallas in 1960, establishing what would become a more successful and later world-wide famous team, the Dallas Cowboys, briefly known in the beginning as the Dallas Rangers. A minor league baseball team of that same name was expected to disband, but didn't and the "Cowboys" name was later adopted for the NFL team in mid-March 1960. Both franchises shared the Cotton Bowl (also the home of Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Mustangs) stadium for their first three seasons. The new AFL team moved after winning the 1962 AFL Championship in double overtime and became the Kansas City Chiefs for its fourth season in 1963.
The "Texans" name has since been revived by the NFL for the current Houston Texans, an expansion team in 2002, which replaced the earlier Houston Oilers a charter AFL franchise which moved to Nashville, Tennessee as the renamed Tennessee Titans.
|1952||1||11||0||6th National||Jim Phelan|
|Week||Day & Date||Opponent||W-L-T||Score||Venue||Record|
|1||Sun 9/28/1952||New York Giants||L||24–6||Cotton Bowl||0–1–0|
|2||Sun 10/5/1952||San Francisco 49ers||L||37–14||Cotton Bowl||0–2–0|
|3||Sun 10/12/1952||Chicago Bears||L||38–20||Wrigley Field||0–3–0|
|4||Sat Night 10/18/1952||Green Bay Packers||L||24–14||Cotton Bowl||0–4–0|
|5||Sun 10/26/1952||San Francisco 49ers||L||48–21||Kezar Stadium||0–5–0|
|6||Sun 11/2/1952||Los Angeles Rams||L||42–20||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||0–6–0|
|7||Sun 11/9/1952||Los Angeles Rams||L||27–6||Cotton Bowl||0–7–0|
|8||Sun 11/16/1952||Detroit Lions||L||43–13||Briggs Stadium||0–8–0|
|9||Sun 11/23/1952||Green Bay Packers||L||42–14||East Stadium||0–9–0|
|10||Thu 11/27/1952||Chicago Bears||W||27–23||Rubber Bowl (Akron, Ohio) ^||1–9–0|
|11||Sun 12/7/1952||Philadelphia Eagles||L||38–21||Shibe Park||1–10–0|
|12||Sat 12/13/1952||Detroit Lions||L||41–6||Briggs Stadium ^||1–11–0|
^ moved from Dallas
The 1952 Dallas Texans season was the team's only season in the league while in Dallas. They lost their first nine games and finished 1–11, the worst record in the 12-team league.
After its seventh game, the franchise was returned to the NFL on November 14. The Texans' home game against the Chicago Bears was moved to Thanksgiving and to the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, and was their only victory. The final home game with the Lions was moved to Briggs Stadium in Detroit.A new NFL franchise emerged in 1953 as the Colts in Baltimore, Maryland.
Professional football would not return to the "Big D" until the births of the Cowboys and the AFL version of the Texans in 1960.Barney Poole
George Barney Poole (October 29, 1923 – April 12, 2005) was an American football end in the National Football League for the New York Yanks, the Dallas Texans, the Baltimore Colts, and the New York Giants. Poole also played football in the All-America Football Conference for the New York Yankees. Poole played college football at the University of Mississippi, where he was an All-American as an offensive and defensive end. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Barney Poole was preceded in the NFL by two brothers, Jim "Buster" Poole and Ray Poole, both of whom had long professional football careers. Barney Poole was one of the few players who played college football for more than four years, because his two years with the national championship Army team were not counted against his collegiate eligibility.Billy Baggett
William Boyce Baggett (June 2, 1929 – May 20, 2015) was a professional football player who played in the National Football League (NFL) in 1952 for the Dallas Texans. Prior to playing professionally, Baggett played college football at Louisiana State University. In 1951, he played in the Blue–Gray Football Classic. During the 1951 NFL Draft, Baggett was drafted in the 22nd, 265 overall, by the Los Angeles Rams. However, he never played with the team.Baggett died on May 20, 2015.Chuck Ortmann
Charles H. Ortmann (June 1, 1929 – March 7, 2018) was an American football player who played for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1948 to 1950 and in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1951 and the Dallas Texans in 1952.Dan Edwards
Daniel Moody Edwards (August 17, 1926 – August 7, 2001) was an American gridiron football player and coach. He played professional as an end in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the National Football League (NFL).Don Colo
Don Colo (born January 5, 1925) is a former American football defensive tackle who played nine seasons in the National Football League. He was born in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He is a veteran of World War II.Fritz Von Erich
Jack Barton Adkisson Sr. (August 16, 1929 – September 10, 1997), better known by his ring name Fritz Von Erich, was an American professional wrestler, carnival attraction, wrestling promoter, and the patriarch of the Von Erich family. He was also the owner of the World Class Championship Wrestling territory.George Taliaferro
George Taliaferro (January 8, 1927 – October 8, 2018) was a professional American football player who was the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team. Beginning his football career at Indiana University for the Hoosiers team, he played in the NFL for the New York Yanks from 1950 to 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952, the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1954, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.Gino Marchetti
Gino John Marchetti (January 2, 1926 – April 29, 2019) was a professional American football player in the National Football League. A defensive end, he played in 1952 for the Dallas Texans and from 1953 to 1966 for the Baltimore Colts.Jerry Davis
Jerome W. "Jerry" Davis (January 5, 1924 – October 18, 2006) was a professional American football defensive back in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Cardinals (1948–1951) and the Dallas Texans (1952).Joe Soboleski
Joseph Robert Soboleski, Jr. (August 22, 1926 – November 12, 2015) was an American football guard.
Soboleski began his football career playing for Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduating from high school, Soboleski spent 18 months in the United States Navy, including eight months in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He played college football at the University of Michigan as a defensive lineman from 1945 to 1948. He was a starting defensive lineman on Michigan's undefeated 1947 and 1948 national championship teams. At the conclusion of his college career, Soboleski was selected to play in the 1949 College All-Star Game in Chicago.Soboleski was selected in the ninth round of the 1949 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but he signed instead with the Chicago Hornets of the All-America Football Conference. Soboleski played four years of professional football for five teams: Chicago Hornets (1949), Washington Redskins (1949), Detroit Lions (1950), the New York Yanks (1951), and the Dallas Texans (1952). He was released by the Texans after 24-6 loss in the 1952 season opener.John Wozniak (American football)
John Edward Wozniak (August 2, 1921 – August 26, 1982) was an American football offensive guard who played nine seasons in the All-America Football Conference, the National Football League and the Canadian Football League. He originally was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1948 NFL Draft. Inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.Keith Flowers
Keith Duane Flowers (April 24, 1930 – November 12, 1993) was an American football player who played one season in the National Football League with the Detroit Lions and Dallas Texans. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the eleventh round of the 1952 NFL Draft. He played college football at Texas Christian University and attended Perryton High School in Perryton, Texas.Ken Jackson (American football)
Kenneth Gene Jackson (April 26, 1929 – January 28, 1998) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League. A native of Austin, Texas, Jackson played for six seasons for the Dallas Texans and the Baltimore Colts.Ray Pelfrey
Ray Pelfrey was a professional American football player who played wide receiver for three seasons for the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cardinals, Dallas Texans, and New York Giants.Sonny Gandee
Sherwin Kenneth "Sonny" Gandee, Sr. (February 27, 1929 – July 21, 2013) was a professional American football linebacker and defensive lineman. After playing college football for Ohio State, Gandee was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1952 NFL Draft. He played for five seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Texans in two games during the 1952 season and for the Detroit Lions in 51 games from 1952 to 1957. He was a member of the Lions' 1952, 1953 and 1957 teams that won NFL championships.Tom Keane
Thomas Lawrence Keane (September 7, 1926 – June 19, 2001) was an American football cornerback.Will Sherman
Will Sherman (October 20, 1927 – October 11, 1997) was an American football defensive back who played with the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams from 1954 to 1960.
|Pro Football Hall of Famers|
|Ohio League Championships|
|Pro Football Hall of Famers|
Brooklyn Dodgers/Brooklyn Tigers
|Pro Football Hall of Famers (4)|
|Pro Football Hall of Famers|