Dallas Texans (NFL)
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Dallas Texans NFL
Dallas Texans
Dallas Texans logo
FoundedJanuary 29, 1952
Based inDallas, Texas (games 1-7)
Hershey, Pennsylvania
(games 8-12)
LeagueNational Football League
ConferenceNational Conference
Team historyBoston Yanks (1944, 1946-1948)
Yanks (1945)
New York Bulldogs
New York Yanks (1951)
Dallas Texans (1952)
Team colorsRoyal Blue, Silver, White      
Head coachesJim Phelan
Home field(s)Cotton Bowl (games 1-7)
traveling team (games 8-12)

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)[1] and off the field. The team was based first in Dallas, then Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Akron, Ohio, during its only season. After the team folded, the league awarded its holdings to the new Baltimore Colts. Eight years later, the American Football League (AFL) would have a 1960 charter member team named the Dallas Texans (who later would become the Kansas City Chiefs). The 1960-62 AFL Dallas Texans had no relationship with the earlier 1952 NFL Dallas Texans team.


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.[2] However, it also acquired the entire Yanks old roster.[3] 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.[4]

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 14 with five games to go in the season.[5] 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.

Program from first ever game played by Dallas Texans in 1952

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 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.[6] 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.

George Taliaferro, the team's leading rusher, was selected to the Pro Bowl at the end of the season.

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.[7] 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;[7] 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 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.[8] Both franchises shared the Cotton Bowl (also the home of Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Mustangs) stadium for their first three seasons.[9] 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).

Notable players

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Dallas Texans Hall of Famers
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
70 Art Donovan DT 1952 1968
75 Gino Marchetti DE 1952 1972


First round draft selection

Dallas Texans first-round draft picks
Year Player name Position College Notes
1952 Les Richter G California Pick was actually made by the New York Yanks on January 17, and the Yanks picks were given to Dallas.


Year W L T Finish Coach
1952 1 11 0 6th National Jim Phelan

1952 results

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


  1. ^ "All-Time National Football League (NFL) Standings Since 1945". michigan-football.com. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Yanks' purchase completed by Miller". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 30, 1952. p. 16.
  3. ^ "17-05-621.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-17. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Brandt, Gil Ten things you didn't know about Les Richter. NFL.com, 2011-07-11.
  5. ^ "Dallas Texans, pro football club, folds". Rome News-Tribune. Georgia. INS. November 13, 1952. p. 17.
  6. ^ Both the Brooklyn Tigers and Card-Pitt -- the latter being the merged (for that year) Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers -- finished 0-10-0 in 1944, an unenviable feat that would only later be surpassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that lost all of its fourteen regular season games in 1976; the 2008 Detroit Lions have since surpassed both of these marks by finishing their season 0-16-0.
  7. ^ a b "Defunct Dallas football team to play for Baltimore next year". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 2, 1952. p. 14.
  8. ^ "Dallas NFL entry adopts 'Cowboys' tag". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. March 20, 1960. p. 10A.
  9. ^ "Head-to-head combat in Dallas as pro football leagues collide". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 24, 1960. p. 8.
  10. ^ "The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts". Colts.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved .

External links

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