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Miami Seahawks
Miami Seahawks

Founded 1946
Folded 1947
Based in Miami, Florida, United States
Home field Burdine Stadium
League All-America Football Conference (1946)
Division Eastern Division
Team History Miami Seahawks (1946)
Team Colors Orange, White

         

Head coaches Jack Meagher (games 1-6)
Hamp Pool (games 7-14)
Owner(s) Harvey Hester
AAFC Championship wins 0

The Miami Seahawks were a professional American football team based in Miami, Florida. They played in the All-America Football Conference for one season, 1946, before folding. They are notable as the first major league sports franchise in Miami and the state of Florida's first professional football team.

The Seahawks were a charter franchise in the All-America Football Conference, a league that formed in 1946 and competed with the National Football League until folding in 1949. They were coached initially by Jack Meagher and then by Hamp Pool. The team faced a difficult schedule filled with many early road games, and finished the fourteen-game regular season with only three wins. The franchise, which by that time had accrued $350,000 in debt, was confiscated by the AAFC after the end of the season, and its assets were purchased by a group of entrepreneurs who reorganized it as the original incarnation of the Baltimore Colts. Florida would not have another major league-level football team until the American Football League added the Miami Dolphins in 1966.

HistoryEdit

The Miami Seahawks were the last of the original All-America Football Conference teams to be established. They were formed to replace an aborted Baltimore franchise, which was to have been owned by retired boxer George Tunney but was unable to secure a stadium deal.[1] Miami football boosters seized on the opportunity to bring a professional team to their city, and a franchise was awarded to owner Harvey Hester.[2] The Seahawks thus became the first major league sports team to be based in Miami.[3] Home games were played at the Miami Orange Bowl.[4]

The Seahawks stood out from the other AAFC franchises in a several ways. First, they were based in a substantially smaller market, one that had about half the population of other metropolitan areas with professional football teams. The other cities that received AAFC teams were among the 15 largest in the United States, while Miami, though growing quickly, was only 42nd largest in the 1940s.[5] Additionally, owner Harvey Hester was substantially less wealthy than the other team owners, and was the only one among them who was not a millionaire.[6] Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown remarked that Hester seemed out of his league around the other owners, to the point that he was uncomfortable even playing poker among them.[7]

The Seahawks hired Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks coach Jack Meagher as head coach. Their schedule was quite difficult from the beginning. Miami opened with three straight road games, had a single home game, and then played another four road games. By the time of their first home game they had a record of 0-3-0, leading local papers to describe them as "woefully inept".[5] Meagher quit abruptly on October 22, after the sixth game, having led his team to just one win. Hamp Pool, a former captain of the 1940 and 1941 Chicago Bears NFL championship teams, then took over as head coach. After a 1-7-0 start, the team returned home to host their final six games, a difficult sell to the general public. While an average 28,000 people came to the Seahawks first two home games, fans quickly lost interest in the flagging team, and fewer than around 9000 came to each of the last three games.[5] Brooklyn, Cleveland, and San Francisco had completed their 14-game regular seasons before the Seahawks hosted their final two home games. The team also played all of its November games on Monday night, the first time in major professional football that such a move had ever been attempted more than once in a year. This would later prove to be an inspiration for Monday Night Football, which would not debut for another 24 years.

At the end of the season the team was up to $350,000 in debt, including $80,000 in travel and payroll costs, and Hester could not afford to repay it.[6] Football boosters in Miami attempted to buy the team, though they were unwilling to square the substantial debt Hester had accumulated, and decided to wait a year to make the bid.[5] Before this could happen, however, Hester declared bankruptcy and league commissioner Jim Crowley expropriated the team. Before the Miami boosters could make an offer the league approved a bid by Washington, D.C. attorney Robert D. Rodenburg and four other businessmen. The group reformed the team in Baltimore and renamed it, and the original incarnation of the Baltimore Colts was born.[6]

Miami was without a professional football team until the 1960s. Ralph Wilson briefly considered putting his American Football League (AFL) franchise in Miami, but city officials turned him down. Then in 1965 the AFL awarded an expansion team to lawyer Joe Robbie and actor Danny Thomas, and the Miami Dolphins were established.[8]

Miami Seahawks - 1946 schedule and resultsEdit

  • Fri. Sep. 6th --- Miami 0 at Cleveland Browns 44
  • Sun. Sep. 15th --- Miami 14 at San Francisco 49ers 21
  • Fri. Sep. 20th --- Miami 14 at Los Angeles Dons 30
  • Tue. Oct. 8th --- San Francisco 49ers 34 at Miami 7
  • Fri. Oct. 11th --- Miami 17 at Buffalo Bisons 14
  • Fri. Oct. 18th --- Miami 7 at Chicago Rockets 28
  • Fri. Oct. 25th --- Miami 7 at Brooklyn Dodgers 30
  • Sun. Nov. 3rd --- Miami 21 at New York Yankees 24
  • Mon. Nov. 11th --- Chicago Rockets 20 at Miami 7
  • Mon. Nov. 18th --- Buffalo Bisons 14 at Miami 21
  • Mon. Nov. 25th --- Los Angeles Dons 34 at Miami 21
  • Tue. Dec. 3rd --- Cleveland Browns 34 at Miami 0
  • Mon. Dec. 9th --- New York Yankees 31 at Miami 0
  • Fri. Dec. 13th --- Brooklyn Dodgers 20 at Miami 31

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties

Season W L T Finish Playoff results
Miami Seahawks
1946 3 11 0 4th AAFC East --

NotesEdit

  1. Coenen, p. 118.
  2. Coenen, p. 113; 136.
  3. Coenen, pp. 140–141.
  4. Morgan, p. 22.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Coenen, p. 142.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Coenen, p. 126.
  7. Levy, p. 88.
  8. Carroll, p. 82.

ReferencesEdit

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