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Orange/Newark Tornadoes? Know the history?


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The Orange/Newark Tornadoes are a defunct National Football League team that existed from 1929 to 1930.

When Duluth Eskimos owner Ole Haugsrud sold his defunct team to a promoter in Orange, New Jersey in 1929, it was renamed the Tornadoes. The first game for the new team was a scoreless tie against the New York Giants on September 29, 1929. The team relocated to Newark, New Jersey in 1930 and became the Newark Tornadoes. The team's lone victory during the 1930 season was against the Frankford Yellow Jackets.

The team had four head coaches in its two years in the league - Jack Depler, Jack Fish, Al McGall and Andy Salata. Only Depler and Fish managed victories.

The last game for the Tornadoes was also against the New York Giants, a 34-7 loss on October 29, 1930. The franchise folded after the 1930 season and was sold back to the NFL. The Tornadoes' players and place in the league were given to George Preston Marshall, who founded the Boston Braves.

Orange/Newark Tornadoes

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I looked it up myself and this is how the discussion went (at least as it pertains to the Redskins).....

Bob Carroll..

From "National Football League Franchise Transactions" posted on this site:

There is circumstantial evidence that indicates that the Newark franchise was sold to Boston. First, the fact that the league ordered the Newark franchise sold to the highest bidder indicates their intent was to replace the franchise ownership. Secondly, Boston is the next franchise to operate as a league member. And finally, Ole Haugsrud, the owner of the defunct Duluth franchise, in a 1974 letter to George Halas recalled that his Duluth franchise was sold to Orange, which became Newark, which was sold to Boston. However, neither Ole Haugsrud nor this study can provide any documentation.


Thank you Bob. Actually, I had forgotten the Newark link to this story, but vaguely recall it now that you mention it. I wish I could remember where I first came across this information. Don't you think Haugsrud's story would have to hold water in the archives of football history, considering many things weren't written down?

Red Baker..

Actually, I know of three sources for this notion, which I think is correct:

1) article, "Haugsrud hailed for saving NFL," Duluth News Tribune, January 9, 1975

2) the aforementioned PFRA report

3) Haugsrud gives a similar account in "The Game that Was" (Myron Cope, 1970, World Publishing), noting that the Duluth franchise which he acquired originally for one dollar was now worth millions as the Redskins, and how he was given a right of first refusal on any franchise that the league would, in the future, place in Minnesota, which led to his 10% stake in the expansion Vikings.

Haugsrud was credited with 'saving' the league because he was able to get his old friend Ernie Nevers to play for the Eskimos, who barnstormed for a couple of years and drew big crowds. Nevers played for 15,000 dollars for the season, a huge amount in the days when most guys got 75 bucks a game.

Bob Carroll..

"Saving the league" seems a bit strong. The AFL was on its way down by mid-October; it was going to go bust and there would have been an NFL in 1927. However, there's no doubt Nevers' drawing power saved a couple of teams from big or bigger losses.

On the subject of franchise transfer, the tracing question comes down to who got paid. If the owner of an existing franchise sells it to a new buyer, that is a direct connection. The new owner may relocate to a new city, change the team's name, add new players or fire the old ones, but the franchise -- that right to operate -- makes the transition from one team to the next direct.

On the other hand, if the owner of an existing team returns or sells his franchise back to the league and then a new owner purchases a franchise from the league, that is not a direct transfer. It may be true that the second team replaces the first, and the second team may even employ some of the same players and equipment of the first team if they are made available by the league, but it's still not a direct transfer.

After the 1951 season, Ted Collins returned his franchise back to the NFL. The NFL sold a new franchise to a group from Dallas. That bunch went bust and the league took back its franchise. Then the league sold a new franchise to Baltimore. Technically, there are three different teams involved, but I doubt that there's anyway to convince many people that it's not all one team.

Red Baker..

I hear what you are saying. What I'm unclear on is whether the league did in fact hold franchises and then resell them in these cases. It seems possible, particularly since they said they wouldn't issue new ones until all the existing ones were disposed of, sold, transferred, etc. While I understand the part about players moving, etc., my interest is actually in the technicalities of the paper transactions themselves, what really occurred or didn't. I don't know where to research this, maybe the HOF would have something?

Bob Carroll..

The best place to look is probably the newspapers of the cities involved at the time the franchise whatever was going on. That would seem to be 1929 Orange and 1932 Boston. Joe Horrigan who wrote the work on franchises had access to everything in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the time because he was the Hall's resident historian. As far as the Yanks-Texans-Colts, that is exactly what happened as I said.

I suppose it's possible that Bert Bell took the piece of paper with "New York Yanks" on it, scratched that out and wrote in "Dallas Texans." Then a year later, on the same piece of paper, he scratched out "Dallas Texans" and wrote in "Baltimore Colts." I don't really know to what lengths Bell would have gone to save two sheets of paper. Of course, every penny counts.

Maybe some lawyer might tell us this: if a company takes a franchise back from someone, then later issues it to someone new but avoids printing up a new copy -- is it considered a "new" franchise or a continuation of the old? If new bills run up by the old franchise holder suddenly surface, is the new franchise holder responsible even though he's in a new city and had no contact with the old franchise holder?

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