The 1941 American Football League season was the second season of the third American Football League. After deeming the 1940 season to be a success, the league made overtures of expansion, even going to the point of having a press conference to announce the addition of new teams (July), but when the press conference was held, the Boston Bears had withdrawn from the league and the new Detroit franchise deferred entry for the 1942 season (interests representing Philadelphia and Baltimore also applied for membership and were denied).[1]

The New York Yankees were sold to promoter and agent Douglas Hertz in January; by mid-summer, the AFL revoked the franchise in light of controversies involving Hertz’s finances. A syndicate headed by William Cox was awarded the franchise in August, but Hertz kept the name for his new independent team (which later in the season became a traveling team in the American Association). Cox and the new owners of the AFL franchise redubbed the team the Americans. In Buffalo, a less contentious change of ownership resulted in the Indians becoming the Tigers.[1]

The Columbus Bullies successfully defended their 1940 AFL championship. Their 5-1-2 record edged the 5-2-1 of the Americans and the 4-3-1 of the Milwaukee Chiefs.[2]

At the beginning of the 1941 season, the Bullies accepted a challenge from the defending Western Interprovincial Football Union champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers for a three-game series; the Bombers had been banned from Grey Cup contention that year due to rules discrepancies between the WIFU and the other organizations playing Canadian football at the time. The Bullies and Blue Bombers played three games, at least partially by Canadian rules (as one of the games, the deciding third game, has Winnipeg's final score as 1 point, which is not possible in the American game). Columbus won the series, 2-1; Winnipeg won the first game 19-12, but Columbus won the next two, 6-0 and 31-1.

Final standings Edit

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pct.= Winning Percentage, PF = Points for, AP = Points against

Columbus Bullies 512.83314255
New York Americans 521.71411673
Milwaukee Chiefs 431.57110584
Buffalo Tigers 260.25072172
Cincinnati Bengals 152.16769120

1941 All-League TeamEdit

The league's coaches selected the all-league team[3]:

1941 AFL All-League Teams[3]
Position First Team Second Team
End Earl Ohlgren, Milwaukee Wayland Becker, Columbus
Joe Kruse, Cincinnati Len Thom, Columbus
Tackle Alec Shellogg, Buffalo Ralph Niehaus, Columbus
Bob Eckl, Milwaukee Nick Drahos, New York
Guard Ted Livinston, Columbus Merle Larson, Milwaukee
Len Akin, Milwaukee Tom Byrd, New York
Center Paul Humphrey, Milwaukee Nick Padgen, Columbus
Quarterback Bob Davis, Columbus, QB Jack Hinkle, New York
Halfback Charley Armstrong, New York, HB Nelson Peterson, Columbus
Bill McGannon, Cincinnati, HB Gene Tornquist, Cincinnati
Fullback John Kimbrough, New York, FB Howie Weiss, Milwaukee

After the 1941 season Edit

Precisely one week after the last regular season AFL game --- Sunday, December 7, 1941 --- Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese military forces. The euphoria of a successful season gave way to the realization that the military demands of the American participation in World War II would put the continued success of the AFL (and the NFL, for that matter) into question. As both major football leagues were losing personnel to military service, both made plans for a 1942 season (the AFL as a six team loop with a new Detroit franchise).[2] Ironically, the NFL came close to suspending operations,[1] but continued as a ten-team league, but on September 2, 1942, the AFL suspended operations “until the end of the war.”[2] AFL president William Cox announced the suspension, stating “We do not have the time to go into the football business this fall. I want to stress that there is no financial problem involved. Each team definitely has enough finances to continue.”

The league did not return after the end of World War II. In 1946, a minor league, the American Association, appropriated the American Football League name for itself, and the All America Football Conference replaced the suspended league as the primary rival of the National Football League.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn, Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (HarperCollins 1999) ISBN 0-060-39232-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 George Gipe, The Great American Sports Book (Doubleday 1978) ISBN 0-385-13091-0
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gill, Bob (1983). "The Best of the Rest, Part 2". The Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 5 (12). Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  4. Enciclopedia del football italiano - 1941 AFL season

See also Edit

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