Washington Senators (NFL)


Washington Senators (NFL)

Washington Senators, also referred to as the Pros or Washington Pros, was a professional football club from Washington, D.C.. The team played in the American Professional Football League (now the National Football League) during the 1921 season. The Senators' colors were blue and white, and the team played and practiced at American League Park.

Formation

The Senators were formed specifically for the 1921 APFA season. Officials from the Washington Professional Football Club met at the Arlington Hotel on May 19, 1921 to finalize plans for the team, then referred to as the Washington Pros. The Washington Post reported that the team had already signed men named Mackert, Van Brocklin, Harry Harris (West Virginia), Henry and Whalen, along with Jack Sullivan (Georgetown). Sullivan was the only man to play in an APFA game.

Capt. Tim Jordan was appointed the team's business manager, and the squad was coached by former Georgetown star Jack E. Hegarty.

1921 Season

† - Does not include the forfeit by the Rochester Jeffersons that is not officially recognized by the NFL

The Senators played a then-full 11-game schedule, but only four against other APFA squads. Scheduled home opponents were the Canton Bulldogs, Norfolk Football Club, Buffalo Pros, Metropolitan A.C., of New York, Akron Professionals, Philadelphia A.C., Richmond A.C and Rochester Ramblers - although it is unclear which games were in fact ultimately played.

There is evidence that the first game of the season was played on October 9, with games running every Sunday until the end of the calendar year.

Benny Boynton was involved in all three Senator touchdowns that were scored in APFA contests, throwing for two and running in the third.

Sunday, 10/09: Washington 33, Wilmington 0

Washington debuted with a decisive victory over the Wilmington Collegians. Bullets Watson played quarterback, and Sullivan led the team with two touchdowns, followed by Mackert, Watson and Leighty with one each.

Washington 20, Syracuse 7

The date unknown, Washington did defeat a Syracuse club 20-7.

Sunday, 10/23: Washington vs. Quaker Eleven

The Quaker Eleven was based out of Holmesburg, PA, and was made up of former Penn Sate, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Swarthmore, Carlisle, Lafayette and other college stars. "The Washington Post" stated that the team "holds the championship of Philadelphia, and, from all reports, will cause the locals a great deal of trouble."

unday, 11/06: Norfolk at Washington

The November 6 game was originally supposed to be against Akron Silents, but after the Ohio club was unable to play due to injuries, Norfolk was found as a replacement.

unday, 11/20: Clarksburg at Washington

Harry Courtney, a left-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators baseball club, signed with the football Senators for their November 20 against Clarksburg (West Virginia). When the owner of the baseball Senators, Clark Griffith, found out about his starter's moonlighting, he ordered Courtney to stop playing football or risk finding himself without a job in baseball. Indeed, Courtney was no longer with the football club later in the season, and he continued to play baseball.

unday, 11/27: Canton 15 at Washington 0"'

The Senators' APFA debut did not occur until November 27 when they faced the Canton Bulldogs. Canton boasted four former All-Americans in end Bob Higgins (Penn State), Pete Henty, High West and Pie Way, and came into Washington with a reputation was one of the nation's premier clubs. Washington came into the game with a weight advantage - Washington's line tipped the scales at 189 against Canton's 185, while the backs registered at 171 to the Bulldogs' 168. Still, Canton was known for its speed, and the feeling was that this game was Washington's big chance to show that it was a force to be taken seriously nationally. The game received a relatively large amount of hype in the local papers. "The Washington Post" previewed the match-up:

"The game takes on an aspect of a championship contest. Canton, one of the best teams in the middle West, and Washington, the best team in the south Atlantic, will win an intersection title with a victory. It would not be surprising to see the winner actively engaged in the final race for national honors."

Senators head coach Jack Hegerty signed three former Canton players in an effort to tip the odds. Former Georgia Tech star Joe Guyon, Johnny Gilroy - billed by "The Washington Post" as "the greatest open field backfield runner Georgetown university ever had", and Carlisle product Pete Calac. The plan was to have the men come off the bench and provide support to the already sturdy starting eleven.

Charging just $1.00 for general admission approximately 4,000 showed up to American League Field Canton shutout Washington, 15-0.

unday, 12/04: Rochester at Washington

Washington was originally scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Collegians, but when that game fell apart, Capt. Jordan substituted the Rochester Jeffersons. Due to the field being covered with snow, Rochester's manager forfeited the game rather than risk injury to his players.

The contract between the two teams stated that if there was a dispute as to the condition of the field, the decision would belong to the home team. Washington was willing to play the game, not wanting to disappoint the 400 or so fans that had showed up. After forty minutes of arguing, the game was awarded to Washington, by the score of 1-0.

However, the Senators were required to pay a $800 guaranteed fee to the Jeffersons for showing up regardless of whether the contest happened or not. Washington never paid, as it decided to immediately leave the APFA after the season anyway. As a result of the fine remaining unpaid, the NFL did record the game as a victory, and does not acknowledge the game in its record book.

unday, 12/11: Washington 7 at Cleveland 0

The Senators recorded their first APFA victory on December 11 against the Cleveland Indians, 7-0, before a reported 5,000 spectators.

unday, 12/18: Canton 28 at Washington 14

Tim Jordan landed a rematch with the Canton Bulldogs, and was determined to put up a better fight. Washington reached an agreement with Penn State All-American quarterback Gene Killinger to play for the Senators, hoping that one of the premier collegiate players would be enough to tip the scales.

At the last moment, Killinger not only pulled out of his deal with the Senators, but also signed with the Bulldogs. Before around 6,000 fans, the Senators again fell to the Bulldogs.

Washington found themselves in an early 14-0 hole, after a long Killinger pass caught the Senators by surprise, and a poor Boynton punt gave Canton an easy chance to push in their second touchdown. Washington dug in, and evened the score after two long drives that ended with a Hudson touchdown reception and a Boynton touchdown run. The game remained tied late into the game, with the Senators holding possession with just a few minutes left in the game. But Washington's Vidal fumbled the ball, and Canton was able to march down the field to take the lead. After the kickoff, the Bulldogs intercepted the first Washington pass and returned it for the final touchdown.

Monday, 12/26: All-Stars at Washington

On December 26, 1921, the Senators were scheduled to play a team of All-Stars at American League Park. "The Washington Post" produced a preview of the match-up, which read as follows:

PROS WILL BATTLE ALL-STARS TODAY

LINE-UP OF TEAMS:IN GAME AT PARK TODAY

Washington Position All Stars

Patterson........L. E...........Gainey

Smeach...........L. T.........Sullivan

MacDonald........L. G..........Boetler

Crouch...........Center.........Bailey

Germley..........R. G.....P. MacCarthy

Van Meter........R. T...........Taylor

D. McCarthy......R. E...........Kaplan

Boynton..........Q. B...........Harris

Watson.........L. H. B.........Carroll

Hudson.........R. H. B.........McBride

Vidal............F. B..........Mackert

Place-American League park. Time

-2:30 p. m. Referee-Metsler (Spring-

field). Umpire - Apple (Michigan).

Field judge-Sutton (G. W. U.), Head

lineman-Towers (Mohawk A. O.).

:Time of quarters-15 minutes))

"Washington football fandom is expected to turn out in thousands this afternoon to witness the big All-Stars-Washington Senators clash at American League park, which begins at 2:30 o'clock. Many members of the Mercurys, Knickerbockers and other independent elevens will perform for the All-Stars."

"Manager Bob Chambers, of the All-Stars, has been burning the wires in the past few days endeavoring to secure the services of Bailey, all-American center in 1916 at West Virginia university. He has received no definite word from his star, but stated last night that there seems to be nothing that would prevent the appearance of the Mountaineer."

Boynton Will Play

"Benny Boynton and Gene Vidal, the two bright lights of last Sunday's matinee, will again prance for the populace. Thousands enjoyed every minute of last Sunday's game just because Boynton and Vidal exhibited exceptional football ability. The forward passing of Boynton opened the eyes of local athletic coaches to the great possibilities of the aerial attack."

"Of the Mercurys, those who will most likely get into the game as regulars are Sullivan and Taylor, tackles; Gainey, end, and Girardi, halfback. Four Knicks who will get the call are Jenkins, Carroll and cox, backfield men, and Boetler, guard. McBride, of the Dreadnaughts; Southern, of the Quantico Marines, and four former Washington pros will play for the All-Stars."

"Maokert and Harris, two of the most popular stars who have performed here for some time, will be seen in the quarterback and fullback positions, respectively, for the All-Stars. Sam Kaplan and Frank McCarthy, with the Senators in the early part of the season, will battle their old mates as All-Star linemen."

1921 Roster

This lists all men who played for the Senators in the APFA games:
* Ahern, Dan - T
* Anderson, Alec - G, Georgetown
* Beyers, Geogre - WB
* Bleier, Johnny - WB
* Boynton, Benny - TB
* Calac, Pete - FB, Carlisle
* Coster, Joe - T
* Crouch, Billy - C, North Carolina State
* Dowrick, Perry - FB
* Gerardi, Patsy - E
* Gilroy, Johnny - TB, Georgetown
* Gormley, Tom - G
* Guyon, Joe - WB
* Hudson, Johnnie - WB
* Kaplan, Sam - E
* Leighty, Dutch - BB
* Litkus, Red - T
* Livers, Mickey - FB
* McCarthy, Don - E, Georgetown
* McDonald, Cy - G
* Patterson, Gordon - E
* Smeach, Metz - T
* Sullivan, Jack - FB, Georgetown
* Turner, Buff - T
* Turner, Sam - G
* Unitas, Pong - G
* Van Meter, Ed - G
* Vidal, Gene - FB
* Watson, Bullets - BB

Other players:
* Ahearn
* Courtney, Harry
* Mackert

1922 and Beyond

The Senators would leave the AFPA following the 1921 season. Only three of the Senators (Benny Boynton, Pete Calac and Joe Guyon) would play in the NFL following the 1921 season.

Under the leadership of Tim Jordan, the club did continue to function in the 1922 season as the Washington Football Club. They lost their home opener to the Akron Indians 6-0, and later to the Toledo Maroons 14-0. They were scheduled to play the Pennsylvania Quakers, but had to settle for the Chester Shipbuilding eleven after the Philadelphia club canceled. After nearly a month-long layoff, they hosted the APFA champion, and their old nemesis, the Canton Bulldogs. Canton was determined to keep their unbeaten record unblemished, and started their regular unit against the Washingtonians.

It appears 1922 was the final season for the Senators.

References

*
*
* PROS WILL BATTLE ALL-STARS TODAY :LINE-UP OF TEAMS IN GAME AT PARK TODAY Boynton Will Play.. (1921, December 26). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 10. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 191017012).
* PRO FOOTBALL MEN TO COMPLETE PLANS. (1921, May 19). The Washington Post (1877-1954),3. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 195262732).
* PRO FOOTBALL TEAMS WILL BE SEEN HERE. (1921, May 20). The Washington Post (1877-1954),2. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 195264962).
* GRIFF ORDERS COURTNEY TO CUT OUT FOOTBALL. (1921, November 27). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 22. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 284298722).
* PROS WILL PLAY QUAKER ELEVEN. (1921, October 19). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 16. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 284207252).
* STALLINGS' ROCHESTER GRID SQUAD TO PLAY LOCAL TEAM. (1921, August 17). The Washington Post (1877-1954),12. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 195438542).
* CANTON BULLDOGS PLAY HERE SUNDAY. (1921, November 23). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 19. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 190963392).
* ALL-AMERICANS WITH BULLDOGS. (1921, November 24). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 14. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 224348812).
* DISTRICT PROS HEAVIEST TEAM. (1921, November 25). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 12. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 284292502).
* NAME LINE-UPS FOR PRO GAME. (1921, November 26). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 14. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 284295732).
* ALL-AMERICAN STARS TO PLAY HERE TODAY :Joe Guyon May Play.. (1921, November 27). The Washington Post (1877-1954),p. 23. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1991) database. (Document ID: 284298922).


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