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Thread: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Friday March 24, 1961

    “Wranglers sign Lowe and Keyes” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Associate General Manager John Harland released a statement Thursday afternoon detailing the addition of two players for foreseeable future. The Wranglers signed running back Paul Lowe to a six year extension keeping him in Wranglers colors through the 1966 season. Lowe, who bulldozed his way for 1,027 yards in 14 starts last season, looks to be in fantastic shape and is eager for the start of training at the end of July. Lowe had 15 total touchdowns last season and will make an excellent counterpart to the tough running rookie fullback Keith Lincoln. Joining Lowe, Lincoln, and Kentucky rookie Calvin Bird in the backfield is former University of San Diego speedster Bob Keyes. Keyes made four appearances with the Oakland Raiders last season and looks to challenge for a special teams spot. Keyes was a junior college All American at Antelope Valley Junior College before enrolling at USD.

    Friday March 31, 1961 – St. Louis Globe-Democrat (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The St. Louis Globe-Democrat March 31, 1961 page 2C)

    “ABC Will Again Telecast All AFL Games This Fall” – NEW YORK (AP) American Football League games will be telecast exclusively again this year by the American Broadcasting Company’s TV network. The renewal was announced jointly Thursday by Thomas W. Moore, ABC vice president of television programming, in New York, and AFL Commissioner Joe Foss in Dallas. Under the contract, ABC will telecast the games on 15 Sundays, starting Sept. 10, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, and the championship playoff game on a date to be set. Following the pattern of their first contract last year, two games will be telecast each Sunday-one in the east and one in the west. There will only be one game telecast on Thanksgiving Day. Last year the network paid the league $2,125,000 for the rights, and the receipts were shared equally by the eight clubs. Terms were not disclosed for this year’s renewal, but it was believed to call for a 10 percent increase. This would bring the total of $2,337,500. Each club would receive $292,188 under the League’s equal share policy. The eight clubs are: East – Houston Oilers, Divisional and League Champions; New York Jets; Boston Patriots; and the Buffalo Bills. West – Kansas City Chiefs, last year’s Western Division Champions; Arizona Wranglers, who operated in Los Angeles last year; Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday April 12, 1961

    “Allen signs – final piece of puzzle laid down” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Washington Huskies all star gridders talent, Chuck Allen, inked himself into the pages of Wranglers history yesterday afternoon. Allen signed a three year deal with the Phoenix based ball club. Mr. Allen was an all conference and all-coast offensive guard for the Huskies. He was also a force at inside linebacker for the ’59 and ‘60 Rose Bowl champions. “He played with fierce determination at the inside linebacker position as well as playing offensive guard,” commented associate GM John Harland Tuesday evening. Gilman, who was also in attendance, noted that….”Allen is one of our more strategic draft moves.” When asked where the Huskies star collegiate player will land on the field, Harland responded, “Butler and Champion are eager to see him compete for a starting job on the defensive side of the ball.” In addition to the signing of Allen, the Wranglers added another fullback to its roster. Walter Kelly, who played football at Tulane during his college years, is coming off a two year enlistment with the United States Marine Corps. At 6’2” 210 pounds, the ‘rookie’ fullback is a bruising blocker and looks to compete with Rookies Keith Lincoln and Bob Brooks for playing time at the that position. The Wranglers now have a total roster count of 52 players and are patiently waiting for the start of training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. University officials at Arizona State College at Flagstaff have granted permission to the Arizona Wranglers to use its athletic facilities for the ’61 Wranglers pre-season practice which begins July 25th.

    COACHES: Wayne Robinson (Offensive Coordinator); Bob Williams (QBs); Buddy Young (Offensive Backs); Joe Madro (OL); Dan Garza (WR/TE)
    Quarterbacks: Jack Kemp, Hunter Enis
    Offensive Backs: Paul Lowe, Bob Keyes, Calvin Bird, Keith Lincoln, Bob Brooks, Walter Kelly
    Offensive Ends: Don Norton; Dave Kocourek, Bo Roberson, Bob Scarpitto, Luther Hayes
    Howard Clark, Jacque Mackinnon, Kyle Brandon
    Offensive Line: Ernie Wright, Ron Mix, Sam Deluca, Gene Selawski, Sherman Plunkett, Billy Wilson, Orlando Ferrante, Ernie Barnes, Willie Hector, Don Rogers, George Belotti

    COACHES: Frank Butler (Defensive Coordinator); Thurman McGraw (DL); Jim Champion (LBs); Jack Faulkner (DBs)
    Defensive Line: Ron Nery, Bill Hudson, Ernie Ladd, Earl Faison, Maury Schleicher, Jeff Lakin, Henry Schmidt, Jay Riser
    Linebackers: Chuck Allen, Emil Karas, Jerry Fields, Bob Laraba, Jackie Simpson, Mike Halkett
    Defensive Backs: Dick Harris, Claude Gibson, Charlie McNeil, Bob Zeman, George Blair, Neil Hickford, Aaron Willis, Bud Whitehead

    COACH: Harvey Johnson (Special Teams Coordinator)
    Kickers: Greg Ellsworth
    Punters: Hunter Smith, Kevin Sherman
    Last edited by CATLEW2002; 02-18-2021 at 12:33 AM.

  3. #78
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Tuesday May 2, 1961 – The Times Record (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Times Record, Troy, New York May 2, 1961 page 16)

    “Patriots, Jets will open AFL Campaign” – Tucson, AZ (AP) The 1961 American Football League schedule, released yesterday by Commissioner Joe Foss, has the Boston Patriots and New York Jets opening the season Sept. 9 at Boston. The same night Oakland’s Raiders play at Houston against the Oilers, but the time zone differential makes Boston the ’61 starting point. Other openers have Denver at Buffalo Sunday Sept 10, and the Arizona Wranglers at Kansas City the same day. The teams again play a double round-robin schedule each team playing the other twice on a home-and-home basis. Each team has one idle weekend.

    “Wranglers Schedule released” – Bobby Hebert, Arizona Daily Star

    The Arizona Wranglers are set to play 7 home games at Sun Devil Stadium this fall. The team will start the ’61 campaign on the road in Kansas City. Below is the rest of the 1961 schedule for the Phoenix based AFL ball club. Season tickets and single game tickets are on sale now.

    Sunday Sept 10 – Arizona @ Kansas City
    Sunday Sept 17 – Oakland @ Arizona
    Sunday Sept 24 – Houston @ Arizona
    Saturday Sept 30 – Arizona @ Buffalo
    Saturday Oct 7 – Arizona @ Boston
    Sunday Oct 15 – Arizona @ New York
    Sunday Oct 22 – Arizona @ Oakland
    Sunday Oct 29 – Denver @ Arizona
    Sunday November 5 – New York @ Arizona
    Sunday November 12 – Arizona @ Denver
    Sunday November 19 – Kansas City @ Arizona
    Sunday December 3 – Arizona @ Houston
    Sunday December 10 – Buffalo @ Arizona
    Sunday December 17 – Boston @ Arizona

  4. #79
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday May 3, 1961 – “Construction Begins in Glendale” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    After numerous setbacks involving zoning and city permits, Wranglers principle owner Edward Wright announced Tuesday night that construction will begin. “We will break ground tomorrow afternoon.” Wright Brothers Construction will begin phase one on Wednesday. The limited delay will push the stadium build a few months past the August 1962 deadline. “We are already in contact with Arizona State University officials about extending our contract through the 1962 season,” continued Mr. Wright. In addition, He also noted that ticket sales are doing very well…”We’ve already received over 10,000 reservations for season tickets.” This is in line with Commissioner Joe Foss’ financial report. Mr. Foss noted from Boston, during a recent visit, that ticket sales were running fifty percent ahead of last year without a formal campaign begin launched. The 10 percent increase in television was another item which is going to help the new league Foss believed. Finally, Mr. Wright mentioned that he is very excited for his first official owners meeting set to take place in Buffalo, New York, June 22-23, “I am looking forward to updating the progress of our Arizona venture. I am determined to make our organization succeed here in Phoenix and make it known that is was the right relocation choice. San Diego will get its ball club soon enough……”

    Friday May 12, 1961

    “Gilman heading back to Los Angeles” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    In a surprising turn of events Wranglers lead man, Sid Gilman, has departed for greener pastures. “Gilman has been offered and accepted a coaching position with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League,” stated Public Relations Director Tom Daily. “He will assume the duties of Head Coach replacing Jimmy David, who was fired last week after a dismal 4-8 1960 gridiron campaign.” Due to the abrupt shifting of the guard Wranglers owner Ed Wright, who was not immediately available for comment, instructed Mr. Daily to meet with press and deliver the news. When asked who would fill the coaching vacancy, he pointed out that Offensive Coordinator Wayne Robinson will take over head coaching duties for the ‘61 season. Robinson spent the last two years north of the border coaching the British Columbia Lions of the WIFU. There he compiled a 14-16-2 record. Gilman’s departure also forced a move within the Wranglers front office as John Harland was immediately promoted to General Manager effective May 12. Joining Robinson and Harland with a new organizational title is Quarterbacks Coach Bob Williams. He will now assume the role as Offensive Coordinator. Williams’ career in the NFL spanned 9 years, 2 with the San Diego Chargers and 7 with Baltimore. He threw for 7,185 yards and 52 touchdowns. His best season at the helm came in 1951 when he threw for 2,066 yards and 9 touchdowns. Bob began his coaching career in 1960 with the then Los Angeles Chargers. “Now the only left is the need for a new Quarterbacks Coach……some names have been tossed around but nothing has been decided upon yet,” mentioned Wayne Robinson, who made an appearance near the end of the press conference. “I am honored to step in and take over duties as they are assigned. We wish Sid all the best with his new venture in back in Los Angeles. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish here in Arizona and try to improve upon last year’s 8-6 finish. I have some big shoes to fill but am confident I can get the job done.”

  5. #80
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Tuesday May 23, 1961

    “Wranglers add two from BIG 10” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Wranglers lead man Wayne Robinson revealed on Monday that Neenah, Wisconsin native Tom ‘Big Dog’ Wiesner has signed a one year contract with the team. Wiesner lettered three years at the University of Wisconsin, was a co-captain, and the most valuable player of 1960. Robinson mentioned that the versatile player, who played fullback and linebacker, would join the team in July and his roll with the organization has yet to be determined. The second roster addition is Fighting Illini gridder Cliff Roberts. Roberts, a 260 pound offensive tackle, was named to the All-Big Ten team and an honorable mention All-American with the University of Illinois. “He will compete for a position our line….whether it is guard or tackle remains to be seen. He will give us some depth at both positions,” stated a pleased Coach Robinson. Roughly four hours after the introduction of the new roster additions, GM John Harland instructed Public Relations Director, Tom Daily, to put together a press release concerning a Wranglers staffing addition. The communication detailed the hiring of a new quarterbacks coach. Retired National Football League signal caller, Bob Waterfield has accepted a position with organization. Waterfield’s career spanned 15 years, all with the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, which produced 12,687 yards passing and 104 touchdowns. He started 53 games with the Rams and appeared in 5 championship games throughout a decade and a half of service. Waterfield’s best season came in 1949 when tossed the pigskin for 2,168 yards and 17 touchdowns.

    Saturday May 27, 1961

    “Wranglers add quarterback, defensive end to roster” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    In a brief communication with The Arizona Republic, the Wranglers front office announced the addition of third quarterback to the roster. The new signal caller, Robert Lee Duty, is expected to challenge Hunter Enis for a backup role to incumbent starter Jack Kemp. Duty played his collegiate ball at North Texas. Joining Robert Lee as a new member of the AFL organization is Youngstown State end Larry Jordan. At 6’6” 230 lbs Jordan was a force on the Penguins defensive line. The two additions set the Wranglers roster count at 56 heading in the month of June. General Manager John Harland also noted that all coaching and front office positions have been set for the upcoming gridiron season. He is extremely confident there will be no more changes.

    1961: Arizona Wranglers owners/Front Office/Coaching Positions
    OWNER: Edward Wright (The Wright Association)
    Chairman of the Board : Edward Wright
    Vice Chairman of the Board: James Wright

    General Manager: John Harland
    President of Football Operations: Edwin Wright
    Director of Player Personnel: Larry Wright
    Chief Operations Officer: Thomas Schrader
    Public Relations Director: Thomas 'Tom' Daily

    Director of Scouting: Malcolm McKenzie
    Assistant Director-Pro Scouting: Gene Roberts
    Assistant Director-College Scouting: John Green

    Head Coach: Wayne Robinson
    Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks: Bob Waterfield
    Offensive Coordinator: Bob Williams
    Offensive Backs Coach (RB/FB): Buddy Young
    Offensive Line Coach: Joe Madro
    WR/TE Coach: Dan Garza
    Defensive Coordinator: Frank Butler
    Defensive Line Coach: Thurman McGraw
    Linebackers Coach: Jim Champion
    Defensive Backs Coach: Jack Faulkner
    Special Teams Coordinator: Harvey Johnson

    Medical Staff
    Team Physician: Dr. Harold Warrenton Jr.

  6. #81
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    American Football League Report – June 1961

    Friday June 16, 1961 – Alabama Tribune (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from Alabama Tribune, Montgomery, Alabama June 16, 1961 page 7)

    “American Football League to Meet In Buffalo, June 22-23” – Buffalo, N.Y (UPI) Commissioner Joe Foss and American Football League owners will hold an executive committee meeting here June 22-23 in conjunction with the first All-American Graduation Bowl game to be played in War Memorial Stadium. It will mark the first top-level conference in Buffalo since the nation’s second professional football loop was found in the fall of 1959. Ralph C. Wilson Jr., Detroit trucking magnate who owns the Buffalo Bills will be the host to the AFL Brass during the two day meeting climaxed by the All-American bowl contest on Friday night, June 23. The event, destined to become an annual summer sports spectacular here, features ranking collegians from the eastern and western parts of American. The AFL officials plan to discuss suggested rule changes and a possible revision in the sudden death set up the championship playoffs.

    Friday June 23, 1961 – The Daily Chronicle (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Daily Chronicle, Centralia, Washington June 23, 1961 Page 4)

    “AFL Hear Report on Draft Proposal” – Buffalo, N.Y.(UPI) The executive committee of the American Football League heard an encouraging version of the draft battle with the National League on Thursday from Commissioner Joe Foss.

    Sunday June 25, 1961 – The Yuma Daily Sun (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Yuma Daily Sun, Yuma, Arizona June 25 1961 page 11)

    “Suit against Rival NFL” – Buffalo, N.Y. (UPI) The American Football League has no intention of dropping its $10.3 million anti-trust lawsuit against the rival National Football League, according to Commissioner Joe Foss. Foss, bristling at reports that he has sought to reach a settlement with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, told AFL club owners at the windup of their League meeting on Friday that “we are pressing ahead” and the suit is scheduled for a hearing on January 8.

  7. #82
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    1961 Arizona Wranglers training camp preview – July 10, 1961

    The Arizona Wranglers officially open training camp on July 25 at Arizona State College at Flagstaff. However, Coaches, quarterbacks and offensive ends are schedule to arrive a week early July 18. Wranglers lead man Wayne Robinson said this year’s camp will be unique for the simple fact these player will be training at 6,909’ above sea level as opposed to last year’s location at Chapman College, which is only 190’ above sea level. “It will be a test,” mentioned Robinson when the press caught up with him. “Keep in mind we have 34 rookies reporting to camp this year and most our veterans have only played one or two years….welcome to the AFL,” he continued with a smile. Robinson also noted that he is particularly excited about two rookies, Washington State alumni Keith Lincoln and Grambling State Tigers monster defensive standout Ernie Ladd. “Both these gentleman have high expectations and may battle for AFL rookie of the year honors,” added Robinson. Coach Robinson said he expects the organization to ink some more pacts, as they are sometimes referred to as, before the start of camp. He figures roughly 64 to 66 players will arrive in Flagstaff to battle for roster spots. The Wrangler pre-season schedule has also finally been set. Robinson said his team would have three home games before training camp wraps up on September 5.

    Sunday August 6 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Houston Oilers
    Friday August 18 at Honolulu Stadium against the Houston Oilers
    Sunday August 27 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Oakland Raiders
    Sunday September 3 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs

    Wednesday July 26, 1961

    “Wranglers Open Grid Drills at Flagstaff” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    The Arizona Wranglers, who finished second in the Western Division – one game shy of the title in 1960, officially opened training in Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday. “A new home town…with new fans eager to cheer us on to the American League Championship is pretty exciting,” commented Head Coach Wayne Robinson Tuesday night from Flagstaff. “The facilities here are fantastic. Our staff and some of our players have already been here a week. The local hospitality has been wonderful.” Coach Robinson then delivered some tough talk for the 66 players that have arrived hopeful to secure a roster spot, “We except to start cutting in the first two or three days of drills.” He also noted that for the first portion of camp they will be running double drill sessions through Friday evening. “We have roughly 45 first timers in camp and only 21 veterans. That’s going to going to make it tough to secure the 43 available spots by September 5.” Coach Robinson is referring to the successful petition made by principle owner Edward Wright to the AFL back on June 22 to increase last year’s roster limit from 33 players to 43. The league voted 6-2 to approve the measure. The limit does not include the number of player that can be retained on the practice squad. Coach Robinson also mentioned that rookies Tom Wiesner, a running back, and Jim Fraser, a linebacker, both from the University of Wisconsin, and Bob Keyes, a back from University of San Diego, showed promise during the first day on the turf. Day one, however, was not without its downside as rookie guard Dan Ficca left camp Tuesday evening without giving a reason. “And Just like that…our first day and we are down to sixty-five hopefuls.” In other news, Public Relations Director Tom Daily announced that the Wranglers will be holding a ‘meet and greet’ event on Saturday outside Lumberjack Stadium. Veterans Jack Kemp, Paul Lowe and Ron Nery will be available for autographs and will be giving out free bottles of Coca-Cola from 1pm to 7pm Saturday afternoon- evening.
    Last edited by CATLEW2002; 02-25-2021 at 01:12 AM.

  8. #83
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday August 2, 1961

    “Wranglers hold will full scrimmage this week” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Coach Robinson and his Arizona Wranglers will hold their first full scrimmage of the week on Thursday in preparations for the match up against the Houston Oilers this weekend. The scrimmage will take place at Lumberjack stadium. The club held goal line scrimmages yesterday as warm up for Thursday’s big affair. Robinson pointed out that end Dave Kocourek and tackle Ron Mix have been having a great week of practice. The front office also announced the departure of rookie end Charlie Dumas. Dumas a University of Southern California track star was the first man to clear 7’ in the high jump doing so on June 29, 1956. Joining Dumas in the AFL unemployment line are veteran gridders Royce Womble and Art Gob. Womble, who hauled in 27 receptions for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, played six years with the Baltimore Colts from 1954 to 1959 before arriving in Los Angeles. Womble has carried the ball 119 times for 381 yards and been on the receiving end of 93 receptions for 902 yards during his 7 year career. Defensive end Art Gob played in 5 games with the Washington Federals in 1959 and saw limited action with the team in 1960 before arriving in Arizona. Other notable cuts include offense end Hilliard Hill, guard Phil Debosky and linebacker Bruce Hake. The remaining 59 man squad concentrated on goal line offense, running in the morning and passing in the afternoon.

    Wranglers training camp practice report, Friday August 4, 1961 – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    The Arizona Wranglers finished up an intense week of practice under the watchful eyes of ‘Lead Wrangler’ Wayne Robinson. His crew completed double drill sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as scrimmages Tuesday and Thursday. This is all in preparation for their first preseason match up this weekend. The Wranglers will meet the Houston Oilers at Sun Devil Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff has been set at 1 PM; a crowd of 12,000 is expected to turn out for the 1961 pre-season opener. Two of last year’s top AFL’s performers will not suit up for the matchup. Starting signal caller Jack Kemp and bruising running back Paul Lowe will attend as sideline spectators. Both are nursing some minor bumps and bruises. Joining them on the sidelines are Howard Clark, who is still recovering from an off season knee operation, Don Norton and Willie Hector. Both have been down with the flu.

  9. #84
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Monday August 7, 1961

    “Wranglers ride past Oilers 28-17” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    The Arizona Wranglers dazzled the 13,084 fans in attendance Sunday afternoon with a solid 28-17 victory over the defending AFL Champion Houston Oilers. Wranglers quarterback Hunter Enis passed for one touchdown and ran for another to guide his team to victory. Houston put the ball across the goal line first when quarterback Jacky Lee found a wide open John White for a 26 yard strike. Arizona answered back with a 9 play 67 yards drive to pay dirt on a Hunter Enis 2 yard plunge. Rookie running back Bob Keyes, former University of San Diego speedster, returned a Houston punt 71 yards for a score and sent his Wranglers into the locker room up 14-10. Keyes finished the afternoon with 147 yards of total offense. Houston began the second half in regular season form and recaptured the lead when Charlie Milstead connected up with Willard Dewveall on a brilliant 21 yard pass to the corner of the end zone. Arizona went ahead to stay with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Hunter Enis threw a 24 yard aerial strike to rookie wide out Kyle Brandon. Enis left the game at the end of the third with 154 yards passing on 14 completions. “The kid had an amazing day,” commented QB Coach Bob Waterfield. “Of course Robert had a heck of fourth quarter.” Rookie quarterback Robert Lee Duty completed his first five passes and put six more up on the board for his Wranglers on a wonderfully executed roll out pass to Bo Roberson. Duty went 9 for 12 for 107 yards and one touchdown in a Wranglers dominated fourth quarter. On the defensive side of the ball Coach Robinson praised the entire defensive line and the linebacker play of rookie Chuck Allen.

    Tuesday August 8, 1961 – (portion posted article appeared in Ventura County Star-Free Press – Ventura, California 15 Aug 1961 – pg 10)

    “Wranglers Owner Wright See Pro Gird Profit” – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    Edward Wright, owner of the Arizona Wranglers football team, said he sees a clear road to profit in the 1962 professional football campaign. “We will take a minor hit this season, but will see a climb into the green in ’62.” Wright purchased the team that saw roughly a $900,000 loss in their debut in Loss Angeles last year. With the move to Phoenix he figures to break about even this year and move into the financial win column next year. Wright blames the loss last season on too much competition in Los Angeles. There the previous owner, Barron Hilton, was up against established crowd drawers such as the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, and college football teams like UCLA and Southern California, as well as professional basketball and baseball. In a growing Phoenix metro area with population of roughly 584,000 and Tucson metro area with an additional 235,000 the Wranglers will have the market almost entirely to themselves. “We’ve already sold 11,000 season tickets and should be close to 13,000 before the start of the season,” commented Edward Wright. He estimated that Wranglers games would draw an average of 25,000 fans each this season. “If we hadn’t had the cost of moving, we could break even this fall.” he continued. “Everything is better in Phoenix,” Wright added “In L.A., Mr. Hilton had to pay 10 per cent to the coliseum. In Phoenix, I’ve not only got 2 per cent rent at Sun Devil Stadium but concession rights as well.”

  10. #85
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Thursday August 10, 1961

    “Wranglers Trim Roster” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    The Arizona Wranglers parted ways with two more players Wednesday evening. Public Relations Director, Tom Daily, communicated the roster changes to the Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star. The Wranglers roster has been trimmed down to fifty-seven with the release of rookie halfbacks Henry Bell and Morris Brown.

    Wranglers training camp practice report, Friday August 11, 1961 – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    “It was an extremely tough week of practice,” said a tired looking Coach Robinson Thursday night. “We have fifty-seven men left in camp…..we still have to get down to the designated forty-three that can suit up for game day. Then there is our practice squad. Word is that we will be able to retain thirteen players for, perhaps, the toughest duty of any player on the payroll. Coach Robinson also noted that Offensive Line Coach Joe Madro, has reported that Tackle Ron Mix, who started last week against the Houston Oilers, is nursing a shoulder injury. Mix may not be available for next Friday’s game in Honolulu. Mix’s replacement, Gene Selawski, is also doubtful. Good news for Wranglers fans is that incumbent starter Jack Kemp and offensive end Don Norton are healthy and ready for some game time snaps. Coach Robinson also praised the intensity of the linebacker competition. “We’ve got seven guys battling for 5 roster spots….and boy area they battling. They’ve taken all Coach Champion has thrown their way.”

  11. #86
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday August 16, 1961

    “Wranglers Depart for Hawaii Game” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    The Arizona Wranglers, their last scrimmage of the week behind them, depart Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport today bound for Honolulu and Friday’s game against the Houston Oilers. The Wranglers defeated the Oilers, 28-17, in their pre-season debut here in Phoenix. Lead Wrangler Wayne Robinson put his team through some final drills on Tuesday, working on the teams “weak spots, pass protection, and pass rushing.” It was also communicated that only 43 players are making the trip to the Islands. The team will change planes in Los Angeles before crossing the Pacific Ocean

    Thursday August 17, 1961

    “Airplane Trouble Delays Wranglers” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Coach Robinson’s crew departed today from L.A. roughly twenty-four hours behind schedule because of plane trouble. The chartered airliner that was scheduled to carry them on Wednesday developed a radio malfunction forcing the team to spend the night in Los Angeles. The team switched to a commercial airliner for the flight today. It was an unscheduled delay that was made easier by the kindness of previous owner, Barron Hilton, who put the team up for the night for a ‘very’ limited price. The Wranglers are scheduled to leave LAX today at 7:15 am aboard a United Air Lines for tomorrow’s game against the Houston Oilers. Before departing Phoenix Coach Robinson promised that rookie back Keith Lincoln and end Bo Roberson would see plenty of playing time. “Those two guys are battling hard for a shot to start on opening day and we need to see more out of them on Friday.” On a disappointing note Robinson mentioned that All-League running back Paul Lowe was, again, a healthy scratch and would be joining Mix and Salewki back in Flagstaff nursing his shoulder injury. Robinson fully expects all three men to be ready for their home matchup against the Oakland Raiders on August 27.

    Saturday August 19, 1961

    “Oilers edge Wranglers 17-10” – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    Two of the AFL’s offensive juggernauts met in Honolulu Friday night. However, it was both defenses that stole the show. The Arizona Wranglers mustered up roughly 290 yards of total offense, while the Oilers only managed 240 total yards. After a bruising first quarter it was the Oilers that broke the scoreless tie. George Blanda found Charlie Hennigan for a 21 yard strike. Blanda finished the evening with 163 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Jack Kemp and his Wrangler offense struck back with an 11 play 78 yard drive that ended with a Keith Lincoln 1 yard plunge. Both teams went into the mid game break tied up at 7-7. “It was a crazy first half,” mentioned Coach Robinson after the game. “We could not move the ball and when we did there were yellow flags flying all over. We just made too many mistakes. Honestly, it was Ernie Ladd and the defensive line that kept us in the game.” Ladd, who had 11 tackles and 1 sack, spent most of the evening in the Houston Oilers backfield. The only touchdown of the second half came at the 7:23 mark of the third quarter. Houston’s Mark Johnston stepped in front of a Robert Lee Duty pass intended for Kyle Brandon and rumbled 66 yards for the score. Duty finished his day 5 of 7 for 35 yards and 1 interception. Both teams could only produce field goals in the final quarter. The Wranglers loss evened up their pres-season record at 1-1. Here are your Wranglers stats for the game:

    QB Jack Kemp 10-20, 107 yards; 1 carry, 6 yards
    QB Hunter Enis 6-10, 48 yards; 2 carries, 14 yards
    QB Robert Lee Duty 5-7, 35 yards, 1 INT
    FB Keith Lincoln 12 carries, 43 yards, 1 TD; 6 receptions, 49 yards
    WR Bo Roberson 5 receptions, 60 yards
    DT Ernie Ladd 8 tackles, 3 assists, 1 sack
    DE Ron Nery 7 tackles, 1 sack
    S Charlie McNeill 5 tackles, 1 sack
    Last edited by CATLEW2002; 03-03-2021 at 11:38 AM.

  12. #87
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Sunday August 20, 1961 – (portion posted article appeared in The Marshall News Messenger, Marshall, Texas, Friday August 11, 1961 page 9)

    “AFL Optimistic Despite Losses” Phoenix, AZ (AP) For an organization that lost over $2 million in its first season, the American Football league is indeed optimistic. The league that takes in Kansas City, Buffalo, New York, Denver, Houston, Boston, Oakland and Arizona launches its second campaign September 10. Commissioner Joe Foss says he sees signs of much better business at the gate. He has obtained a television contract paying more money. There should also be a boom in program sales. The old saying “you can’t tell the players without a program” will apply. “Coaches are talking about a 50 percent turnover in personnel,” says Foss. “Most feel like they have a good carryover nucleus of about 20 players. This leaves room for 184 new names – 23 per team. Look at Boston They’ve signed 37 new boys and traded for about five others. That means about 42 of the 65 boys they take into camp will be new names. It is almost the same in Phoenix….new home of the Wranglers. Denver has signed seven new tackles weighing 250 or better, and they want more. It’s a general trend among our teams – in our draft, for instance, linemen outnumbered backs 23 to 9 in our first four rounds.“ As for the owners, they remain less interested in blockers than in customers to watch the blocks, and there again Foss sees favorable turnover. “Two clubs have already sold more season tickets than they did all last year,” he declared. “A third team is about even. Sales are up all over. We feel our whole operation is much stronger. The shift to Phoenix and the ownership adjustments in Oakland and Denver have all strengthened our base,” Foss continued. “Something like that reflects pretty well. Last year at this time all I heard was….Do you think the league will last? Now they ask me about players, about teams, about new rookies – they don’t question our survival like they used to.”

  13. #88
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    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Tuesday August 22, 1961

    “Wranglers Return Home” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Arizona defensive end Ron Nery, who was injured last weekend in Honolulu, is not expected to be ready for the Wranglers next preseason game. In addition, defensive tackle Bill Hudson, who suffered a broken finger in the loss to Houston, is also not expected to be ready for the matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Coach Robinson said he will be looking to Larry Jordan and Henry Schmidt to fill the holes in the line this Sunday. “McGraw told me both of them will be ready for action and are excited to get ‘stuck in’ as he put it.” Coach Robinson also noted that he was quite pleased with his defensive line performance in Friday’s loss to Houston. He praised the play of rookies Ernie Ladd and Earl Faison, “They both had a tremendous evening…with that kind of performance I expect to challenge for the AFL title.” On another note the Wranglers organization lost a potential star to the United States Army. President Kennedy’s military buildup as a result of the Berlin situation this week has left the team with one less linebacker. Wisconsin rookie Jim Fraser was called back into service. Fraser, who was on leave, was scheduled to be discharged from the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, on September 3. However, the current tensions across the Atlantic means he will be in the Army until April 3, 1962. Fraser departed Monday night for Kentucky. He had 3 tackles, and 1 forced fumble in the 17-10 loss to the Oilers. Coach Robinson expected him to content for a roster spot. The loss of Fraser, who was a bid a fond farewell by his teammates Monday night, leaves 56 men in camp to prepare for Sundays match up against the Raiders of Oakland.

    Thursday August 24, 1961

    “Robinson Names Captains for Weekend Matchup” – Bobby Hebert, Arizona Daily Star

    Guard Sam Deluca and defensive tackle Ernie Ladd have been named captains for Sunday’s matchup with the Oakland Raiders at Sun Devil Stadium. The Wranglers, 1-1 in August, will be looking for their second preseason victory. Coach Robinson named the pair co-captains based off their fine play in Honolulu last week. The Team drilled on Wednesday at Lumberjack stadium. A few key pieces to the puzzle were missing, as several players did not suit up. Bob Keyes, Earl Faison, Cliff Roberts, Keith Lincoln, and Jack Kemp were held out of the workout. Robinson mentioned that all five would be ready for the game against Oakland. However, he was quick to point out that Hunter Enis and Robert Lee Duty would see a significant amount of playing time rather than incumbent starter Jack Kemp. “Jack may take the helm for a drive or two but that’s about it. It is such a tight battle between Enis and Duty…..we need to see more.” The Wranglers have yet to lose to the Oakland Raiders, winning their preseason and two regular season matchups last year while stationed in Los Angeles. Wayne Robinson does not seem to concerned about the three game run, “This is a new team in a new town. What was accomplished in Los Angeles last season does not concern me. My focus is on getting our roster down to forty-three players before Sep 5. Of course I always want to win……”

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Monday August 28, 1961

    “Wranglers smash Raiders, 35-7” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    (portion posted article appeared in The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, Monday August 28, 1961 page 31)

    Three Weeks from now the Oakland Raiders must face the Arizona Wranglers again. But next time it’s for real. The rematch prospects didn’t seem bright to Raiders Coach Marty Feldman today after yesterday’s 35 to 7 crushing by the Wranglers in an American Football League exhibition game in Phoenix. A crowd of 14,436 watched Oakland put on a rather inept performance, not making a first down until 9:16 into the second quarter – and then on a penalty. In the first half yesterday the Raiders gained exactly zero yards. They picked up three by passing but had minus three yards rushing. The Raiders offensive line, with the exception of guard Dan Williams, just couldn’t handle the four Wrangler rushers, who presented a fearsome wall. Ernie Ladd and Larry Jordan, in particular, stalled Oakland’s offense. At times the Raiders applied perfect blocks against the pair but couldn’t slow them enough to get a pass away or break a back through the line. “Arizona has size, speed, great execution and fine coaching,” commented Coach Feldman after the defeat. In the opening three minutes, after Oakland was forced to punt, Bob Keyes took Andy MacCord’s kick and raced down the sidelines for a 71 yard touchdown run. Four minutes later the Wranglers added two more points for a 9-0 lead on a safety when Raiders quarterback Nick Papac was buried in the end zone by Earl Faison and Larry Jordan. Less than three minutes later Arizona ran it to 16-0 when a pass interference call gave the Wranglers first and goal on the two. Bob Brooks took it in on the next play. After another Oakland series bogged down, the Wranglers put together their long lone drive of the afternoon, covering 67 yards in 10 plays. Four passes from Hunter Enis ate up most of the ground the young quarterback notched the TD himself on a keeper from one yard out. That made it 23-0 with 2:16 gone in the second period and when the clock read 5:52 gone it was 26-0 on Greg Ellsworth’s 22 yard field goal. That ended the first half scoring, and the third period opened as if the Wranglers were going to get another 26. Robert Lee Duty escaped the clutches of defensive end Jon Jelacic on a first and 10 play, and hit Tom Wiesner with a screen pass that covered 63 yards. That was Arizona’s final TD of the afternoon, although Greg Ellsworth added another three points in the final period with a 20 yard field goal. Duty finished the day 11 of 17 for 158 yards. “He had great game…both men performed well,” stated Coach Robinson after the game. Arizona’s ground game, on the other hand, only produced 68 yards. “Our runners had a tough afternoon from scrimmage,” continued Robinson. Arizona will close out their preseason next weekend against the defending Western Division champion Kansas City Chiefs and Coach Robinson expect it to be a fantastic affair.

  15. #90
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Friday September 1, 1961

    “Brooks to start for Wranglers” – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    Ohio University Rookie fullback Bob Brooks will get the start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The hard charging fullback will take the place of Keith Lincoln, who is still suffering from the lingering affects an ankle sprain during last week’s victory over the Raiders. “We will see how Brooks handles himself…..right now it is a tight battle between Lincoln, Brooks, and Kelly fighting for two roster spots.” Coach Robinson also mentioned that wide outs Bob Scarpitto, Luther Hayes, and Kyle Brandon will see a significant amount of playing time. “With Norton and Roberson all but locking up number one and two roster spots….it’s a battle for the number three slot.” On a side note, in an effort to cut the roster to American Football League limitations, the Wranglers released veteran punter Kevin Sherman. Sherman, who played 7 seasons in the NFL with the Rams and Packers before migrating to the AFL, departed the team Thursday night. His departure left 55 players in camp prior to Sunday’s final preseason matchup.

    Monday September 4, 1961

    “Wranglers Chiefs Play to Draw in Sun Devil Stadium” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Last year’s AFLs Western Division champs and league runner up came to town this weekend with a new lead man at the helm and he did not disappoint. Lenny Dawson, who the Chiefs traded for in the offseason, completed 10 of 14 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns during his first half appearance. He connected up with fullback Bo Dickinson on a 17 yard strike and offensive end Charlie Barnes for a 13 yard scoring play. Rookie running back Abner Haynes carried the ball for the chief 17 times for 81 yards. On the Wrangler side of the ball Jack Kemp threw for 137 yards and accounted of both of his team’s touchdowns. He hooked up with fullback Bob Brooks for a 21 yard strike and took the ball in himself from 1 yard out for his second score. With Keith Lincoln and Paul Lowe watching from the sidelines, Brooks, WIesner, Bird, and Kelly combined for 147 yards on the ground. Both teams could only muster field goals in the second half to end the afternoon locked up at 17-17. The Wranglers concluded their first preseason in Arizona 2-1-1. “It was a great camp. Now we begin the process of naming the 43 players that will suit up for the regular season matchup next week at Municipal Stadium. Yeah we got to play these guys again next week,” stated Coach Robinson when the press caught him Monday afternoon. The Wranglers coaching staff did not waste any time beginning that process as quarterback Robert Lee Duty, backs Calvin Bird and Walter Kelly, and wide out Luther Hayes were all named to the practice squad Sunday night. Public Relations Director Tom Daily has assured The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star a full opening season roster list by Thursday afternoon.

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