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On This Date in Sports November 27, 1952

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After losing their first nine games, the Dallas Texans win their first game, beating the Chicago Bears 27-23 at the Rubber Bowl in Akron on Thanksgiving. The Texans were the NFL’s first attempt to put a team in Dallas, but early financial struggles led them to finish their lone season as a traveling team, playing home games in Akron, Ohio. It would be the Texans only win as they finished 1-11 and folded after the season.

The NFL was on the verge of finding new popularity as the 1950’s began thanks to the growth of television. Still, there were growing pains for the league as certain teams could never find a home. Born as the Boston Yanks in 1944, the franchise that would become the Dallas Texans never could find their footing the NFL. After five years at Fenway Park, the Yanks moved to New York becoming the Bulldogs in 1949 where they continued to struggle before becoming the New York Yanks in 1951. Financially strapped the franchise was purchased by a group of Dallas businessmen who moved them to Dallas for the 1952 season.

The Dallas Texans coached by Jim Phelan had many missteps from the start of the season, as crowds at the Cotton Bowl failed to live up to expectations with the Texans drawing just 17,499 fans in their first game which they lost to the New York Giants 24-6. One reason for the lack of enthusiasm was the lack of star power, as the Texans were so desperate for players, they traded the draft rights for future Hall of Fame Les Richter to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 players, none of which had an impact. As the season wore on crowds continued to diminish as Texans lost their first nine games. When the team ran out of money, the league took over with four games left forcing the Texans to practice in Hershey, Pennsylvania, while playing games originally scheduled at the Cotton Bowl in Akron.

Facing the Chicago Bears, who were struggling at 4-5 under George Halas, the Dallas Texans were given a little chance to win, having lost every game by double digits. With just 3,000 fans in attendance, the Bears so certain of victory started their second-string lineup, allowing the Texans to take an early 20-2 lead. With George Blanda coming off the bench, the Bears rallied in the fourth quarter to take a 23-20 lead. However, in the final minute Texans quarterback Frank Tripucka drove Dallas 75 yards, scoring himself on a yard plunge with 34 seconds left to win the game 27-23.

The Texans would again be blown out in their final two games, finishing 1-11 as they folded after the season. The Dallas Texans were the last NFL team to cease operations without relocating or becoming a new team. Many of the players and assets of the Texans were picked up by the Baltimore Colts a 1953 expansion team that replaced the Texans, without any official connection to the failed team in Dallas.