View Full Version : Chiefs Blair Kerhkoff:Chiefs on verge of historic futility

Tribal Warfare
11-12-2012, 01:33 AM
Chiefs on verge of historic futility (http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/11/3912392/chiefs-are-on-the-verge-of-historic.html)
The Kansas City Star
More than eight decades ago, one of the most inept teams in pro football history took the field.

It couldn’t compete financially with teams in larger cities, so it had shut down for a season to regroup. When the Buffalo Bisons returned in 1929, they were so bad that the franchise folded for good after the season.

Coached by a native Kansan and former Kansas State player, the 1929 Bisons didn’t hold a lead at any point until their season finale, a streak of eight consecutive games.

Such futility went unmatched in the NFL for 83 years. Until now.

Your 2012 Kansas City Chiefs will own the dubious distinction alone — nine full games without a lead in regulation — unless they can jump ahead at any point in Monday night’s game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

If the Chiefs don’t take a lead, the Bisons, and coach Al Jolley, will be erased from the record book.

This year’s Chiefs have something the 1929 Bisons didn’t through eight games — a victory. But in their Sept. 23 win at New Orleans, the Chiefs were either trailing or tied against the Saints until a field goal in overtime ended the game. The 1-7 Chiefs haven’t led since that day.

Overtime wasn’t part of football in 1929, so when only regulation time is considered, the Chiefs haven’t led in more than 480 minutes played this season, matching the futility standard set by the Bisons, who were facing greater challenges in 1929 than today’s Chiefs.

For starters, Buffalo’s players earned about $75 per game.

“Instead of about $200 a game, which is what players who were playing in the larger markets were getting,” said Jeffrey J. Miller, who has written several books about Buffalo’s football history.

Earlier in the 1920s, Buffalo’s pro football team had top players, college All-Americans who helped the Bisons to excellent seasons. Records show the 1920 team, called the All-Americans, was co-champion of the American Professional Football Conference, which became the NFL the following season.

Pro football’s popularity soared in the 1920s. Red Grange signed with the Chicago Bears the day after his final college game at Illinois in 1925 for a salary and gate-receipts share that amounted to $100,000. Another star of the day, Ernie Nevers, signed a five-game contract to play for a team in Jacksonville, Fla., for $25,000.

Buffalo couldn’t compete in that market and dropped its team in 1928.

The team was revived in 1929, and a player who had been part of the league for three teams earlier in the decade was brought in as player-coach. Alvin J. Jolley, born in Onaga, Kan., in 1899, and who lettered in football at Kansas State in 1918, ran the team and played tackle.

“In many cases then, the best player on the team was the coach,” Miller said.

So it was with Jolley, who made his professional coaching debut on his birthday — Sept. 29, 1929. But it wasn’t a day, or season, of celebration.

The Bisons didn’t score their first touchdown until their fifth game and tied the Providence Steam Roller 7-7. In their eighth game, the Bisons came close, losing 12-7 to the Boston Bulldogs. Buffalo’s record stood at 0-7-1 as the Bisons entered their final game, at Wrigley Field against the Bears and Grange.

Surely, the Bisons’ futility streak would continue. The Bears weren’t having a championship season, but they were the league’s establishment, with Grange considered the game’s greatest player.

No surprise, then, that Grange scored the game’s first touchdown. But after that, fortune began to swing toward Buffalo. Two Bears fumbles gave the Bisons short fields and they went ahead for the first time, 10-7, on a field goal in the third quarter. Buffalo went on to win 19-7.

The Bisons got a lead and a victory in the last major professional football game played by a Buffalo team until the Bills of the American Football League started in 1960.

But it was not Jolley’s final game. He remained a player in demand.

Jolley had made a name for himself earlier in the decade after leaving Kansas State, where the 1918 Wildcats he played for finished 4-1 in a season cut short because of an influenza epidemic.

He later attended the University of Tulsa for a semester and then, according to his obituary printed in the Marietta (Ohio) Times, was brought to Marietta College by its coach, Earl “Greasey” Neale, “who searched far and wide for football material.”

Jolley remained in Ohio to begin his professional football career with the Akron Pros, then joined the Dayton Triangles. He left that team after one game in 1923 to join the Oorang Indians.

After his 1929 season in Buffalo, Jolley moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers and the next year to the Cleveland Indians, where his season was cut short by a fractured skull. In 1933, he again served as a player-coach, this time for a new team, the Cincinnati Reds.

After six weeks and no victories, Jolley relinquished his coaching duties and was out of football. It appears he spent the rest of his life in Marietta, Ohio, where he operated an insurance company and once lost a bid to become the city’s mayor.

11-12-2012, 04:28 AM

11-12-2012, 04:50 AM
:rockon: historic football seasons!

11-12-2012, 06:07 AM

Ace Gunner
11-12-2012, 08:38 AM
The Jolley family extends a big thank you to the Hunt family.

11-12-2012, 08:39 AM
Historic. Makes one feel important. Thanks Clark.

Bob Dole
11-12-2012, 09:04 AM
Is this writer a high school intern? JFC