1926: Professional football was at crossroads, following the debut of Red Grange with the Chicago Bears in 1925. The Bears would complete a successful barnstorming tour with the Galloping Ghost, but Red Grange wanted more money and looked to form his own team. Together with his agent C.C. Pyle in New York’s Yankee Stadium. After Tim Mara, Owner of the New York Giants blocked a second team in New York, Pyle and Grange sought to create their own league called the American Football League. To prevent Grange’s AFL from gaining a foothold, the NFL expanded to 22 teams with the hopes of blocking the new league from getting new markets. Brooklyn was a target of both leagues, with the Brooklyn Horseman named for employing two of Notre Dame’s famous Four Horseman and playing at Commercial Field, while the NFL added a team to play at Ebbets Field called the Brooklyn Lions. After starting the season with a 13-0 loss to the Providence Steam Roller on September 26th, the Lions would beat the Hartford Blues 6-0 in their first home game. Wins would be scarce for the Lions coached by Punk Berryman, despite some outstanding individual performances, such as Rex Thomas who had four interceptions as they held a 2-5 record on November 7th. The Horsemen were not fairing much better in the AFL and lost three of four games. Unable to compete with the Lions in their smaller stadium, the Horsemen merged with the Lions on November 12th and played the remainder of the NFL season. Derisively called the Horse-Lions, the combined team called the Lions would beat the Canton Bulldogs 19-0 in front of a small crowd at Ebbets Field. Following the game, the team looking to draw more fans decided to finish the season as the Brooklyn Horsemen losing all three games to finish the season with a record of 3-8. The Horsemen would lose their final game to the New York Giants on November 28th. The NFL would return to Brooklyn with a new team called the Dodgers in 1930, and would spend the next 15 years calling Ebbets Field home.
©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Brooklyn Lions, Brooklyn Horsemen “HorseLions” or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on February 25, 2015. Last updated on February 25, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.