1946: Chicago trucking executive John L. “Jack” Keeshin, who was also president of the National Jockey Club which owned and operated Sportsman’s Park race track in Cicero, Illinois attempted to purchase the Chicago White Sox, but was turned aside. Instead Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward suggested starting a pro football team in the newly formed All-American Football Conference. Chicago already had two NFL teams and success would be unlikely unless the AAFC’s Chicago Rockets could land a few stars. The Rockets would attempt to lure Sid Luckman, George McAfee and Hugh Gallarneau away from the Chicago Bears without success. The Rockets would play their home games at the under-utilized Soldier Field, which at the time was used for various college games including the annual College All-Star Game against the defending NFL Champions. Coached by Dick Hanley the Rockets would lose their first game to the Cleveland Browns 20-6 on September 13th at Soldier Field. Following a 17-17 tie with the New York Yankees, the Rockets earned their first win in a 38-35 shootout against the Buffalo Bisons. The Rockets would earn a second straight win over the San Francisco 49ers, but would spend the rest of the season awash in mediocrity, finishing at the bottom of the Western’s Division with a record of 5-6-3, while cycling through five coaches.
1947: The Rockets would get off to a miserable start in their second season, dropping their first ten games. Once again they would change coaches in the middle of the season as Jim Crowley and Hampton Pool each led the team. The Rockets would avoid a winless season by beating the Baltimore Colts 27-21 late in the season, but went on to drop their final three games and finished with a pathetic 1-13 record.
1948: Under Coach Edward McKeever would be even worse in their third season, posting a 1-13 record for the second straight season. Once again the Chicago Rockets lone win would come at the expense of the Baltimore Colts. This time the win was in Week 3 in Soldier Field with the Rockets winning 21-14. After that win the Rockets would end the season by losing their last 11 games. Most notable during the season was a -30 turnover ratio, which is the worst in the history of Professional Football.
1949: Hoping for a change in fortunes, the Chicago Rockets become the Chicago Hornets. Led by Coach Ray Flaherty who had won the 1942 NFL Championship with the Washington Redskins, the Hornets showed immediate improvement, opening the season with a 17-14 win over the Buffalo Bills. Following a 42-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Hornets would win two straight against the Los Angeles Dons and Baltimore Colts. However, the Hornets would not be able to maintain their success, winning just one of their final eight games, a win against the Colts, posting a record of 4-8. It would be the final season of the AAFC, with two NFL teams already in the windy city, the Chicago Hornets would not be among three teams invited to join the NFL.
©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 Chicago Rockets or the Chicago Hornets or the AAFC. 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 March 12, 2015. Last updated on March 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.