1905-1920: The Minneapolis Marines were formed in 1905 by a group of working class teenagers. The team played on a field at Cedar and Washington Avenues, not far from where decades later the Metrodome would be built. The early Marines had future stars Walt Buland, Sheepy Redeen, Dutch Gaustad and Rube Ursella as part of their team as they were among the best independent teams in the upper Midwest. The Marines would begin signing former college stars in 1910 as they developed an intense rivalry with the Minneapolis Beavers. The two teams would battle for the city championship for the next five years. As the Beavers folded the Marines, would dominate the Twin Cities, winning 34 straight regular season games from 1913-1917. With no strong competition the Marines looked for a new rival and began playing a team of All-Stars from the University of Minnesota on Thanksgiving. The Marines would sit out the 1918 season due to a player shortage from World War I and a flu pandemic. When the Marines returned in 1919, they were unable to regain their dominant pre-war form as several players left to play for the Rock Island Independents. The Minneapolis Marines would post identical records of 5-2-1 in their final two seasons as an independent team.
1921: Besides losing players after the war, the Marines Coached by long time star Rube Ursella lost interest and needed to find a way to draw more fans and stay financial solvent. Owner John Dunn, would reach out to the American Professional Football Association and join the league for its second season. The Marines would find the competition in the APFA stiffer than anything they faced before as they dropped their first game to the Chicago Cardinals 20-0 on October 2nd. Following a non-league win over the Minneapolis Knights of Columbus, the Marines would lose a heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers 7-6 in the Packers first league game. A week later the Marines would get their first home game at Nicollet Park and earned their first win by shutting out the Columbus Panhandles 28-0. It would be the Marines only APFA win that season as their final league game saw them lose 14-3 to the Rock Island Independents. The Marines would post a record of 1-3 in the APFA and 3-5 overall.
1922: Under new Coach Russell Tollefson the Minneapolis Marines would march a similar path, starting the season with a 17-0 loss to the Dayton Triangles. The Marines would also fail to score a week later, falling to the Chicago Cardinals 3-0. The Marines would once again win their lone home game, beating the Jim Thorpe led Oorang Indians 13-6. The Marines would go on to finish at 1-3 again in the league now known as the National Football League, losing to the Green Bay Packers 14-6 to finish the season.
1923: The Minneapolis Marines would have a full seven game schedule in the NFL as they got a new rival with the formation of the Duluth Kellys. After starting the season with a 12-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Marines would suffer a stunning 10-0 home loss to the Kellys. The Marines would rebound to blank the Oorang Indians 23-0 a week later. However, the Marines scoring problems continued as they suffered 9-0 losses to the Chicago Cardinals and the Duluth Kellys on the road. Following a 13-6 win over Racine Legion, the Marines would play a home and home series with the Rock Island Independents with each game ending in a 6-6 tie. The Marines would finish the year with a record of 2-5-2, losing the season finale to the Racine Legion 23-0.
1924: The bottom would fall out for the Minneapolis Marines, as they started the season with four straight losses, failing to score in each game. This included a pair of home losses to the Duluth Kellys. The Marines would finally score in their final two games, but did not play any better with blowout losses against the Milwaukee Badgers and Frankford Yellow Jackets. Following their November 15th loss the Marines posting a 0-6 season would make the decision to suspend operations. The NFL would return to the Twin Cities with Marines Owners John Dunn and Val Ness launching the Minneapolis Red Jackets in 1929.
1929: The Red Jackets would claim the old Marines history as they wore similar uniforms, once again playing at Nicollet Park. The Red Jackets would start the season, losing a home and home series with the Chicago Bears 19-6 and 7-6. A week later the Jackets would get their first win under Coach Herb Joesting edging the Chicago Cardinals 14-7 at home. It would be the Red Jackets only win of the season as they lost their last seven games and posted a record of 1-9.
1930: Due to weather concerns the Minneapolis Marines started the season by playing their first four games at Nicollet Park. However, they failed to take advantage suffering shutout losses to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, while starting the season with a 7-7 tie against the Chicago Cardinals. The only win for the Red Jackets came in Week 3, when they handed the Portsmouth Spartans a 13-0 win. The Red Jackets would lose their final five games all on the road, posting a record of 1-7-1. The Red Jackets 42-0 loss to the Spartans to end the season on December 7th would be their final game as the team unable to make money with rain limiting crowds in their four home game. The Red Jackets would merge with the Frankford Yellow Jackets with ten players going on to play in Philadelphia. The NFL would not return to the Twin Cities for three decades with the expansion Minnesota Vikings launching in 1961.
©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 MInneapolis Marines or the Minneapolis Red Jackets 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 4, 2015. Last updated on February 4, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.