Orange Tornadoes

First Game Played September 29, 1929 Last Game Played October 30, 1930

1887-1918: Like many of the early NFL teams, the Orange Tornadoes roots go back to an amateur athletic clubs. Located in Essex County as a suburb of New Jersey’s largest city Newark, the Orange Athletic Club began playing football in 1887. Orange A.C. would lose their first game to Seton Hall University 36-0. Orange A.C. would become a semi-pro team in the 1890’s, practicing under the lights before beating Rutgers 22-10 before in 1892. In 1893, the Orange Athletic Club went on to win the mythical American Football Union Championship, posting a record of 8-2. Orange A.C. would play many other top level Eastern professional and semi-professional football teams at the turn of the century and operated as a club team until 1919, when officially became a professional organization.

1919-1928: Using the name Orange A.C. Golden Tornadoes the Athletic Club would play independently, beating the New York Brickley Giants, an early NFL team. The Tornadoes would typically play the best independent teams on the East Coast including the Frankford Yellow Jackets and Staten Island Stapletons before they joined the NFL, while also playing against the Atlantic City Roses and the Millville Big Blue. In 1928, the played competitively against the New York Giants and Yellow Jackets leading them to believe they could join the NFL.

1929: Owned by Edwin (Piggy) Simandl the Orange Tornadoes joined the NFL, taking the spot once held by the Duluth Eskimos, after acquiring league franchise rights from Ole Haugsrud. Simandl was a local sports promoter in New Jersey, who operated a meat wholesale business and according to some looked like a pig. A notable difference on the Orange Tornadoes jerseys came when players were given letters instead of numbers on their uniforms. Playing at Knights of Columbus Stadium in East Orange, the Tornadoes coached by Jack Depler played the New York Giants to a scoreless tie in the first NFL game on September 29th. A week later they would earn their first win by beating the Boston Bulldogs 7-0. The Tornadoes had a solid defense, allowing just 80 during a 12 game season. However, the Tornado offense was barely noticeable as they scored just 35 points as they were shutout eight times, including three games that ended in scoreless ties. The Tornadoes would finish their first NFL season in eighth place with a record of 3-5-4.

1930: Hoping for more notoriety and draw more fans the Orange Tornadoes became the Newark Tornadoes. Unfortunately for Newark, the Tornadoes would lose Coach Jack Depler, who purchased the remains of the Dayton Triangles and began running his own team in Brooklyn. Most games for the Tornadoes in Newark would be played Newark Schools Stadium. A stadium with a concrete grandstand located on Bloomfield Avenue and North 10th Street. Following a 13-6 loss to the Portsmouth Spartans, the Tornadoes made their Newark debut on September 17th, losing to the New York Giants 32-0. Following a 12-6 loss to the Staten Island Stapletons, Al McGail would be relieved of his coaching duties. The rest of the season would see Andy Salata, and Jack Fish serve as co-coaches. The Tornadoes showed improvement in their first three games with Salata and Fish leading the team, losing their first game against the Frankford Yellow Jackets 13-6, before playing the Stapletons to a 7-7 tie at the “Stadium on the Avenue.” Three days later they would get their first win, beating the Yellow Jackets 19-0 on the road. However, that would be Newark’s only NFL win, as they dropped their last six games, including a 34-7 to the Giants on the Polo Grounds on October 30th. It would be the final game the Newark Tornadoes would play in the NFL. While moving to Newark, Piggy Simandl kept an office open in Orange, just in case the team failed in Newark. Following a horrendous 1-10-1 record, which placed them in Last Place, the Newark Tornadoes decided that they could not compete in the NFL and became minor league team. The NFL would control the franchise and moved it to Cleveland hoping to find home there as the Indians. However, after failing for a season to find an owner the team was sold to George Preston Marshall who moved the team to Boston, where they would become Braves and eventually the Redskins. The Orange/Newark Tornadoes would operate as a minor league team for the next decade, becoming the Newark Bears under the ownership of George Halas before folding in 1941.

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