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Black, Orange, White               

Head coaches Joe Braney (1916–1924) Archie Golembeski (1925) Jim Laird (1926) Jimmy Conzelman (1928–30) Ed Robinson (1931)

General managers Pearce Johnson

Owner(s) Charles Coppen James Dooley Peter Laudati

NFL Championship wins 1928

Home field(s) Kinsley Park (1916–1924) Cycledrome (1925–1933)

The Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
(also referred to as the Providence Steam Rollers, the Providence Steamroller and the Providence Steamrollers) was a professional American football
American football
team based in Providence, Rhode Island in the National Football League
National Football League
from 1925 to 1931. Providence was the first New England
New England
team to win an NFL championship. The Steam Roller won the league's championship in 1928. They are the last team to win a championship and no longer be in the league. Most of their home games were played in a 10,000-seat stadium that was built for bicycle races called the Cycledrome.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Pre-NFL 1.2 NFL years

1.2.1 1928 championship season 1.2.2 NFL firsts

1.3 Decline

2 Name origin 3 Other Steam Roller teams 4 Pro Football Hall of Famers 5 Season-by-season 6 Notes 7 External links

History[edit] Pre-NFL[edit] The Steam Roller was established in 1916 by members of the Providence Journal; sports-editor Charles Coppen and part-time sports-writer Pearce Johnson. Three men shared in the ownership and management of the team: Coppen, James Dooley, and Peter Laudati. Meanwhile, Johnson stayed on as the team's manager for each year of its existence.[1] The team soon became a regional power and by the mid-1920s was known as the best independent team in the country. By 1919 the team was drawing in more spectators than Brown University
Brown University
by a margin of 2–1, due to newspaper reports at the time. However, it seemed unlikely since the Steam Roller crowd was on average 3,000 spectators a game. The players' wages were lower than those of Indiana
Indiana
and Ohio, so it was harder for the Steam Roller to bring in "ringers". Several college football players did play for the Steam Roller, but under aliases, so as to not jeopardize their amateur status.[2] In 1924, Providence's schedule featured several NFL teams. The Steam Roller posted a 3–2–1 record against those teams, defeating the Rochester Jeffersons
Rochester Jeffersons
(3–0), Minneapolis Marines (49–0) and Dayton Triangles (10–7). Both of their two losses came against the Frankford Yellow Jackets
Frankford Yellow Jackets
(21–10) and (16–3). The team also posted a scoreless tie against the Columbus Tigers. The 1924 Steam Roller then went on to win the mythical "undisputed championship of the Northeast". The team's success that season was enough to make Steam Roller management and fans start thinking about playing in the NFL.[3] NFL years[edit] Providence joined the NFL in time for the 1925 season. By that time only three players from the 1924 team were still in the line-up when the team's first practice of 1925 was held on September 17. In fact, only about a dozen of them wore Steam Roller colors for the team's debut in the NFL.[4] The Steam Roller had played mediocre football in their first two NFL seasons, but posted a strong 8–5–1 record in 1927 with Jim Conzelman as the team's head coach. For his per game salary of $292, Conzelman not only coached the team but also played quarterback in the single-wing formation. The star player for Providence was halfback George "Wildcat" Wilson, a 1925 All-American from the University of Washington
University of Washington
who had spent the 1926 season as the head of the traveling Los Angeles Wildcats of the AFL.[5] 1928 championship season[edit]

1928 World Champions pennant.

Providence opened its 1928 season against Red Grange
Red Grange
and the New York Yankees, Wilson's rival from the AFL. The Steam Roller led the Yankees 20–7 at halftime and held that score throughout the second half. However, the team's next game resulted in a 10–6 loss to the Frankford Yellow Jackets. However, the team soon rebounded with a four-game winning streak over the Dayton Triangles
Dayton Triangles
(28–0), Yankees (12–6), Pottsville Maroons
Pottsville Maroons
(13–6) and Detroit Wolverines (7–0). The Steam Roller faced the Yellow Jackets again at Frankford Stadium on November 17, which resulted in a scoreless tie. However a week later, at the Cycledrome, Providence finally avenged its only loss of the season with a 6–0 victory over the Yellow Jackets. The team would then post wins over the New York Giants
New York Giants
(16–0) and Pottsville (7–0), before ending its season with a 7–7 tie, against the Green Bay Packers. Providence was named the 1928 NFL Champions. Prior to the 1932 season, the NFL team with the best winning percentage was named the NFL Champions. Despite the Yellow Jackets winning 3 more games than the Steam Roller and posting an 11–3–2 record, Providence was awarded the title due to having a better winning percentage.[6] A "victory banquet" at the Biltmore Hotel took place a week later. At the banquet, each player was rewarded with a gold watch. It was also at this event that Conzelman was given a trophy and named the team's "Most Valuable Player". Five of the Steam Roller players gained All-NFL honors when the league issued its official honor roll on December 23. Wildcat Wilson and Clyde Smith were named to the first team, while Curly Oden, Milt Rehnquist, and Gus Sonnenberg
Gus Sonnenberg
were placed on the second team.[7][8] NFL firsts[edit] Over the course of the next seven years, the team not only won an NFL championship but also established three league "firsts." In 1925, Providence was the first NFL team to play its home games in a bicycle racing stadium (a velodrome). In 1929, the Steam Roller established two NFL "firsts." In the six-day period between November 5 and November 10, 1929, Providence played four games. The marathon string began against the Staten Island Stapletons, the Chicago Cardinals
Chicago Cardinals
and concluded with a two-game series against the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Although the Steam Roller made history, their 0–3–1 record during that six-day stretch proved to be a scheduling disaster. During the second game of that four game series, Providence hosted the Cardinals on November 6. The game was played at night at nearby Kinsley Park, where floodlights recently had been installed. The teams had originally been scheduled to play on Sunday, November 3, but heavy rains made the Cycledrome field unplayable. Since neither team wanted to lose a payday, the historic night game was hastily scheduled. Because of this, Providence made history again by being the first team to host an NFL game at night under floodlights. Although the Steam Roller lost 16–0, the game was declared a success because 6,000 fans attended.[9] Decline[edit] Despite their 1928 championship, the team experienced troubles in 1929. On January 4, 1929, Sonnenberg defeated Strangler Lewis
Strangler Lewis
in two straight falls to capture the world heavyweight championship in professional wrestling. This caused Sonnenberg to stay out of football, as he could make better money defending his title. Meanwhile, Oden quit pro football to take a job with an insurance company in Boston, and Smith decided to return to his native Missouri and coach football. Conzelman also didn't fully recover from a knee injury sustained in 1928. Rehnquist missed the first half of the season due of illness, and Wildcat Wilson became complacent and turned into an ordinary back. The 1929 Steam Roller struggled to a 4–6–2 record, resulting in a 7th place league finish. This caused the fans, who attended each game during the championship season, to stay home. The team posted a 6–4–1 record in 1930 and a 4–4–3 record in 1931.[10] The lack of interest, coupled with the Great Depression
Great Depression
in 1930, caused Dooley, Coppen and Laudati to suspend operations after the 1931 season. The three owners then gave up and turned the franchise back over to the NFL in 1933.[11] Name origin[edit] During halftime against a game between the Steam Roller and the Providence Pros, Charles Coppen who was getting a hot dog, heard a remark that the opposing team was "getting steam-rolled". Coppen loved the remark so much he named his team the Steam Roller.[12] Other Steam Roller teams[edit] A team known as the Providence Huskies (the Steam Roller had used a husky-like dog as their mascot, so this team may have been a continuation of or successor to the Steam Roller) played during the 1933 season. The Huskies earned a perfect season, the only season in the professional or semi-professional record books to have not allowed their opponents to score a single point over an entire season. The Steam Roller name was revived by Pearce Johnson, one of the original team's founders. The subsequent Steamrollers played on a near-continuous basis since that point as a semi-pro, minor league, and independent team until 1942, when it moved to Springfield and became the Springfield Steamroller for 1943, and suspended operations shortly thereafter. The last three seasons of a "Providence Steam Roller" team were as a member of the Atlantic Coast Football League; in 1962, the Steamroller team was the league's runner-up, losing in the championship to the Paterson Miners in a double-overtime decision. The assets of the ACFL Steam Roller were bought and taken to the Continental Football League
Continental Football League
as the Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Indians, where the team played one last season in 1965. After the 1965 season, the team's franchise rights were turned over to famed baseball player Jackie Robinson and became the "Brooklyn Dodgers," which lasted one season. The name was revived again in 1988 for an Arena Football League team, the New England
New England
Steamrollers. A rare home movie showing the Providence Steam Rollers playing the Framingham Lion Tamers was recently discovered and preserved by Northeast Historic Film, a regional moving image archive in New England. Pro Football Hall of Famers[edit]

Jimmy Conzelman Fritz Pollard

Season-by-season[edit]

1931 program between the "Steam Rollers" and Green Bay Packers

Year W L T Finish Coach

1924 12 3 1 – Joe Braney

1925 6 5 1 10th Archie Golembeski

1926 5 7 1 11th Jim Laird

1927 8 5 1 5th Jimmy Conzelman

1928 8 1 2 1st Jimmy Conzelman

1929 4 6 2 8th Jimmy Conzelman

1930 6 4 1 5th Jimmy Conzelman

1931 4 4 3 6th Ed Robinson

Notes[edit]

^ *Peterson, Robert W. (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511913-4.  ^ *Peterson, Robert W. (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511913-4.  ^ Gill, Bob. "Providence Starts Rolling" (PDF). Professional Football Researchers Association: 1–3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-29.  ^ Gill, Bob. "Providence Starts Rolling" (PDF). Professional Football Researchers Association: 1–3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-29.  ^ Hogrogian, John (1980). "The Steam Roller" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.  ^ Hogrogian, John (1980). "The Steam Roller" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.  ^ Hogrogian, John (1980). "The Steam Roller" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.  ^ Carroll, Bob (1980). "Steam Rolled" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-09-29.  ^ http://www.profootballhof.com/history/decades/1920s/providence.aspx Decade-by-Decade: The 1920s and Providence (note: this reference erroneously calls the home field the "Cyclodome") ^ Hogrogian, John (1980). "The Steam Roller" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.  ^ Hogrogian, John (1980). "The Steam Roller" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (3): 1–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.  ^ Peterson, Robert W. (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511913-4. 

External links[edit]

Hall of Fame article about the team Professional Football Researchers Association history A Season in Time: Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
1928 AIR Historical Providence Cycledrome Old Footage of a Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
game

Awards and achievements

Preceded by New York Giants 1927 NFL Champions Providence Steam Roller 1928 Succeeded by Green Bay Packers 1929

v t e

Providence Steam Roller

Defunct Independent and National Football League
National Football League
club 1916–33 Based in Providence, Rhode Island

The Franchise

Providence Steam Roller

Stadia

Kinsley Park Cycledrome

Owners

Charles Coppen James Dooley Peter Laudati

General Manager

Pearce Johnson

Head Coaches

Joe Braney Archie Golembeski Jim Laird Jimmy Conzelman Eddie N. Robinson

NFL Championships (1)

1928

Lore

New England
New England
Steamrollers Perry Jackson Arnie Shockley

Seasons

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

Links to related articles

v t e

Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
1928 NFL champions

Jimmy Conzelman Bill Cronin Jack Cronin Jack Fleischman Al Hadden Duke Hanny Norm Harvey Perry Jackson Jim Laird Curly Oden Milt Rehnquist Jim Simmons Clyde Smith Orland Smith Gus Sonnenberg Jack Spellman Art "Pop" Williams Abe Wilson Wildcat Wilson

Head coach: Jimmy Conzelman

v t e

Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
seasons

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931

v t e

Defunct National Football League
National Football League
franchises

Charter teams

Chicago Tigers (1920) Cleveland Tigers / Indians (1920–21) Muncie Flyers
Muncie Flyers
(1920–21) Rochester Jeffersons
Rochester Jeffersons
(1920–25) Rock Island Independents
Rock Island Independents
(1920–25) Akron Pros / Indians (1920–26) Canton Bulldogs
Canton Bulldogs
(1920–26) Columbus Panhandles / Tigers (1920–26) Hammond Pros (1920–26) Detroit Heralds / Tigers / Panthers / Wolverines (1920–28) Buffalo All-Americans / Bisons / Rangers (1920–29) Dayton Triangles
Dayton Triangles
(1920–29)

1920s

Cincinnati Celts
Cincinnati Celts
(1921) New York Brickley Giants
New York Brickley Giants
(1921) Tonawanda Kardex Lumbermen
Tonawanda Kardex Lumbermen
(1921) Washington Senators (1921) Evansville Crimson Giants (1921–22) Louisville Breckenridges / Colonels (1921–23, 26) Minneapolis Marines / Red Jackets (1921–24, 29–30) Oorang Indians
Oorang Indians
(1922–23) Toledo Maroons
Toledo Maroons
(1922–23) Racine Legion / Tornadoes (22–24, 26) Milwaukee Badgers (1922–26) St. Louis All-Stars (1923) Cleveland Indians / Bulldogs (23–27) Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos (1923–27) Kenosha Maroons (24) Kansas City Blues (1924) Kansas City Cowboys (1925–26) Frankford Yellow Jackets
Frankford Yellow Jackets
(1924–31) Pottsville Maroons / Boston Bulldogs (1925–29) Providence Steam Roller
Providence Steam Roller
(1925–31) Brooklyn Lions (1926) Hartford Blues
Hartford Blues
(1926) Los Angeles Buccaneers
Los Angeles Buccaneers
(1926) New York Yankees (1927–28) Orange / Newark Tornadoes (1929–30) Staten Island Stapletons (1929–32)

1930s–50s

Brooklyn Dodgers / Tigers (1930–44) Cleveland Indians (1931) Cincinnati Reds (1933–34) St. Louis Gunners
St. Louis Gunners
(1934) Boston Yanks
Boston Yanks
(1944–48) Baltimore Colts (1947–50) New York Bulldogs / Yanks (1949–51) Dallas Texans (1952)

v t e

Continental Football League

Seasons

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Teams

Alabama Hawks Arkansas Diamonds Brooklyn Dodgers/Akron Vulcans Charleston Rockets Chicago Owls Dallas Rockets Eugene Bombers Fort Worth Braves Hartford Charter Oaks Hawaii Warriors/Portland Loggers Indianapolis Capitols Jersey Jays Long Beach Admirals Mexico Golden Aztecs Michigan Arrows/Tri-City Apollos Fort Wayne Warriors/Montreal Beavers Newark Bears/Orlando Panthers Norfolk Neptunes Oklahoma Thunderbirds Omaha Mustangs Orange County Ramblers Philadelphia Bulldogs Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Indians Quad-Cities Raiders/Las Vegas Cowboys Richmond Rebels Sacramento Buccaneers/Capitols San Antonio Toros San Jose Apaches Seattle Rangers Texarkana Titans Toronto Rifles Victoria Steelers/Spokane Shockers West Texas Rufneks Wheeling/O

.