If the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles end up facing each other in this year's Super Bowl, it won't just be notable because they share a state (Actually, it's a commonwealth. (Actually, you're a commonwealth!)), but also because they once shared a team. As The New York Times reminds us today, for one season during WWII, the two teams combined their dwindling lineups to become The Phil-Pitt Steagles.
After the Cleveland Rams,
whose owners were off fighting for Uncle Sam, decided to suspend
operations for the 1943 season, N.F.L. Commissioner Elmer Layden was
not about to let the entire season go the way of that year‚Äôs
Indianapolis 500 ‚Äî scratched to save gasoline ‚Äî or the United States
Open golf tournament ‚Äî canceled because the rubber used in golf balls
could not be spared.
only six players under contract and that the Eagles were down to about
a dozen, he suggested a temporary merger between teams whose history
was already intertwined. (Both joined the league the same year and,
through much wrangling, were once traded by their respective owners.)
Layden figured the arrangement would keep both franchises alive and
solve his problem of trying to create a schedule for nine teams.
These days, we've wised up and always put sports above battling tyranny, so this could never happen now. And it's a good thing considering the names of these potential team mashups:
- The Tennessee-Dallas Titboys
- The Cleveland-Green Bay Brown Packers
- The Houston-New Orleans Taints
- The Cincinnati-Minnesota Ben Kingsleys