[AH Fiction] The Game of Driveball

The Rules of Driveball
Driveball is a hybrid football code that combines Australian Rules and Gaelic football with the forward pass from American football (aka gridiron). The game is played by two teams of 35 with 14 players taking to the field at any one time.​

On the field, each team consists of...
1 Goalie
1 Fullback
2 Halfbacks
2 Rovers

1 Center
2 Wings

1 Full Forward
2 Half Forwards
2 Quarter Forwards

The Field (below) is roughly the length and width of a typical soccer field and should fit the floor space of stadiums designed for American football, rugby union (or league) and soccer.

The quarter lines are marked at what would normally be the 25 yard lines in American football or between the 27 and 28 yard lines on a Canadian field. The quarter lines also serve as the boundary between midfield and the defensive or attack zones. The halfway line is generally marked along the 50 yard line in the US or the 55 in Canada. The center circle, where every game begins, is 22 yards in perimeter. The restart circles are 10 yards in perimeter.

The field is divided in to three zones; defensive, midfield and attack. The direction a team must take to advance the ball in to the opposing goal is determined via coin toss.

The game starts with a bounce off in the center circle on the halfway line. The object of the game is for your team to score more points than the opposing team. To score, a player can kick, fist-ball like in Aussie rules, or throw the ball past the goalkeeper for a goal worth 6 points. A ball that is thrown, or kicked and flies over the crossbar earns a 3 point over. Between the long goal post and the shorter post earns a behind for just one point.

The game is played in 35 minute halves for a combined playing time of 70 minutes, and the team with the most points as time expires wins.

Defense can be played by…
Blocking shots
Pushing ball carriers out of bounds
Intercepting passes
Stripping the ball from the ball carrier.

Driveball uses the six tackle rule for defense. After six tackles, the offensive drive ends and the ball is turned over to the opposing team.

To advance the ball, your players must be able to stay on their feet and keep the ball circulating in order to score. A ball carrier can run six steps before he must pass to a teammate, though he may solo the ball (dribble off a foot or knee) if he wants to retain possession.

Unlike in Aussie rules, rugby union or rugby league, you are allowed to pass the ball forward by throwing it over or underhand, but kicking is only allowed when taking a free kick and attempting to score. If a player drops a pass, the ball is still live and either team are free to recover it.

Substitutions are made via rotation like in basketball. Subs can be made between whistles and in case of an injury or ejection.

- Tackling is permitted, but only between the shoulders and knees. Contact to the head, above the shoulder pads, or below the knees is strictly prohibited.
- Gamesmanship or “flopping” results in a personal foul. Three personal fouls results in ejection.
- A score can be waived off if an attacking team’s player steps in to the goal crease.
- Delay of game results in loss of possession.
- Games cannot end on a penalty against the defending team. An attacking team can attempt a score, free kick or penalty shot after the final siren.

When a team is awarded a free kick, the ball is to be teed up along the arc.

Penalty shots/Penalty kicks are made at the penalty arc. A player can try to throw the goalie off balance by a pump fake or a stutter step. Penalty shots can be punted, fist-balled or thrown. Should the goalie block the penalty attempt, his team is awarded a single rouge point.

Once a team advances the ball past the quarter line in to the attack zone, they have 35 seconds to attempt a score. Failure to shoot in the allotted 35 seconds results in a shot clock violation.

Restarting play.
- After a score, the goalie can inbound the ball by throwing to one of the guards, or punting to a teammate in the midfield or attack zone.
- Scrums are awarded after an incomplete pass or when the ball bounces out of bounds. Scrums in Driveball are akin to line outs in rugby. Players line up inside smaller circles on the quarter lines, known as scrum circles. The ball is then inbounded by a player on the team that did not touch the ball last.

Pre-1948 History of the Game
1874: McGill and Harvard face off in a rugby game that most historians consider to be a major turning point for North American sports. On McGill's squad is James Creighton, who would go on to play a significant role in the evolution of ice hockey. Also on the McGill roster that May afternoon is Alexis DuBois, the man credited as the inventor of the Driveball game, but not necessarily the name.

1875: Creighton stages a demonstration of his hockey rules at a Montreal skating rink. Forward passing would be the invention of the Patrick brothers later on.

1876: Yale halfback Walter Camp begins to plant the seeds for gridiron football, sometimes referred to as "Gridby" (portmanteau of Gridiron+Rugby).

1877: Alexis DuBois (1853-1926), by then an assistant instructor for an affluent Montreal athletic club, stages a demonstration of what he dubbed "Mixed Rules Football." The game was played with 8 on 8 and scoring more in line with soccer. After the demonstration, Triston Arnold, who played soccer at another Montreal college, looked DuBois in the eye and said "Disregard Rugby. I find your new game far more exhilarating!"

1889-1930's: Numerous Mixed Rules Football leagues in Canada and the United States would come and go, often undone by gambler interference or financial woes. Also working against early leagues was the almost unanimous popularity of baseball in the US and hockey in Canada. In America, mixed rules ball was lower than the NFL, which in turn was dwarfed by MLB, college football, boxing and horse racing. The Mixed Rules Football Federation (MRFF), the first serious attempt at professionalism for Driveball, was formed in 1919. For a while, things looked bright for the game, but the 1929 stock market crash took the MRFF (pronounced "Murph") down with it.

1943: 26 year old Killian "Cubby" Dempsey, a young assistant coach for the Great Lakes Academy football team, was drafted and assigned to Australia. While he was there, he took out his film camera to document a game called "Austus," which combined Australian rules with those of gridiron. He was instantly reminded of that quirky game invented in Montreal that didn't quite catch on.

1945: Another tour of duty saw Dempsey serve in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. There, he witnessed Gaelic Football for the very first time. The GAA struggled to keep the game going because of wartime fuel and travel constraints.

1945-46: When the war finally ended, Dempsey returned to Chicago. No sooner did he arrive home that he picked up the Chicago Tribune and saw an ad placed by Arch Ward, who was then the paper's sports editor. Ward sought ideas for new leagues to employ men coming home and readjusting to civilian life. Dempsey presented his footage of Austus and Gaelic to an enthusiastic Ward. Both men would spend the next year and a half analyzing Mixed Rules' flaws and developing a more streamlined game. They renamed it "Driveball," in an effort to provide a name they hoped would be more memorable. They added a goalie, additional defensive players, the quarter and halfway lines and leather helmets. Ward was also instrumental in forming the All America Football Conference, which would later merge with the NFL.

1946-47: In the fall of 1946, and well into the summer of 1947, Dempsey conducted open tryouts for his new game. He also spent much of the time teaching the game to those that had been unable to hold down roster spots in other sports. Dempsey had the full support for this new venture from local soda pop heiress Mabel Reynolds (1916-2000), great niece of Alexis DuBois. On June 14, June 21 and July 12, 1947, the Chicago Tribune, thanks to Arch Ward's efforts, sponsored three test games at Soldier Field, which were met with thunderous enthusiasm.

By early 1948, the National Driveball Alliance was born, set for a May thru July schedule. And that is where our story begins!​
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The goal posts in Driveball are identical to International Rules Football, which combines Aussie Rules and Gaelic.

So if you wanted to watch a game on TV ITTL, the posts would look something like this in modern times:

The ball is similar in shape to what is used in the NFL or CFL:
Uniform Basics
In the beginning, the helmets were leather, just like in American football.

The rest of the uniform started out as simple jerseys, shorts, socks and shoes akin to rugby:

Of course, these are subject to change as time goes on.​
1948 Season
1948 Season

The National Driveball Alliance made its official debut on April 24, 1948 at the Polo Grounds. It was there that the New York Heroes trotted out onto the field in front of a crowd of about 11,000 fans. Those who bought tickets were more than curious about what they were going to see. The opponent that day were the Montreal Voyageurs, but with so little fanfare, there was no way of knowing who would be the better team that day. The inaugural bounce off was won by the Voyageurs, who marched down the field and drew first blood. The first points in NDA history came from a 3 point over scored by Montreal forward Pierre LeStrange. Five minutes later, the Heroes' Corky Liebowitz fist balled the first six point goal, giving New York a three point lead. From that point on, the Heroes scored an additional 22 unanswered points. In the second half, the Voyageurs fought back with a rally of their own, but in the end, the Heroes would be the heroes of the day. 44-29 was the final score, with the Heroes winning on their home field.

After beating the Albany Trappers at the Polo Grounds the following week, the Heroes went on a three game losing streak, bowing out to Brooklyn, Toronto and Buffalo. Staring at elimination from the postseason right in the face, the Heroes knew they had to beat Montreal at Delorimier Stadium to stay in the running for a Frosty Mug berth. After escaping Montreal victorious, the Heroes won the last two games on their schedule, making a clean sweep of Albany and splitting their regular season series with Brooklyn.

In Cleveland, the Mad Hatters turned out to be a huge hit despite most of the city's attention focused on the Indians clinching the American League pennant and the Browns' continued dominance of the AAFC. Forward Art Tempest led the NDA in scoring, averaging ten overs per game, while goalie Seymour "Big Cat" Lawrence led the league in points allowed. But they weren't without help. An opportunistic defense led by fullback Homer Hitchcock and a solid midfield with Butch Witkowski and Leo Rothstein at the wings, the Mad Hatters lost only once the entire regular season. That lone setback came in a heartbreaker at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on May 15 against a mediocre Voyageur squad, compounded with Hitchcock's ejection early in the first half for breaking the nose of Montreal forward Gaston Lapointe.

After winning their first game against the Brooklyn Coasters, it was all downhill from there for the Albany Trappers. They would ultimately finish 1948 with a 1-9 record and a mountain of debt. Joe Van Allen was forced to put the franchise for sale, but nobody was interested. The Trappers players spent the last three weeks of the season without being paid, and as a result, at least half of the Trapper squad refused to board the train to Montreal for what proved to be their final game against the Voyageurs. Under an overcast sky on June 26, Montreal was forced to send some of their bench warmers to Albany's bench for both teams to have enough players for a game that turned out to be a low scoring blowout at Delorimier. Full Forward Jean-Luc Fournier fist-balled the last six points to nail Albany's coffin, helping his Voyageurs beat the Trappers 26 to 4.

Two weeks later, the Albany Trappers folded. Months afterwards, the NDA awarded a franchise to Cincinnati, which will be called the Monarchs.

Eastern Division
New York Heroes 6-4
Brooklyn Coasters 5-5

Montreal Voyageurs 4-6
Albany Trappers 1-9

Western Division
Cleveland Mad Hatters 9-1
Toronto Titans 8-2

Buffalo Lakers 4-6
Chicago Gaels 2-8

Playoff teams in BOLD


New York Heroes defeated the Brooklyn Coasters 41 to 31 at the Polo Grounds to claim the Eastern crown. Meanwhile, the West was won in Cleveland by the Mad Hatters, who were given their biggest test of the season against the Titans. Ernie Ward of Toronto and Cleveland's Homer Hitchcock exchanged words throughout the game, but the refs managed to keep the game calm at a time when fights were a common occurrence during most NDA games.

Cleveland Municipal Stadium
July 10, 1948

By virtue of their higher win total, the Mad Hatters were more than happy to host the first ever Frosty Mug in Cleveland. Over 27,000 showed up to Cleveland Municipal Stadium, making it the highest single game attendance for the NDA this year. The Mad Hatters struck first with a six point goal, but it took the Heroes' attackers a minute or two to even the score. The game would turn out to be a gritty slugfest with the Big Cat not allowing too many New York scores. On the attack, the Mad Hatters amassed six behinds and nine overs to lead 36 to 22 with 17 minutes left to play. With the Heroes chipping away at Cleveland's lead, one big save was all the Mad Hatters needed to win. Down 36-32 with time running out, the Heroes needed a six point goal to win the game. After the Mad Hatters were whistled for a defensive foul, Heroes right wing Jack Sawicki inbounded the ball at Cleveland's quarter line with Corky Liebowitz making the catch for New York. Pursued by Cleveland halfback Bob Horvath, Liebowitz was forced to throw the ball too soon, and the pass intended for Abner Matthews was broken up by the Mad Hatters' seldom used nickelback George Bianchi. Seventy minutes of drama ended with the Mad Hatters clinching the very first Frosty Mug in front of the Cleveland faithful.

Final score:
Cleveland Mad Hatters 36
New York Heroes 32

Big Cat Lawrence and George Bianchi
(Both with the Mad Hatters)​
1948-49 Offseason
The Albany Trappers, as previously mentioned, folded shortly after a disatrous 1948 campaign.

To maintain an eight team structure, the league adds the Cincinnati Monarchs for the 1949 season. The new team will play their home games at Crosley Field, home to the MLB Reds.

The Brooklyn Coasters, who bled money throughout 1948, may not make it through the 1949 campaign unless the team is sold soon.
Coincidentally, I had a weird idea for an AH sport that would require no equipment at all:

A player on each team is given the role of the "ball", and their goal is to reach the opposite end of the field without being tackled or touched (depending on how rough you want the game to be) by a player of the other team; both "balls" start running towards the other end of the field simultaneously but, when one of them is tackled/touched, the game doesn't stop, the other "ball" being free to keep running while the tackled/touched one becomes just another player until their counterpart is taken out or scores by reaching their end of the field; then, another player in each team is given their role, while the previous "balls" take the field as normal players.

The origin of the game could be that a football/rugby/soccer player forgot the ball at home and their friends made them be the ball instead. :p
Coincidentally, I had a weird idea for an AH sport that would require no equipment at all:

A player on each team is given the role of the "ball", and their goal is to reach the opposite end of the field without being tackled or touched (depending on how rough you want the game to be) by a player of the other team; both "balls" start running towards the other end of the field simultaneously but, when one of them is tackled/touched, the game doesn't stop, the other "ball" being free to keep running while the tackled/touched one becomes just another player until their counterpart is taken out or scores by reaching their end of the field; then, another player in each team is given their role, while the previous "balls" take the field as normal players.

The origin of the game could be that a football/rugby/soccer player forgot the ball at home and their friends made them be the ball instead. :p
1949 Season
1949 NDA Season

On April 30, 1949, the expansion Cincinnati Monarchs played the first game of their existence at Crosley Field. Their opponent was the defending world champion Cleveland Mad Hatters, leading to the start of the Ohio Derby. Forward Cecil Graham, a British expatriate, kicked a three point over for the first points in Monarchs history. Cincinnati would upset the Mad Hatters 32-22. After that meeting, injuries would sink the Mad Hatters to second place in the West. Cincinnati meanwhile, would win only three more games, enduring those same old expansion blues.

The team hit hardest by injuries were the Toronto Titans. Ernie Ward, the man who felt he had so much to prove, sustained a devastating knee injury against the Voyageurs at Delorimier Stadium. That injury would put the Titans on a tailspin for the remainder of the season. Without their captain, the Titans dropped the next seven games after starting strong at 2-1.

With Ernie Ward on injured reserve and the Titans dropping to the basement, that opened the East to a three way tug of war. New York and Montreal had plenty of chances, but in the end, the Brooklyn Coasters bucked the odds and improved from their 5-5 record last year to finish with the best record in the NDA. In a season where the Coasters drew only 5,000 per home game at Ebbets Field, the fans that did show up got to see an exciting attack spearheaded by forward and rookie sensation Chet O'Donnell.

Eastern Division
Brooklyn Coasters 8-2
Montreal Voyageurs 5-5

New York Heroes 4-6
Toronto Titans 2-8

Western Division
Chicago Gaels 7-3
Cleveland Mad Hatters 5-5

Buffalo Lakers 5-5
Cincinnati Monarchs 4-6

Playoff teams in BOLD

1949 Playoffs

East Final

Brooklyn Coasters 32
Montreal Voyageurs 29

Ebbets Field
July 9, 1949

The Coasters entertained the Voyageurs at Ebbets Field. It was on this stage that O'Donnell put on another scoring clinic, but he wasn't alone. The Coasters' top flight midfielders Duane Cannon, Gus McPhail and Buddy Fox made several key blocks to keep the tackle count to a bare minimum on each Coaster drive. Montreal fought back after trailing 24-3 in the first half, but their final drive ended with tackle number six just inches short of the Brooklyn quarter line. Voyageurs midfielder Thierry St Louis tried to wriggle out of the grasp of Coasters nickelback Howie Kowalchuk, but to no avail.

West Final
Chicago Gaels 44
Cleveland Mad Hatters 41
Soldier Field
July 10, 1949

Brady O'Hanlon and Lewis Marshall came through for the Gaels. Marshall amassed seven tackles and two takeaways to keep the game close. However, the real hero of the day for Chicago was full forward Bob Shields, who lit up Mad Hatters fullback Homer Hitchcock to set up O'Hanlon's game winning over with just seconds to play. When the game ended, fans ran on to the field to congratulate the Gaels. Now it was on to Brooklyn for a much bigger prize.

1949 Frosty Mug
July 16, 1949
Ebbets Field

Hours before the game, the Coasters locker room received some devastating news. The team's owner, Ira Finkelman, couldn't afford to keep losing money. Unless he can find a buyer in Brooklyn, the team would be sold and moved elsewhere. On the field, the Coasters tried to keep a happy face for the crowd as they trotted out from what was normally the Dodgers' tunnel. The crowd at Ebbets Field for this year's Frosty Mug was 10% shorter than what the Mad Hatters drew at last year's championship at the Mistake by the Lake.

The few who showed up to cheer the Coasters on tried very hard to fight back tears, as this game could be the last time they would see their beloved team.

The Coasters did not allow a single six point goal through much of the game, but Chicago was able to score enough overs to only trail 30-27 with a minute and a half to play. Things were going pretty well for the Coasters, until Howie Kowalchuk was whistled for a defensive foul. That set up Brady O'Hanlon's penalty shot, which resulted in Chicago's lone six point goal in the entire game. That goal also helped clinch the Frosty Mug for the Gaels, and O'Hanlon was named the game's MVP.

Final score: Gaels 33 - Coasters 30
1950 Season
1950 NDA Season

During the 1949-50 offseason, the Brooklyn Coasters were sold to Philadelphia interests who moved the club to the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia owners, boxing promoters by trade, changed the team's nickname from Coasters to Brawlers. The team's logo would change too; from a block letter B to a pair of boxing gloves mounted on a Keystone.

Newsreel footage of the 1949 Frosty Mug has helped generate more interest in Driveball from coast to coast, but the NDA circuit was still confined to the midwest and northeast at the moment. In February of 1950, the NDA held two exhibition games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In the first exhibition game, the New York Heroes would lose to the Cleveland Mad Hatters in a 33-31 heart-breaker. The Heroes trailed late and a six point goal that could've won the game for New York was waived off due to an offensive foul. In the second exhibition game, the newly christened Philadelphia Brawlers took the defending world champion Chicago Gaels on a 26 to 18 ride. The Brawlers took advantage of the new six tackle rule by stopping most of the Gaels' drives deep in Chicago's defensive zone. The Brawlers also limited the Gaels' trips to the attack zone to just six overs to account for the Gael's 18 points.

The Philadelphia Brawlers made their official debut on April 8, 1950 at Franklin Field. On that day, the Brawlers hosted the New York Heroes, and a new rivalry was born. It would be a cocky, brash rookie forward named Jimmy Pendleton who would score the first points in Brawlers history, fist balling a six point goal early in the first half. Center Elroy Schroeder, acquired from the Buffalo Lakers, assisted Pendleton on additional scores later on. Goalie Dom D'Amato recorded 35 saves while splitting time with Vance McAdoo. The Brawlers would ultimately win 47 to 22, on their way to a 7-3 record.

In the Western Division, both of the previous Frosty Mug champions would prove to be the biggest disappointments in the NDA this year, while the second year Cincinnati Monarchs showed signs of dramatic improvement from last year. The sad sack Buffalo Lakers made several key trades that proved justified. The Lakers acquired Howie Kowalchuk from the Brawlers in exchange for Schroeder. Also coming to Buffalo was former Hero Corky Liebowitz, who helped solidify the Lakers' attack. Finishing 6-4 in 1950, the Lakers still have work to do if they want to become a Frosty Mug contender.

1950 NDA Postseason

Eastern Division Championship
The Brawlers steamrolled the Titans in a game in which the Brawlers did not allow a single six point goal. Dom D'Amato played what might very well be the game of his life, recording 62 saves and giving up only three overs and one behind. This year, Titans captain Ernie Ward had come back from the scary injury he sustained in '49, but this playoff could be a sign he may not be the same player as he was.

Brawlers 30 - Titans 9

Western Division Championship
The Brawlers may have won the hearts of the City of Brotherly Love, but the Monarchs set out to prove they were kings of the Queen City. After giving up a six point goal early, the Monarchs recovered quickly, with a six point goal of their own by Cecil Graham to tie the game. With the game tied at 15 at halftime, Center Kerry Hennessy calmly conducted the Monarchs' attack like an orchestra. Cincinnati would score 21 additional points in the second half. Buffalo could only manage one more over in the last five minutes, setting the stage for the final showdown between the NDA's two best teams at Crosley Field the following week.

Monarchs 35 - Lakers 18

1950 Frosty Mug
June 24, 1950
Crosley Field
Cincinnati, Ohio

Halfway through the first half, the Monarchs drew first blood with a six point goal by second year attacker Oscar Putnam. Philly answered back with a Jimmy Pendleton goal to tie the game at 6. For the rest of the first half, the Brawlers had been in control, leading 21 to 12 at halftime. In the second half, trailing 24 to 15, the Monarchs made a valiant comeback, tightening their defense, and turning takeaways into points to pull to within 3. With just 10 seconds left and down to their last tackle, the Monarchs needed only three points to tie. Kerry Hennesy's desperation kick from the Brawlers' quarter line bounced in front of Philadelphia goalie Dom D'Amato, and slipped through his fingers. D'Amato tried to reach for the ball, but Monarchs' forward Angelo Falcone kicked the ball into the net for the winning goal. The Monarchs' 27 to 24 win gave Cincinnati its first sports championship since the Reds won the World Series ten years earlier.

Monarchs 27 - Brawlers 24
1950-51 Offseason
1950-51 Offseason

As television was becoming more popular, it was inevitable that the game of Driveball would hop on the bandwagon of this fairly new medium. Last year, WGN-TV began broadcasting the Gaels at home and on the road to TV sets up and down the Chicago market. With the Cubs playing exclusively during the daytime, the Gaels shifted their home schedule for 4pm bounce offs to avoid time slot conflicts.

This year, WNBT, New York's NBC affiliate, has paid the Heroes $2,000 USD for the rights to televise Heroes games for this year and next year. At a time when you could only watch your favorite team when they were on the road, the Gaels and Heroes hope televising home games within their markets can generate more interest in Driveball.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will pay $1,700 CDN each to the Toronto Titans and Montreal Voyageurs to televise both of the Titans and Voyageurs' regular season meetings, with the promise of a bonus should either squad reach the postseason. Commentary on both games will be bilingual.

The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) will carry this year's Frosty Mug, making it the first time the championship game will be shown coast-to-coast. Previous Frosty Mugs were shown only in the immediate markets of the participating teams.​
1951 Season
1951 NDA Season

In New York, the Heroes returned to respectability after being humiliated last year by the upstart Philadelphia Brawlers. Revenge against their upstart tormentors from the Delaware Valley may have been sweet, but for the Heroes, only a championship would be sweeter.

After a two-year freefall following their Frosty Mug triumph in 1948, the Mad Hatters also made a return to the postseason.

The revenue the Gaels are now generating from their TV deal with WGN proved to be more than enough to offset the drop-off in ticket sales following a second consecutive year in which the Gaels finished dead last in their division. A couple of questionable trades were to blame. First was the trade of #1 draft pick Whitey McDougal after team owner Cubby Dempsey refused to make the young forward the highest paid NDA player. Once McDougal was shipped off to New York in exchange for midfielders Sidney Klein and former Albany Trapper Bernie Berman, the Gaels made another bad move. Brady O'Hanlon's request for a pay raise was shot down by Dempsey, who then sent the hero of the Gaels' 1949 Frosty Mug victory to Buffalo in exchange for an aging, beat-up Corky Liebowitz and an unapologetic, bigoted Dick Osborne.

As of 1951, the Montreal Voyageurs remain as the last NDA team that has yet to sign its first African American player.

New York Heroes 10-4
Philadelphia Brawlers 7-7

Toronto Titans 6-8
Montreal Voyageurs 5-9

Cleveland Mad Hatters 10-4
Buffalo Lakers 8-6

Cincinnati Monarchs 6-8
Chicago Gaels 4-10

Playoff teams in BOLD

NDA Playoffs

At the Mistake by the Lake, the Mad Hatters blew out the Lakers in convincing fashion by the score of 45 to 22. In the other playoff, the Brawlers hung tough against the Heroes. But it would be New York who would knock out the defending division champs in a 32 to 27 decision. That set up a rematch of the '48 Mug.

1951 Frosty Mug
July 21, 1951
Polo Grounds

Big Cat Lawrence was on his way to another unbelievable game in net for the Mad Hatters. However, early in the 2nd half, with the Mad Hatters up by 10 points, Lawrence sustained an ankle sprain after jumping to stop a would-be over. For the remainder of the game, Cleveland called upon rookie Les Waldron to be their last line of defense. For the Heroes, Whitey McDougal proved to be the answer they needed after finishing 4-6 last season. It was McDougal who took advantage of Waldron's slowness to react, using misdirection and stutter steps to set up two consecutive six point goals to put New York ahead 15-13. A defensive foul called against George Bianchi set up the winning over by McDougal's teammate Hal Finnegan. It would be the first time the Frosty Mug was televised coast to coast. In Los Angeles, it would be watched at the home of a businessman who leads a group of like minded partners looking to bring Driveball to the west coast.

Heroes 18 - Mad Hatters 13
1951-52 Offseason
1951-52 Offseason

The Montreal Voyageurs would be sold to Milwaukee interests. The maroon and gray uniforms would change to orange and black, thanks to new team sponsor Harley-Davidson. The team's name would be anglicized to Voyagers in honor of Pere Marquette.

The NDA will have plenty of company as a new league will form and go head-to-head for the '54 season.

For the 1952 season, CBS will pay $30,000 carry the all of the New York Heroes' games, home and away, to fans coast-to-coast for the full season. CBS has also committed to broadcasting the 1952 Frosty Mug for a nationwide audience.

WBEN-TV in Buffalo and WROC in Rochester have each signed a TV contract with the Buffalo Lakers.

In the past year, advertisers have began to warm up to buying ads during Driveball telecasts. The most generous sponsorship dollars came from The Coca-Cola Company and RJ Reynolds, the latter coming at a time when cigarette ads were more widespread.

Starting next year, plastic helmets manufactured by Riddell for the National Football League, will be phased into the National Driveball Alliance.

The businessmen across America that were snubbed in favor of new Milwaukee Voyageurs owner Wolfgang Herzog are reaching out to Spencer Holbrook in Los Angeles about the possibility of forming a rival league which could start as early as 1954. For NDA Commissioner Tobias Irwin, the pressure is on to expand the league.​
1952 Season
1952 NDA Season

1952 marked the fifth season of the National Driveball Alliance, a milestone that helped the game disprove skeptics who didn't think the game would last more than two years. So far in the five years since the NDA first arrived on the scene, attendance has grown thanks to the curiosity factor that still surrounds the game. Despite still being a fairly new medium, television has worked wonders in generating interest in Driveball across the United States and Canada.

With WBEN being the only TV station in Buffalo at the time, the Lakers somehow managed to pick up airtime, which will prove critical to their survival in that market. A local Pepsi-Cola bottling branch and a selection of banks that would later make up the Marine Midland financial conglomerate are among the Lakers' corporate sponsors. Another sponsor is Rich Products, a local food company.

The biggest story of the 1952 appeared to be Milwaukee welcoming the Voyageurs with open arms. In their new home, the Voyageurs welcomed their new geographic arch rival Chicago Gaels to State Fair Park on April 5, 1952. Rookie forward Donald Hardwick scored the Voyageurs' first points in Milwaukee, a three point over in the first five minutes of the game, which the Voyageurs would go on to win 15 to 13. The winning over in that game came off the foot of fellow forward Kendall O'Connor, acquired from the Heroes in an offseason trade. The Gaels would go on to reclaim the Western Division crown while the Voyageurs managed to stay at .500 and win six more games.

Despite missing the postseason, the Voyageurs set a new NDA attendance record, averaging 30,000 to each home game even though the Dairy Bowl at State Fair Park is only temporary. Next year, the Voyageurs will move into the larger County Stadium, with the city's main goal of attracting an MLB team well within reach.

Philadelphia Brawlers 11-3
Buffalo Lakers 7-7
New York Heroes 4-10
Toronto Titans 1-13

Chicago Gaels 11-3
Cleveland Mad Hatters 10-4
Milwaukee Voyageurs 7-7
Cincinnati Monarchs 5-9

1952 NDA Playoffs

Eastern Division Championship at Franklin Field
Jimmy Pendleton guided the Brawlers' attack against a Lakers squad that many feel wasn't supposed to be there. It seemed anticlimactic for the Brawlers to curb stomp the Lakers, rather than see the Brawlers outwit the hated Heroes, or "Zeroes" if you're a Philly fan. Fullback Norm Griffith was supposed to be the Lakers' last line of defense, but Pendleton ran around and through him to account for most of Philly's scoring. Of course, Pendelton had plenty of backup. Lloyd Richardson and Horatio Trout, both acquired from Cincinnati, solidified a Brawler defense that was besieged by injury last season. Del Putnam and Andy Sharpsteen made several key blocks to open lanes for Pendelton to score at will

Brawlers 36 - Lakers 9

Western Division Championship at Soldier Field
Chicago was once again the site of another Western Division showdown. The Gaels got on the board first. Corky Liebowitz and Bernie Berman, both of whom left for dead by their former teams, helped keep the tackle count low to set up a six point goal by Mel Dreyfuss. Nobody would have predicted that score would be the only six pointer the Gaels would record the entire game. The usually reliable Homer Hitchcock took an elbow to the jaw from Berman on that play and had to leave the game. In the regular season, Gaels coach Luke Duffy had moved Berman from midfield to attack to better utilize his blocking ability on scoring situations. Mad Hatters coach Lyle Waring moved George Bianchi from halfback to fullback with team doctors discouraging Hitchcock from returning to the field.

Cleveland goalie Big Cat Lawrence, fully healed from a scary ankle sprain in last year's Frosty Mug loss to New York, returned to the starting lineup 5 weeks into the 1952 season. His backup Les Waldron faced harsh criticism from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which blamed Waldron for the Hatters' 1-3 start. The Big Cat was slightly slower with his reflexes, but he knew he could count on George Bianchi, Wendell Peters and rookie halfback Alex Montague to turn Gaels attackers away.

Cleveland hung tough well into the second half. Down 12-3 early in the 2nd half, the Mad Hatters needed a six pointer to hang on. They would get a huge lift when Chicago defender Lou Darby was whistled for a defensive foul, setting up the six pointer which came off the foot of Art Tempest. On the ensuing possession, Montague intercepted a pass intended for Dreyfuss on the Mad Hatters' quarter line. That set up the score that ultimately won the game for the Hatters, a six pointer fist balled by Milt Riley with four and a half minutes to go.

The Mad Hatters took the lead 15-12, but needed to make an important defensive stand to advance to their third Frosty Mug appearance. With Chicago down to their final tackle and having barely crossed Cleveland's quarter line, Mel Dreyfuss fired a desperation pass to Corky Liebowitz to set up a possible six pointer, but it was not meant to be. Bianchi, who made a huge play to help the Hatters win the first Mug in 1948, came through again for Cleveland in 1952.

Mad Hatters 15 - Gaels 12

Fifth Frosty Mug
Franklin Field
Philadelphia, PA

The two best teams in Driveball convened at Franklin Field, where the Brawlers' faithful would be at full throat. Halfway through the first half, Jimmy Pendelton would put the Brawlers on the board first with a three point over. But it took the Mad Hatters only a minute to connect with Milt Riley to tie the game. From then on, Cleveland took charge and refused to let up. Towards the end of the first and well into the second half, the Mad Hatters scored three additional goals to pull away 21 to 3. Philly responded with two goals of their own to pull within six. With the Hatters up 21-15 late in the game, Pendelton and George Bianchi were both ejected for fighting. Now it was up to the sidekicks to wear the capes in this game. Andy Sharpsteen kicked a six pointer to tie the game with just five minutes to go, but the Hatters still had plenty of time for one last score. Once Art Tempest got a hold of the ball, he would kick the game winning over to give Cleveland its second Frosty Mug, making them the NDA's first official dynasty.

Mad Hatters 24 - Brawlers 21
1952-53 Offseason
1952-53 Offseason

The National Driveball Alliance at long last had gained a bit of respect from the same sportswriters who were skeptical of its viability just a few years earlier. Just as the Cleveland Mad Hatters became the first NDA team to win the Frosty Mug more than once, trouble for the NDA loomed in a federal courtroom, where the patents for the game held by Chicago Gaels owner Cubby Dempsey were terminated by a judge who determined the patents were made for anti-competitive purposes.

Now, the door has cracked wide open to rival leagues to try to challenge the NDA. One such league is propping up thanks to Hollywood attorney Spencer Holbrook and Houston oilman Cotton Leavelle. The rival league, which does not have a name yet, hopes to take the field with ten or twelve teams split into two divisions, starting in the spring and summer of 1954.

Prospective rival league owners

Cotton Leavelle: 32 years old. Oil man with a desire for a team in Houston.

Spencer Holbrook: 51 years old. General counsel for Walt Disney Productions. Wants a team in Los Angeles.

Mickey O'Hare: 47 years old. Wants a team in Boston.

Jonas Goldman: 62 years old. Owner of a real estate firm based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the moment, Pittsburgh is home to the NFL Steelers and MLB Pirates.

Nelson Shore: 53 years old. Owner of an insurance firm based in Hartford, Connecticut. Head of a prospective ownership group looking to bring an NDA franchise to New England, albeit based in Hartford rather than Boston.

Jesse Lindholm: 36 years old. Heir to his family's wheat fortune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city is currently home to the NBA Lakers.

Russell Darby: 63 years old. Automobile tycoon based in Detroit, Michigan. The city is currently home to the NHL Red Wings, MLB Tigers and NFL Lions.

Irwin MacPhail: 49 years old. Investment broker from Newark, New Jersey, with a desire to field a second Driveball team in the tri-state area to appease disenfranchised Brooklyn Coaster fans. Both of them.

Pappy Maynard: 64 years old. Movie theatre owner with four locations in Denver, Colorado.

Humberto Ricci: 46 years old. Head of a winemaking family based in Sacramento, California.

Buzz Fitzsimmons: 34 years old. Billionaire socialite in San Francisco, California.

Eddie Sangster: 42 years old. Scrap metal tycoon based in Oakland, California.

Andrew Sorensen: 44 years old. Lumber tycoon based in Seattle, Washington

Howard Poindexter: 70 years old. Retired Naval officer, based in San Diego, California.

Jacob Lieber: 52 years old. Grocery store magnate based in Washington, DC.

Bubba W Sherman: 50 years old. Barbecue restaurateur based in Kansas City, MO.

Obadiah "Obie" Coolidge: 38 years old. Dr Pepper franchisee based in Dallas, Texas.

Harold Patrick Kingsley: 32 years old. Heir to his family's beer and soda pop fortunes, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Rupert Trebilcox: 50 years old. Seafood restaurateur based in Portland, Oregon

Kenneth Olszewski: 46 years old. Meat processing tycoon based in Baltimore, Maryland.​
1953 Season
1953 NDA Season

Philadelphia Brawlers 8-6
New York Heroes 7-7

Toronto Titans 6-8
Buffalo Lakers 5-9

Cleveland Mad Hatters 11-3
Chicago Gaels 10-4

Cincinnati Monarchs 6-8
Milwaukee Voyagers 3-11

Playoff teams in BOLD.

Later this year, the DuMont television network will carry the National Football League coast to coast for the full season. In the meantime, DuMont is in the running for the television rights to the newly formed Continental Driveball Alliance. The main competition for DuMont for the CDA TV contract are NBC and the upstart American Broadcasting Company (ABC). After the 1953 season, the NDA's current TV deal with CBS will expire. CBS grossly underestimated Driveball's long term potential when they signed a deal which was basically the New York Heroes on CBS plus the Frosty Mug. It is likely the NDA will cut a deal with another network should CBS fail to make an offer that could equalize the revenues the Heroes are currently enjoying with the rest of the NDA teams.

ABC, the underdog of the bunch, came about as NBC spun off its "Blue" radio network and the Paramount movie theatre chain was forced to break off from the Paramount movie studio. In its early years, ABC was on the brink until United Paramount Theatres chairman Leonard Goldenson bought the radio and TV network and nursed it to better health.

The uneventful 1953 NDA season was mostly overshadowed by the excitement surrounding the rival CDA, which will begin play in 1954. Predictably, the NDA owners reacted with negative vitriol towards the new league. Underneath it all, players like journeyman forward Corky Liebowitz see an opportunity for bigger paydays. At the moment, salaries in Driveball tied with the NHL as being the lowest in North American professional sports.

1953 NDA Playoffs

East Semifinal at Franklin Field
New York Heroes 18
Philadelphia Brawlers 17

Tied at 17 late in the game, a one point behind from rookie forward Tom Bertolini was all that New York needed to advance to the Frosty Mug once again. When the Heroes come into Philly, it is usually a bloodbath with broken noses and knocked out teeth on both sides. This time, the officials did a good job keeping this meeting clean.

West Semifinal at Cleveland Stadium
Chicago Gaels 24
Cleveland Mad Hatters 36

The Mad Hatters make another Frosty Mug appearance with veteran George Bianchi once again holding down the fort for Cleveland. Chicago had plenty of chances to make a comeback, but once again, the Luck of the Irish ran out on the Gaels much too soon due to injuries.

Sixth Frosty Mug at Cleveland Stadium
New York Heroes 18
Cleveland Mad Hatters 36

The Mistake by the Lake has been a good luck charm for the Mad Hatters, who currently hold the best homefield advantage in the NDA. Every Mad Hatter home game this year has been a very, merry un-birthday for the Cleveland faithful. All of this on-field success adds fuel to owner Bruno Scarfiotti's goal of running the Mad Hatter franchise successfully for a period of time in order to achieve his bigger ambition of buying the Browns from Mickey McBride, the Indians from William R Daley, or to bring other pro sports to the city.

This year's Frosty Mug was a snoozer to say the least, with the Mad Hatters capturing the Mug for the third time in six seasons. The Heroes were not even supposed to make it this far, and they proved they simply couldn't stand a chance. For Cleveland, Art Tempest anchoring the attack and George Bianchi leading the defense were far too powerful for New York to overcome.​
1953-54 Offseason
The New York Times
October 7, 1953

Driveball arrived on the American sports scene five years ago. In 1948, not many people believed a blend of American, Irish and Australian football would last more than a year or so. Now, the sport of Driveball is the fastest growing sport in the last five years. Yesterday, the American Broadcasting Company, which recently merged with United Paramount Theatres, signed a deal with the newly formed Continental Driveball Alliance. The deal runs from Spring/Summer 1954 until Spring/Summer '59 and calls for each of the twelve CDA clubs to receive $8,500 annually. The deal was negotiated by CDA Commissioner Earl White and Los Angeles Jaguars founder Spencer Holbrook.

Mr Holbrook, a former lawyer for Walt Disney Productions, helped negotiate Walt's exit from his previous theatrical distribution deal with RKO Radio Pictures. Peter Pan was Walt's last cartoon movie under the aforementioned RKO deal. Mr Holbrook was then instrumental in creating the new Buena Vista division, named after the Burbank street where Walt's studio is located. Walt's first film under the new Buena Vista arm will be The Living Desert, part of the True-Life Adventure film series.

The Colonial Division consists of the Boston Unicorns, Detroit Roadsters, Minnesota Shockers, New Jersey Rogues, Pittsburgh Knights and Washington Commanders. Out west, the Frontier Division is populated by Holbrook's Jaguars, along with the San Francisco Dragons, Denver Mountaineers, Kansas City Rustlers, Dallas Metros and Houston Marshals.

The CDA's inaugural season begins in April of 1954.

1953-54 Offseason

The Los Angeles Jaguars of the upstart CDA make an immediate splash. The Jags wasted no time signing Cleveland Mad Hatters defender George Bianchi to the richest contract in Driveball history. A four year deal worth $24,000, at a time when the best NDA players got as much as $3,000 a year.

In other sports

A year after the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, the St Louis Browns are pulling up stakes and heading for Baltimore. Instead of keeping the pre-existing name and uniforms, the Baltimore club will instead be called the Orioles, a name used by previous teams in the Charm City dating back to the 1880's.​
1954 Season
1954 CDA Season

The inaugural season of the Continental Driveball Alliance began on the evening of April 2, 1954 at Kezar Stadium. It was there that the Los Angeles Jaguars would suffer their only defeat of the regular season at the hands of the hometown San Francisco Dragons. Both teams would eventually go down different paths as the season wore on.

The CDA would introduce the 30 second shot clock to Driveball, along with a four quarter time structure. Sixteen minute quarters making for a 64 minute game, rather than the NDA rule of 35 minute halves for a 70 minute game. Both would prove beneficial towards making games run faster.

George Bianchi, formerly of the Cleveland Mad Hatters, joined the Los Angeles Jaguars for what was then the richest contract in a young game that was enjoying rapid growth. He was not alone. Bernie Berman and Corky Liebowitz, both of whom journeymen in the NDA, found greater stability for their careers in the CDA. Berman joined the Washington Commanders, with head coach Jackie Ulrich hoping Berman can bring veteran leadership to DC. Liebowitz, a native of Newark, joined the Rogues, hoping to disprove the New York Heroes, who released him under questionable circumstances.

The standout rookie for the CDA is Dallas Metros forward Muggsy Russo. After being cut by the New York Heroes without playing a single minute last year, Russo's stock rose to astronomical levels in Dallas. In his first game at the Cotton Bowl, Russo accounted for the first points in Metros' history, a six point goal that flew past the Marshals' slow-to-react goalie Bert Gilmour.

Los Angeles Jaguars 11-1
Dallas Metros 10-2
Houston Marshals 5-7
Denver Mountaineers 4-8
Kansas City Rustlers 4-8
San Francisco Dragons 3-9


Detroit Roadsters 8-4
Pittsburgh Knights 8-4
Washington Commanders 8-4
New Jersey Rogues 7-5
Minnesota Shockers 3-9
Boston Unicorns 1-11

Colonial Wild Card at Forbes Field
Pittsburgh 24 Washington 18

Colonial Semifinal at Briggs Stadium
Pittsburgh 30 Detroit 15

Frontier Semifinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Dallas 27 Los Angeles 18

Floyd Cup at the Cotton Bowl
July 10, 1954

Muggsy Russo proved he could hold his own against George Bianchi and the Jaguars, but the Dallas Morning News' beat writer doubted Russo could hold the weight of the Metros' attack all by himself. Another rookie forward, Jim Hummel, lifted the Pittsburgh Knights past Washington and Pittsburgh in the playoffs, but the Driveball prognosticators warned fans that Pittsburgh's attack lacked the depth that Russo was blessed with in Dallas.

The Floyd Cup was donated to the CDA by Allen Floyd, a fellow Texas oilman who happened to be a distant cousin of Houston Marshals owner Cotton Leavelle.

After Dallas guard Finn O'Bannon was whistled for a defensive foul, Pittsburgh scored first. For most of the first half, it was a back and forth affair with the Knights taking a three point lead at halftime with an over by Irving Shapiro to make it 18-15 in the Knights' favor. In the second half, Dallas made all the right adjustments and shut Pittsburgh out in the third and fourth quarters. Muggsy Russo provided some key assists to Clyde Young and Frankie De Witt to put the game out of reach for Dallas. 27-15 would be the final score, as the Metros hoisted the Floyd Cup in front of the hootin' and hollerin' Dallas faithful.

Metros 27 - Knights 15

1954 NDA Season

While the CDA exploded onto the sports scene, the NDA tried as much as they could to soldier on. The NDA sneered at the CDA, and the CDA sneered back. However, with many top NDA players having jumped leagues, some sportswriters predict a collapse of the NDA could be imminent.

The Milwaukee Voyagers, now competing with the MLB Braves for the city's entertainment dollars, finished 1954 with the best record in their history. Dwight Taylor, a rookie forward who played running back at the University of Wisconsin, led the charge for the Voyagers.

The Buffalo Lakers make their second playoff appearance in three seasons, thanks in large part to a generous amount of depth in their attack. Spearheading the Lakers attack is forward Nolan Ruffins, who one year ago, was a quarterback at Purdue University. Unable to make an impression on NFL scouts, Ruffins, like many misfits before him, was grateful for a new life in the relatively young game of Driveball.

New York Heroes 12-2
Buffalo Lakers 11-3

Toronto Titans 5-9
Philadelphia Brawlers 4-10

Milwaukee Voyagers 9-5
Cleveland Mad Hatters 7-7

Chicago Gaels 6-8
Cincinnati Monarchs 2-12

*Playoff teams in BOLD.

East Semifinal at the Polo Grounds
Lakers 36 - Heroes 33

Nolan Ruffins recorded two critical assists that helped thrust the Lakers into the Frosty Mug with just 10 minutes left to play. First was an assist to Kenneth Wright to tie the game at 33. The next assist was to Dennis Stephens, who kicked the winning 3 point over to put the game away with just two and a half minutes left.

West Semifinal at County Stadium
Voyagers 21 - Mad Hatters 15

Dwight Taylor had plenty of help in this game. The Voyager defense proved to be dependable in clutch situations. Milwaukee goalie Vernon Stallings made several key saves to that protected the Voyagers' lead in the first half, but one would-be save was controversially taken away from him. Early in the second half, Vern jumped up to stop a would be over, but a questionable call against his Voyager teammate Archie Ruth set up a tying over by Cleveland forward Bill Frick. With the game tied at 15 apiece, much of the second half was dominated by defense, until Dwight Taylor made an assist to Clint Kelsey to set up the winning six point goal.

Frosty Mug at War Memorial Stadium
Voyagers 12 - Lakers 9

The 1954 Frosty Mug proved to be another defensive slugfest. The low scoring in this year's championship game was pointed to as a reason for the rival league's adoption of the thirty second shot clock. Vernon Stallings of the Voyagers and Larry Pence of the Lakers were spectacular between the pipes, but there could only be one winner. A late defensive foul called against the Lakers helped set up Dwight Taylor's three point over to win the game for the Voyagers.​
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1954-55 Offseason
In Other Sports


Fears of Philadelphia's American League team deserting the City of Brotherly Love were all but vaporized last week. The sale of the Athletics from the Mack family to local automobile dealer John Crisconi was approved by six of the eight American League owners with Connie Mack's son Roy and Baltimore Orioles co-owner Clarence Miles being the key swing votes. Attendance and on-field performance for the A's had been deteriorating since the club's halcyon days with players like Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove. As the years went on, it was becoming more and more evident that Connie Mack's better days as manager and owner of the franchise were behind him.

Crisconi will have a tough road ahead of him, with the National League Phillies being four years removed from a season in which outfielder Richie Ashburn led the Phils to a two game lead over the Brooklyn Dodgers to grab the NL pennant. Shibe Park, home to both of Philadelphia's baseball teams, is an aging facility and the city is scrambling to woo both teams with a more modern replacement. Apart from the Phillies, the NFL Eagles and NDA Brawlers have each surpassed the A's at the gate. Television, which the Mack family was reluctant to enter, could be a new revenue stream for the A's under Crisconi's ownership. At this moment, the Phillies are in negotiations with KYW-TV. The A's meanwhile are in talks with WCAU.

The Sporting News; November 1, 1954

1954-55 Offseason


In 1954, the National Driveball Alliance saw a slight decrease in revenue thanks to the sudden arrival of the Continental circuit. Generous television revenue from the American Broadcasting Company has all but guaranteed the CDA will be a thorn on the NDA's side for the time being. The CDA's boast of twelve clubs stretching coast to coast caught the NDA by surprise. Now, the older circuit, founded in 1948, finds itself playing catch-up.

This March, both leagues will stage a pre-season exhibition game between the Boston Unicorns and Chicago Gaels at Miami's Burdine Stadium, normally home to the annual Orange Bowl game. Not only will this serve as Florida's first taste of the fastest growing sport in America, but it will also serve as a test to gauge whether Miami could be capable of supporting an NDA club. Rumors indicate Miami could be granted a Driveball team as early as 1958.

Today, the Blue Devils of Duke University face the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Burdine for the 21st edition of the famed college football bowl game.

The New York Times; January 1, 1955​

Interleague Preseason Game

March 19, 1955
Burdine Stadium
Miami, FL

Boston Unicorns (CDA)
Chicago Gaels (NDA)

Miami's first taste of Driveball came in the form of a preseason game played on the Saturday after St Patrick's Day. The Boston Unicorns and Chicago Gaels were welcomed with open arms as they trotted onto the field of Burdine Stadium. The game would be played mostly under CDA rules with the Unicorns acting as the home team, with four quarters, six tackles per possession and the 30 second shot clock. The Gaels found it hard to adjust at first, making several mental mistakes that handed the first half to the Unicorns. With Boston up 18-9 to start the second half, the Gaels tried to rally back with rookie center Butch Dorfman orchestrating a new look Chicago attack. Rookie forward Allen McCoy added an over to extend the Unicorns' lead 21-15 after three quarters. Chicago kept fighting back with a six point goal by Marty Ravenscroft to tie the game, but Boston would regain the lead with an over from Fred Hughes. Second year Unicorn defender Otto Hirsch made a key stop to protect Boston's 24-21 lead with just five seconds left, preserving Boston's win.​
1955 Season
1955 Season


New York Heroes 10-4
Toronto Titans 7-7

Buffalo Lakers 6-8
Philadelphia Brawlers 5-9

Milwaukee Voyagers 10-4
Cincinnati Monarchs 8-6

Cleveland Mad Hatters 6-8
Chicago Gaels 4-10

Playoff teams in BOLD

After winning only twice last season, the Cincinnati Monarchs took advantage of more than a few balls bouncing their way. Age is slowly starting to catch up to the dominant team of the decade, the Cleveland Mad Hatters. Cincy acquired forward Abner Waters from the Heroes in the offseason to shore up an attack that failed to score points for much of 1954. While the Monarchs displayed vast improvement, they could only finish no better than second.

The Milwaukee Voyagers held on to the top spot in the West thanks to the heroics of second year captain Dwight Taylor. The Voyagers slipped in attendance behind the MLB Braves at County Stadium. However, the Braves are missing out on the broadcast revenue the Voyagers receive from WTMJ-TV.

New York held on to the top spot in the East for the second year in a row. For the first time, the Heroes and football Giants outdrew the baseball Giants in attendance at the Polo Grounds.

NDA Playoffs

East Final: The Heroes defeat the Titans in an 18-15 defensive struggle in front of the New York faithful.

West Final: Home field advantage works to the Voyagers' advantage, as they trounced the Monarchs 48-15.

Frosty Mug at County Stadium

July 9, 1955

New York Heroes 21 - Milwaukee Voyagers 18
MVP: Charlie Vernon (Heroes)


Washington Commanders 9-3
Boston Unicorns 8-4

New Jersey Rogues 7-5
Minnesota Shockers 7-5
Pittsburgh Knights 3-9
Detroit Roadsters 2-10

Dallas Metros 10-2
Los Angeles Jaguars 7-5
Denver Mountaineers 7-5

Houston Marshals 6-6
San Francisco Dragons 3-9
Kansas City Rustlers 2-10

The wheels came off for the Roadsters this year thanks to devastating injuries impacting their once-potent attack.

After winning only once last season, the Unicorns are a force to be reckoned with in the Colonial division, with only Washington finishing higher in the standings.

Frontier Wild Card at the Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Jaguars 27 - Denver Mountaineers 21

Frontier Final at the Cotton Bowl
Dallas Metros 18 - Los Angeles Jaguars 12

Colonial Final at Griffith Stadium
Boston Unicorns 30 - Washington Commanders 24

Floyd Cup at the Cotton Bowl
July 16, 1955
Dallas Metros 36 - Boston Unicorns 21

Fred Hughes and Otto Hirsch made a valiant effort for Boston, but their performance wasn't enough to stop Muggsy Russo and the Metros from winning their second straight Floyd Cup in front of the Dallas faithful.​
1955-56 Offseason
1955-56 Offseason

St Patrick's Day 1956 saw the CDA's Los Angeles Jaguars maul the NDA's New York Heroes at Miami's Burdine Stadium. The following week, the NDA owners announce they have officially granted an expansion franchise to the city of Miami. Spearheading the ownership group are miniature golf tycoons Douglas (age 44) and Randolph Fenwick (age 41). Under Doug and Randy's leadership, Fenwick Bros Amusements has grown from one franchise in Miami proper, which opened in 1946, to 19 up and down the state of Florida with a 20th about to open in St Petersburg in August '56. With Driveball franchises being the cheapest to purchase during this era, the Fenwick Brothers pay an expansion fee of a measly $7,500, which will come out to much more in later years. The Miami franchise will play its home games starting in the spring of 1958 at Burdine Stadium, home to the annual Orange Bowl.

Not wanting to have an odd number of teams, the NDA will meet after the conclusion of the 1956 season to discuss where the tenth franchise will go. Adding a second Driveball team to Southern California would require the NDA to compensate Jaguars owner Spencer Holbrook should they intend to expand into Los Angeles proper. The NDA can still expand into SoCal in one of two ways. With Anaheim starting to wean itself off of orange and walnut groves thanks to Disneyland, the NDA could base their SoCal franchise over there. As of 1956, a temporary stadium will need to be built in the immediate short term while the city tries to build a permanent facility in hopes of luring NFL and MLB teams.

Another way the NDA could tap into SoCal would be to look further south to San Diego, a medium sized town already known for its zoo and naval port. Balboa Stadium, adjacent to San Diego High School and San Diego City College is readily available, as is the Aztec Bowl on the San Diego State University campus. A third possible venue, Lane Field, is out of the picture as the PCL Padres have declared the only home they've known the last 20 years to be incompatible with their revenue needs. A new Padres ballpark will be built in the city's rural Mission Valley district and should be up and running by 1958.​