Atlantic Coast Football League

The Atlantic Coast Football League (ACFL) was a minor football league that operated from 1962 to 1973. Until 1969, many of its franchises had working agreements with NFL and AFL teams to serve as farm clubs. The league paid a base salary of $100 per game and had 36 players on each active roster.[1]

Atlantic Coast Football League
SportAmerican football
No. of teams6
CountriesUnited States
New England Colonials
Most titlesVirginia Sailors & Pottstown Firebirds (2)

For the first few years, Joe Rosentover served as league president. He had served in the same capacity for the American Football League (formerly the American Association) from 1947 to 1950; a relative, John Rosentover, had run the league from 1936 to 1947. In fact, several of the teams from the AA were revived in the ACFL, including the Providence Steam Roller, Newark Bears and a team in Paterson, New Jersey. By 1968, Rosentover had left the organization and been superseded by commissioner Cosmo Iacavazzi.

In 1965, three of the franchises (the Hartford Charter Oaks, Newark Bears and Springfield Acorns) joined with five teams from the United Football League to create the Continental Football League. The league picked up four franchises from that league when it folded in 1969 (Norfolk Neptunes, Orlando Panthers, Jersey Jays and Indianapolis Capitols); the Neptunes and Panthers were exactly the same teams as the Acorns and Bears respectively, having relocated during their time in the CoFL.

In 1970, the Orlando Panthers signed a husband and wife duo, Steven and Patricia Palinkas, as a kicker and holder respectively. Steven did not make the team, but Patricia did, making her the first female professional football player.[1] Other notable ACFL players included Pro Bowl fullback Marvin Hubbard, league leading running back Mel Meeks, kicker Booth Lusteg, three-time championship winning quarterback Jim "The King" Corcoran, eventual 11-year NFL veteran Bob Tucker, and offensive lineman Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmermann, who shortly after his retirement began an over 40-year career as a sportswriter, much of that time with Sports Illustrated. Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren coached in the league from its launch through 1966. One of the most unique players in league history was DB Kiyo "Doc" Tashiro, a practicing doctor and Harvard alum,[2] who was the oldest player to play in a pro football league when he retired after 1964 season at the age of 47 (his record was later broke by George Blanda in 1975). He played for Newark Bears and Mohawk Valley Falcons from 1962 to 1964.[3]

Most of the ACFL's teams, including all of the teams that had been in the Continental league, folded following the 1971 season. The Hartford Knights and Bridgeport Jets survived, and both moved down to the Seaboard Football League in 1972. Hartford accrued a perfect season in that league in 1972, including several games with margins of victory over 40 points, and after much dissatisfaction with the league announced it was leaving with the intent to reform the ACFL.[4] The ACFL returned for one final season in 1973 with Hartford, Bridgeport, and several teams promoted up from the SFL (which led to a trickle-up that brought Empire Football League teams upward to the SFL to fill the old SFL teams' void). The return, however, was short-lived; the league determined it would not compete with the World Football League and folded after the 1973 season.

Commissioner Cosmo Iacovazzi was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.[5]

Season standings


W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

Atlantic Coast Football League
Paterson Miners 810.889251102Hinchliffe StadiumSal Rosen
Providence Steam Roller 811.88927397City StadiumConnie Pensavalle
Portland Sea Hawks 550.500180168Portland StadiumVuskin Amerigan
Ansonia Black Knights 451.400133147Nolan FieldGene Casey
Stamford Golden Bears 270.22265241Boyle StadiumSam Coppola
Frankfort Falcons 190.10096243Harmon FieldFrank Sanders

Championship games



  1. Associated Press (1970-09-04). "First woman to earn place on pro grid team is also suspended." Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  2. "Doc takes own medicine Work outs, football keep him young".
  3. "IS THERE A DR . TASHIRO ON THE FIELD?". 28 October 1963.
  4. "Hartford quits Seaboard loop." Associated Press (1972-11-23). Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  6. Nauta, Bob (December 19, 1962). "Unique Christmas Gift". The Day. p. 32. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  7. Stetz, Bill (1969). "1969 Atlantic Coast Football League media guide". Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  9. Woods, Mark (2009-10-22). Smith is Pats' UK connection. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  10. "Hudson Valley Football Gets Newburgh Boost". The Evening News. April 18, 1967. Retrieved July 21, 2016.

Further reading

  • Gill, Bob Outsiders II: Minor League and Independent Football 1951-1985 (St. Johann Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-878282-65-1
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