Game program, 25 cents. Get your program here….

In the golden age of pro football you could buy a program to a game for a mere 25 cents or less.  Looking back now, you also got a program that had some pretty fantastic and eye popping artwork to go along with it.  With the cost of inflation over the years I won’t sit here and whine about the high cost of a program nowadays, but I will momentarily wax philosophical about how much I prefer the old pop art program covers of yesteryear to the glossy’s of today.  After all, we are The Vault of American Football and we unabashedly love the older look.

Indeed, the inspiration behind one of our favorite t-shirts came from the 1949 Chicago Hornets football program below.  Unfortunately for the Hornets, there wasn’t enough room in the Windy City for three pro football teams as the Cardinals and Bears of the NFL fought it out for the hearts and minds of the Chicago faithful.  The Hornets of the upstart All American Football Conference would fold after just four years but they sure had a cool logo and uni’s to go with it!

Hornets-20vs_-20Colts

The AAFC Chicago franchise was actually named the Rockets for the first three years out of the four in their existence.  The 1947 program below really blew my mind when I saw it for the first time, but fits right into the genre of the sci-fi b-movies of the day.  Could you imagine any current NFL team going near anything like this today?

Rockets-20&-20Dons

Does this New York Yankees program seem a little odd?   Probably many of you didn’t realize that there was a professional football team with the same moniker and logo as their baseball brethren.  It’s kind of complicated, but ironically the team founded in 1944 was known as the Boston Yanks.  They then merged with the Brooklyn Tigers of the AAFC in 1946 before becoming the New York Bulldogs for one season in 1949 and then finally the New York Yankees for two more years before folding.  Another interesting piece of similar trivia?  Dem bums the Brooklyn Dodgers also had a football team of the same name…as did the New York Giants of course…

Yanks vs Dons

Future NFL Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle, Otto Graham, and College Football Hall of Famer Buddy “the Bronze Bullet,” Young are featured in this Thanksgiving Day All Star game program from when All Star games were played to be won.  Speaking of Thanksgiving, the Detroit Panthers of the American Professional Football Association were one of the first teams to begin the tradition of playing games on Thanksgiving Day when they took on the Rock Island Independents in 1925.

 AAFC Stars

Ok, this last one featuring the Hollywood Bears and the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast League does not fit in as a favorite by any means, but it’s worth noting as it’s possible Jackie Robinson played in this game as a running back and/or quarterback or the LA club.  The American icon who broke the pro baseball color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, also suited up for the Bulldogs briefly after Pearl Harbor in WWII and then later again in 1944.

05 program bears vs bulldogs 1946

There are tons of beautiful old football programs to be found out there if you do a little digging and lots of history and trivia to pick up along the way.  I don’t want to talk you out of buying a new program when you hit your favorite stadiums this season, but I’m hoping if your team happens to break out some throwback uni’s, they’ll break out an old style replica program to go with ’em.