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The Hawaiians (WFL)

The Hawaiians
Established 1974
Folded October 1975
Based in Honolulu, Hawaii
Home field Honolulu Stadium (1974)
Aloha Stadium (1975)
Head coach Mike Giddings
General manager Danny Rodgers
Owner(s) Christopher Hemmeter and Sam Battisone (1974)
Edward Sultan, Jr. (1975)
League World Football League
Division Western
Colours Red, gold and brown               

The Hawaiians were a professional American football team based in Honolulu that played in the World Football League. They played two seasons, 1974 and 1975. Their records were 9-11 in 1974 and 4-7-1 in 1975. Their home stadium was Honolulu Stadium in 1974 and Aloha Stadium in 1975. The best known player to play for the Hawaiians was former Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, though quarterback Jim Fassel became better known as a head coach decades later. The Hawaiians head coach was Michael Giddings who guided the Hawaiians through both the 1974 and 1975 football seasons, in the World Football League.

The franchise was originally going to be called the Honolulu Warriors, but a local team had trademarked that name. As a result, the team was known simply as "The Hawaiians," although the press frequently mistakenly called them the "Honolulu Hawaiians" or the "Hawaii Hawaiians." They were owned by real estate developer Christopher Hemmeter for the first season. He was named league president in 1975, and sold the Hawaiians to jewel merchant Edward Sultan, Jr.

In order to keep the NFL out of Hawaii, the WFL had the Hawaiians play their games on Sundays, while the rest of the league played on Wednesday night. This resulted in confusion since one team played a different schedule than the rest of the league, and teams had to fly back to the mainland Sunday night to play again on Wednesday night. The franchise also made the mistake of allowing a same day tape delay of their home games, meaning many Hawaiians' fans would watch the game on TV later on that day. Eventually, the Hawaiians switched to playing on Wednesday nights.

Even with these missteps, the Hawaiians represented a serious attempt to form a viable professional football organization, one that at least had the potential for success had the WFL been better run. They were one of only three teams that didn't miss a payroll during the league's first season. Hemmeter and his original partner, Sam Battisone (who also owned the NBA's New Orleans Jazz) were among the few owners thought to be capable of fielding a team in 1975.[1]

It was the first and to date only major professional American football team to establish its home base outside the contiguous 48 states. (This excludes the Pro Bowl teams, which have called Hawaii home from 1980 to 2009 and again in 2011 and 2012.)

External links

  • The Hawaiians on FunWhileItLasted.net

References

  1. ^ Marshall, Joe. World Bowl in crisis. Sports Illustrated, 1974-12-16.
  • "Head football coach", Football Digest, August 1974 issue
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