Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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2001 New York/New Jersey Hitmen

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Keith Elias New York-New Jersey HitmenXFL (2001)

Born: 2000 – XFL founding franchise.
Folded: May 10, 2001

StadiumGiants Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: XFL

XFL Champions: 2001


The New York/New Jersey Hitmen were one of eight franchises in the XFL, a short-lived spring football promotion backed by the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. The team played just ten games in its existence, finishing the 2001 season at 4-6 and outside the playoffs.

The Hitmen roster consisted of a journeymen players from the fringes of the late 1990’s NFL and NFL Europe. Some other XFL franchises featured high profile NFL 1st round draft busts such as Jim Druckenmiller, Tommy Maddox and former Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam. The Hitmen featured no such name-brand players.

Under head coach Rusty Tillman and offensive coordinator Greg Briner, the Hitmen suffered from an anemic offense. The Hitmen played in the league’s debut game on February 3, 2001 against the Las Vegas Outlaws in Nevada. Months of hype and WWF brand loyalty led to blockbuster Neilsen ratings with over 15 million homes tuned in. The Hitmen gave the new league a black eye with a flaccid offensive effort in a 19-0 loss. XFL viewership on NBC plunged more than 50% the following week and never recovered.

The Hitmen failed to score more than 20 points in each of their first nine games. They post a season-high 22 points in their regular season finale against the Birmingham Thunderbolts on April 8, 2001. This also proved to be the last Hitmen appearance ever, as the team failed to make the playoffs and the XFL went out of business one month later.


New York/New Jersey Hitmen Shop

ESPN Films 30 For 30: This Is The XFL


New York/New Jersey Hitmen Memorabilia


Hitmen Video

The Hitmen host the Orlando Rage at Giants Stadium on February 18, 2001.


In Memoriam

Offensive guard Troy Stark suffered a knee injury during the first month of the 2001 season. The Hitmen placed him on injured reserve and he had knee surgery. Stark had a second surgery in May 2001. The 28-year old was found dead on June 1, 2001. Authorities believe that physical therapy following Stark’s second surgery may have loosened a blood clot that made its way to his lungs.



XFL Media Guides

XFL Programs


Written by Drew Crossley

January 6th, 2018 at 7:06 pm

2009 New York Sentinels


New York SentinelsUnited Football League (2009)

Born: 2009 – UFL founding franchise
Moved: February 16, 2010 (Hartford Colonials)


Team Colors:

Owner: Bill Mayer

UFL Champions: None


An especially flaccid entry in the ill-conceived United Football League (2009-2012).  The New York Sentinels went o-6 in their only season of competition and played only one contest in the state of New York during their brief lifespan.

The Sentinels were coached by former New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell. The team’s biggest name was 4-time NFL All-Pro defensive end Simeon Rice.  The team’s best name was leading receiver Craphonso Thorpe.

The UFL played a short 6-game schedule during their 2009 debut season. For whatever reason, the league and the Sentinels chose/were forced to schedule each of the team’s games in a different state. The Sentinel’s debut at Giants Stadium on October 29, 2009 drew announced crowd of 10,818 in 76,000-seat Giants Stadium.  Game #2 on the campus of Hofstra University on Long Island drew 4,392.  The Sentinels’ final “home” game was at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut before 5,201.

The Sentinels moved permanently to Hartford for the UFL’s second season in 2010 and were re-branded as the Hartford Colonials. The Colonials lasted one season before the franchise folded for good in July 2011. The UFL ran out of money a year later and closed its doors midway through the 2012 season.


==New York Sentinels Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other


2009 10/10/2009 @ Florida Tuskers L 35-13 Program



The Sentinels vs. California Redwoods in the team’s lone Giants Stadium appearance. October 29, 2009.



United Football League Programs


1983-1985 New Jersey Generals

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New Jersey Generals Media GuideUnited States Football League (1983-1985)

Born: May 11, 1982 – USFL founding franchise.
Folded: August 1986

Stadium: Giants Stadium

Team Colors:


USFL Championships: None


Text coming soon…


New Jersey Generals Shop

Generals Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max

Generals Doug Flutie Retro T-Shirt by A&E Designs

Just published! One of FWIL’s Top Sports Books of 2017


New Jersey Generals Memorabilia


Generals Video


New Jersey Generals vs. Houston Gamblers at Giants Stadium. April 7, 1985.  Doug Flutie vs. Jim Kelly.


In Memoriam

Linebacker Rod Shoate (Generals ’83) died of AIDS on October 4, 1999. The former Oklahoma Sooner was 46.

General Manager Jim Valek died on September 4, 2005 at age 77.

Original Generals owner J. Walter Duncan died of Parkinson’s disease on February 21, 2009 at the age of 92.

Linebacker Ray Costict (Generals ’83) passed away at age 56 on January 3, 2012.

Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks (Gens ’83) passed on April 2, 2013 of brain cancer. Fairbanks was 79.



USFL Media Guides

USFL Game Programs


April 20, 1996 – New York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution

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Tony Meola MetroStarsNew York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution
April 20, 1996
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 46,826

Major League Soccer Programs
54 Pages (Tabloid newsprint)


Nice find at the bottom of a box sent over by a former New York sportswriter late last year.  This oversize tabloid-style program is from the inaugural home game of the old New York MetroStars of Major League Soccer back in April 1996.  (The MetroStars are the ancestors of today’s New York Red Bulls).  U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tony Meola shouts from the cover.

There was a big crowd on hand for the first pro soccer game at Giants Stadium since the demise of the New York Cosmos in 1985.  In fact, 62-year old Eddie Firmani, the man who coached the Cosmos to two Soccer Bowl titles in the 1970’s and helmed the club’s final NASL game at the Meadowlands in September 1984, was behind the bench for the Metros.

Firmani’s fleeting cameo – he would be the first MLS coach to resign/get fired, lasting just eight matches – was the closest any of the North Jersey old-timers would come to mistaking the Metros for the powerhouse Cosmos of old.  Twenty years on, the Metros-turned-Red Bulls have never won a game of any consequence.  And the club’s more mystically-inclined diehards apportion some of the blame for those decades of futility squarely back here on the night of April 20th, 1996. The evening that a 33-year old Italian defender brought the “Curse of Caricola” down upon the MetroStars/Red Bulls franchise in the very first home game.

I’d explain the doomed sequence here, but why bother when we have this video…



The Curse of Caricola grabs hold of the MetroStars…


Written by AC

January 31st, 2015 at 1:05 am

August 8, 2004 – MetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

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Eddie Gaven New York MetroStarsMetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
August 8, 2004
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 14,687

Major League Soccer Programs
72 Pages


Clash of Major League Soccer’s Eastern and Western Conference leaders at Giants Stadium in early August 2004.

It seemed like this might finally be the breakout year for the MetroStars, who had never won any type of hardware in MLS’ first decade.  Some supporters of MLS’ hapless New York club even believed the team was the victim of “The Curse of Caricola“, dating back to a crushing own-goal defeat in the Metros’ inaugural match back in 1996.

But the 2004 team had talent and carried a four-game undefeated streak into the All-Star Break at the end of July.  17-year old Eddie Gaven, pictured on the day’s FREEKICK match program (above right) became the youngest All-Star Game starter in MLS history a week earlier.  He was joined on the Eastern Conference squad by defender Eddie Pope and Honduran midfielder Amado Guevara.  All three would later be named to MLS’ Best XI for the 2004 season and Guevara would be selected as league MVP.  The Metros also owned the powerful Los Angeles Galaxy club that summer, outscoring the Angelenos 5-1 in two earlier victories in June.

Looking back, the Metros’ 2004 season crested on this match.  It was a violent engagement, with five yellow cards and a red (to L.A.’s Chris Albright in the 68th) and another one-sided MetroStars victory.  Guevara opened the scoring on a penalty in the 36th minute, and Gaven beat Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman in the 61st to break the game open.  The Metros went on to win 3-0.

After this afternoon, the Metros returned to form.  They were winless for the remainder of August and 2-6-2 for the rest of the regular season en route to a 3rd place finish in the Eastern Conference.  Eventual MLS Cup champion D.C. United routed the Metros 4-0 on aggregate in the first round of the 2004 playoffs.

The MetroStars brand lasted one more season (ill-fated, of course) before Red Bull purchased and re-branded the club in 2006.  Gaven also stayed  just one more season in New York.  He was traded to Columbus before the 2006 season and enjoyed a long and solid career with the Crew (2006-2013), but never again was named to the MLS Best XI as he was in 2004 as a 17-year old teenager.



Eddie Gaven, The Oddest Goalkeeper in MLS History, Retires“, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin, October 13, 2013



August 8, 2004 MetroStars-Galaxy Roster Card

August 8, 2004 Los Angeles Galaxy Game Notes

August 8, 2004 MetroStars Game Notes


Written by AC

January 8th, 2015 at 2:47 pm


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