The Staten Island Stapletons also known as The "Stapes", was a football team in the NFL that was founded in 1915. They played for the National Foot Ball league between 1929 to 1930, and then two more seasons in 1931 and 1932. The team was ran by Dan Blaine, who also served as the team's halfback. Blain later became rich by building up a chain of restaurants. The Stapletons played similar semi-pro neighborhood teams from the New York City area.
In the earlier years the team played for fun and only got paid about $10 per game. The team went inactive in 1918 due to WWI. Blain was in the army an had been deployed over seas. He came back a year later in 1919 and became the sole owner of The Stapes and retired himself as a player. He also became successful with a string of restaurants in Staten Island that sold alcohol during the prohibition.
The team won the New York Metropolitan championship in 1924 by beating out the best Semi-Pro teams in the area. But in 1925 Tim Mara formed the New York Giants who moved into the Polo Grounds. The Giants stole the spotlight for the Statepltons because of a bigger stadium and the ability to support larger crowds and fans. The rivalry between The Giants and The Stapes began on Thanksgiving Day in 1925 when the Giants beat them out 7-0. On Nov 14th 1926, the Newark Bears beat the Stapes 33-0. Blain recruited most of the Bears players including their star rookie Doug Wycoff who was more then willing to leave the Bears due to nonpayments. The Stapes greatly benefited from this and the Bears went out of business in 1928. Blain then hired a few NYU players as well.
In 1927, the Stapes fielded their ex-Newark Bears squad, although Wycoff signed to the Giants. The Giants would go on to win the 1927 NFL championship and defeated the Stapes twice in non-league games, 19-0 and 18-0. The Stapes though did manage to beat the NFL's Duluth Eskimos, featuring Ernie Nevers 7-6 on November 27, 1927. By 1928, Blaine wanted the Stapes to become an NFL franchise. He bolstered his squad by resigning Doug Wycoff back as a player-coach and by signing six graduates from the nationally-ranked New York University team. The Stapes had their best season on record, going 10-1-1, including a 3-1 record against NFL teams. They even pulled out a 7-0 victory over the Giants on Thanksgiving Day.
After their record was set Blain applied for an NFL franchise. He had to obtain permission from Tim Mara, the owner of the Giants, because Staten Island was in his territory. But he actually had an extra franchise that originally belonged to the Brooklyn Lions but was handed over Mara when the team folded in 1927, because they owed him money. Mara had then allowed the New York Yankees, owned by Grange's manager C. C. Pyle, to use the franchise when they moved from the AFL to NFL. The Yankees went out of business after the 1928 season, so the franchise again went back to Mara and he passed those franchise's rights on to Staten Island.Blain hired Ken Strong who later became a Stapletons Hall of Famer, to play with the newly franchised team.
The Stapletons would never have a winning season in the NFL. During their first NFL season in 1929, the team went 3-4-3, defeating the Dayton Triangles, Brooklyn Dodgers and theMinneapolis Red Jackets. They also managed to tie the Frankford Yellow Jackets once and Orange Tornadoes twice. The team improved to a 5-5-2 record in 1930. That season the Stapes managed to defeat the rival New York Giants 7-6, after a four yard touchdown run from Doug Wycoff and an extra point kick from Strong.
In July 1931, the team's official name on the league records was changed from the Stapleton Football Club, Inc., to Staten Island Stapes. At this time, Doug Wycoff left the team to rejoin the Giants. In need of a coach, Blaine hired Hinkey Haines, who had played briefly for the Stapes in 1929. The Stapes opened at home by beating the Dodgers 9-7 before 7,000 fans. However a week later at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers forced 3 interceptions to defeat the Stapes 18-6. The team would post a 4-6-1 record in 1931, defeating the Giants (once), Dodgers (twice) and the Cleveland Indians. (Resources *)
In 1932 the Stapes finished last. They managed only to defeat the Giants and the Cardinals, and in 1933 the only team they beat was the new Philadelphia Eagles. Their star player Ken Strong went on to sign with the Giants and won the NFL Championship that year. In 1935 Blain's franchise was declared forfeit and the team folded.
Giants beat Staten Island - November 13, 1932
Old Newspaper Clipping - footballhistorian.com - Archives
Staten Island fumbles away game Football History November 13, 1932 - Old Newspaper Clipping The New York Giants' home-field advantage and its far superior line was too much for the Staten Island Stapletons to overcome Sunday. The 15,000 in attendance at the Polo Grounds watched as quarterback Jack McBride guided the Giants to a 27-7 rousing win. McBride, the former Brooklyn Dodgers' quarterback, teamed up with his favorite pass catchers, Ray Flaherty and Red Badgro, and the New York city-team linemen played rough football much to the glee of their fans. The Stapletons, who have one of the best players in fullback Ken Strong, were no match for the Giants' aggressive style of play. The gate receipts should come in handy for the visiting Staten Islanders, whose owners reported last week that the financial loses suffered throughout the last four years (1929-1932) are causing them to think about folding after this season ends. Note: Staten Island folded after the 1932 season ended. footballhistorian.com - Football History - The Great Depression