Boston Globe

February 17, 1974

By Leigh Montville

WFL Bulls moving to New York

So much for the Boston Bulls. They're not going to be with us after tomorrow.

The World Football League franchise established only three months ago, will be shifted tomorrow afternoon to New York. The move will be made at a meeting of the WFL owners in Chicago, and announced by the Bulls in New York on Tuesday. 

The entire Bulls operation, including coach Babe Parilli and 38 already signed players, will be switched to New York. The list of drafted college players headed by Boston College quarterback Gary Marangi - also will be switched. 

A franchise previously listed for New York under the ownership of New Jersey-based sports entrepreneur Robert Schmertz, owner of the Celtics and New England Whalers, will be allowed to die. Its players will be distributed through the now 10-team league with Schmertz moving over to take control of the Bulls. 

The Bulls move, initiated by WFL Commissioner Gary Davidson, is being made to avert a classic conflict of interest situation. 

Howard Baldwin, 31-year old president of the World Hockey Association Whalers, had been listed as the owner of the team. This put him both in partnerships (Whalers) and direct competition (WFL) with Schmertz.

The other WFL owners, noting this conflict, asked that something be changed immediately. The change finds Baldwin, joining forces again with Schmertz in New York. Baldwin will be president of the New York-version Bulls. Schmertz will be chairman of the board.

"This all happened in about a week's time," Baldwin said yesterday. "I fought it for a while but in my heart I knew I was wrong. It wasn't a good situation." 

The New York team will pay its games this year in battered Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ. In two years it expects to move into refurbished Yankees Stadium. 

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for us," Baldwin said. "Look, the Giants aren't there anymore, the Jets  aren't hell. We'll be competing against one football team in New York City, one football team that isn't hell." 

The Bulls had been preparing to play most of their games at Boston University's Nickerson Field. There was a chance they would play some late-season games at Schaefer Stadium, but most of the planning was for BU. 

"There were two major problems with Schaefer," Baldwin said. "The first was we couldn't get any dates until September 15 due to conflicts with Foxboro Raceway's schedule. The second problem was the energy crisis. 

The Bulls had been one of the more aggressive members of a league that has been very slow starting. In quick succession they picked up a coach in Parilli and an All-Star-quality wide receiver in George Sauer Jr. They rented a fifth floor office in the Statler Building and put together a staff of three secretaries and an administrative aide in former Patriots tight end Tom Beer. 

"I still think the franchise would have succeeded here," Baldwin said. "I think we would have lost a lot of money in the first two years, but I think we eventually would have made it." 

Now, however, Baldwin never will know. The Boston Bulls are going to be shipped southward without a football ever being touched.