Anthony James "Tony" Morabito (January 12, 1910 – October 27, 1957) was the founder of the San Francisco 49ers.
Following his graduation from the University of Santa Clara he had a moderately successful lumber hauling business in San Francisco, California during the late 1930s and early 1940s. He realized, however, that air travel would make coast-to-coast NFL rivalries feasible.In 1944, after several years of rejection of expansion applications by the NFL, Morabito led a visit to the NFL in Chicago. During that meeting Elmer Layden, the league commissioner and one of the legendary Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, who was presiding was dismissive of Morabito's requests.
Following that meeting, Morabito and his partners walked across the street to see Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune who was trying to organize a rival league, the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). On June 6, 1944, the first meeting of the AAFC was held in St. Louis.Morabito agreed to form a franchise in San Francisco, with the AAFC set to start play after the end of the war.
Tony, his brother Victor P. Morabito, and his partners in the Lumber Terminals of San Francisco, Allen E. Sorrell and Ernest J. Turre became the founding owners of the soon to be San Francisco 49ers. Al Ruffo did the legal work while serving as the assistant coach to Lawrence T. "Buck" Shaw's. Santa Clara's famous "Silver Fox", Shaw was paid the then fabulous sum of $25,000.
The team eventually played their first game in San Francisco's Balboa Park on August 24, 1946. The AAFC folded at the end of the 1949 season and three of its teams joined the NFL for the 1950 seasonMorabito was seen as controversial by some, but throughout his tenure, the players supported him.
On October 27, 1957, Tony Morabito died of a heart attack while watching the 49ers play the Chicago Bears at Kezar Stadium. Having suffered a coronary occlusion in 1952 Tony had been living on "borrowed time". Doctors citing the dangerous, high emotional factors of football urged him to get out of football.The 49ers were losing 17-7 when a note "Tony's gone" was passed to the coach. They stormed back for a 21-17 upset victory.
After Tony died, majority control of the club passed on to his widow Josephine, and to his brother Victor after most of the remaining partners from the lumber business sold their interest after the 1946 season. Following Victor's death in 1964, Victor and Tony’s widows, Jane and Josephine, retained control of the 49ers until 1977, when a new team owner, Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. of Youngstown, Ohio took over.Josephine Morabito-Fox was one of the first women ever to hold a majority ownership in a professional sports team.
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The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) was a professional American football league that challenged the established National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1949. One of the NFL's most formidable challengers, the AAFC attracted many of the nation's best players, and introduced many lasting innovations to the game. However, the AAFC was ultimately unable to sustain itself in competition with the NFL. After its folding, three of its teams were admitted to the NFL: the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns and the original Baltimore Colts.
Albert J. Ruffo was an American politician, philanthropist, educator, lawyer, and football coach.
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The Los Angeles Dons were an American football team in the newly formed football league the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) from 1946 to 1949, and played their home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Dons were the first professional football team to play a regular season game in Los Angeles, California, two weeks before the first game of the rival Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League, who had moved from Cleveland.
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Lawrence Timothy "Buck" Shaw was an American football player and coach He was the head coach for Santa Clara University, the University of California, Berkeley, the San Francisco 49ers, the United States Air Force Academy and the Philadelphia Eagles. He attended the University of Notre Dame, where he became a star player on Knute Rockne's first unbeaten team. He started his coaching career with one year as head coach at North Carolina State and four years as a line coach at Nevada in Reno.
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The 1950 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 1st season in the National Football League and their 5th overall. After playing the previous four years in the All-America Football Conference, which folded after the 1949 season, the 49ers, Baltimore Colts, and Cleveland Browns all joined the NFL from the AAFC.
Guadalupe Joseph Arenas, also known as "Lupe Joe" Arenas and "Little Joe" Arenas, was an American football player. He was a halfback and defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers from 1951 to 1957. He was best known as a kickoff and punt returner. His 4,572 career kick and punt return yards was the best in NFL history at the time of his retirement, and his career average of 27.3 yards per kick return remains ninth best in NFL history. Arenas was, along with Tom Fears and Eddie Saenz, among the first Mexican-American players to achieve significant success in the sport of American football.
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On December 9, 1949, the National Football League absorbed three teams from the All-America Football Conference.
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