Albany Metro Mallers

The Albany Metro Mallers are a semiprofessional football team that has played its home games primarily in Albany, New York, with the 6500-seat Bleecker Stadium as its home field. The team has long been successful regionally and nationally, having regularly been in the national semipro playoffs, and having won the national semipro title in 2008.[1][2] Some of the team's players have gone on to play professional football, and a number of the team’s past and present players are listed among the all-time semipro football record holders.

Team history

The Seaboard League: NFL Castoffs Trying to Make It Back

After the team's first year in 1972, the Mallers moved into the Seaboard Football League in 1973, which had teams in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. They played their home games in Schenectady, New York, that year. Unlike most semipro leagues, which had only local players and did not pay their players, the Seaboard League teams brought in players from outside their areas, paid their players modestly and helped them find local jobs. League teams were able to attract numerous players who had been signed to NFL contracts, had been cut in the preseason, and were hoping to make the NFL eventually. More than ten of the Mallers had been in NFL camps. Later in the season, the team made an informal arrangement with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League to develop players for the Alouettes who had been released by that team.,[3][4] Three of the players on the 1973 Mallers (Bill Ellenbogen, Don Aleksiewicz and Gary Weinlein) played professional football eventually, although none ever played for the Alouettes.

The Mallers Become Amateurs

The Seaboard Football League folded at the end of that season, and the team then joined the Empire Football League, a league with teams primarily located in Upstate New York that prohibited paying their players. The Mallers moved to Albany that year. They finished second in the league in 1975 and 1976, and won the league championship in 1979.[5]

In 1981, the team moved into the Eastern Football League, which had teams in Massachusetts and in New York State. The Mallers won the league championship 12-9 on an electrifying play: a 73-yard flea flicker touchdown pass thrown by wide receiver Mike DeCarlo that was deflected by a defender into the hands of wide receiver Davey Williams, who held on to it and then ran the remaining 50 yards into the end zone.[6][7]

The Mallers also won the Eastern Football League championship in 1986, defeating the Marlboro Shamrocks 23-14.[8] The Metro Mallers returned to the Empire Football League in 1987, and finished second in the league that year. They won the league championship in 1989, and finished second in the league in 1990.

NFL Players Strike: Some Mallers Become Replacements

In 1987, during the NFL players strike, three members of the team were signed to play on NFL replacement teams (Dana Melvin, Robbin Williams and Joe Burke).[9] Only running back Joe Burke, who had been named the 1986 American Football Association Player of the Year as the best semipro football player in the country, saw actual playing time, however. Burke returned to the Mallers in time to play in the American Football Association national playoffs in November 1987.[10] The Mallers also were in the national playoffs in 1991, losing to the eventual national champion Brooklyn Mariners 12-6.[11]

2004 to present: Regional and National Success

The Mallers finished second in the Empire Football League in 2004, and won the league in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, they also won the United States Football Alliance (USFA) Eastern Championship.

In 2007, the team again changed leagues, moving into the North American Football League. They won the Empire Division in their first year in that league.[12]

In 2008, the Mallers were named as the USFA and Minor League Football News (MLFN) National Champions.[13][14] In 2011, the Mallers returned to the Empire Football League and captured the EFL title with a 26-14 victory against the Syracuse Shock.

Scott Lawson, Record Breaking Quarterback

In 2008, Quarterback Scott Lawson, who has been with the Mallers since 1990, broke the all-time semipro football record for the most touchdown passes in a career when he threw his 379th touchdown pass on October 4, 2008 against the Troy Fighting Irish.[15] He has continued to play, and as of the end of the 2009 season, he had increased his record to 415 touchdown passes.[16]

Metro Mallers Who Have Played Professional Football

Many Metro Maller players have signed contracts with professional teams. Most have been released (cut) during the preseason. The following Metro Mallers players played during the regular season for professional teams:

Player Pro Football Position TeamYear
Bill Ellenbogen Offensive and Defensive Line Metro Mallers, 1973
New York Giants, 1976, 1977.[17]
Don Aleksiewicz Running Back Metro Mallers, 1973
Philadelphia Bell, WFL, 1974.[18]
Gary Weinlein Defensive Back, Wide Receiver, Quarterback Metro Mallers, 1973–1976, 1983
Toronto Argonauts (CFL), 1978.[19]).
Dave Boisture Quarterback Metro Mallers, 1982
New Jersey Generals (USFL), 1983.[20]
Baltimore Stars (USFL), 1985.[21]
Joe Burke Running Back Metro Mallers, 1983-1988
New York Jets, 1987.[22]
Robbin Williams Defensive Back/Wide Receiver Metro Mallers, 1986-1991
Albany Firebirds (AFL), 1991.[23]
John Chaney Defensive Back/Wide Receiver Metro Mallers, 1991
Albany Firebirds (AFL), 1991-1992.[24]
Vinny Cirrincione Placekicker Metro Mallers, 2004-2006
Albany Conquest (AF2), 2004, 2005
Birmingham Steel Dogs (AF2), 2005.[25]

Metro Mallers Who Are Among the All-Time Semipro Record Holders

Scoring Records

Record Stat. Player Date Rank
(Semipro Hist.)
Total Points, Season 188 Joe Burke 1986 4th [26]
Two Point Conversions
(Receiving, Game)
2 A.V. Marion October 11, 1986 2nd [27]
Longest Field Goals 54 yards Al Darling September 12, 1981 23rd [28]
Combined Returns
Touchdowns (Game)
3 Jeff Lipscomb 1986 6th [29]
Fumble Recoveries
Touchdown (Season)
6 Jeff Lipscomb 1986 1st [30]

Passing Records

Record Stat Player Date Rank
(semipro history)
Attempts (Career) 5016 Scott Lawson 1990–2000
1st 1st in history.
2009 season not included[31]
Completions, (Career) 2009 Scott Lawson 1990–2000
2nd 2nd in history.
2009 season not included [32]
Yards (Career) 33,798 Scott Lawson 1990–2000
2nd 2nd in history.
2009 season not included [33]
Touchdowns (Career) 415 Scott Lawson 1990–2000
1st [34]
Interceptions (Career) 155 Scott Lawson 1990–2000
2nd 2nd in history through 2008 [35]
Longest Halfback Option Pass 73 yards Mike DeCarlo October 10, 1981 3rd [36]

Rushing Records

Record Stat Player Year Rank
(semipro history)
Yards (Season) 1766 yards
(217 attempts)
(16 TD’s)
Don Aleksiewicz 1973 9th [37]
Most 100 yard games
23 Joe Burke 1983–1988 1st [38]
Most 100 yard games
7 Don Aleksiewicz 1973 5th [39]

Miscellaneous Records

Record Stat Player Year Rank
(semipro history)
Fumble Recoveries (Season) 6 Jeff Lipscomb 1986. 5th [40]
Fumble Recoveries (Game) 3 Bill Widenman 1973 2nd [41]
Longest Interception Return 100 yards Mike Palmer 10th [42]


External links

  • Metro Mallers Home Page
  • United States Football Alliance
  • Minor League Football News
  • Semipro Football Headquarters