What Was The First NFL Team?

What Was The First NFL Team
What Was The First NFL Team

The National Football League (NFL) needs no introduction among football enthusiasts. Despite its dedicated status as an American sport, the thrilling matches and fan-favorite teams are famous across the globe. From pre-season to the Super Bowl, NFL fans leave no stone unturned, staying ahead of the latest NFL updates. Today, we want to take you back to where it all began. What was the first NFL team? How old is the NFL? While there are now 32 teams in the NFL, it certainly didn’t start that way…

When Was the NFL Founded?

The history of the NFL goes back to 1920 when the U.S. professional gridiron football organization founded the NFL in Canton, Ohio, as the American Professional Football Association. The first president of the association, Jim Thorpe, was an exceptional athlete in the American sports industry at the time. He was also one of the first NFL players.

Two years after its foundation, the league adopted its current name in 1922. In the initial phases, the league had five teams from Ohio, four from Illinois, two from Indiana, two from New York, and one from Michigan. While true, the NFL went through a roller coaster of highs and lows competing with other leagues in the country.

The rival football organizations tried to outsmart the NFL, but the league rose to unparalleled heights over the decades.

How Old Is the NFL?

When did the NFL start? We have some interesting facts for you to answer this question. The National Football League (NFL) began its operations in 1920 in Canton, Ohio. With a few teams, including Akron Pros, Cleveland Tigers, Canton Bulldogs, Columbus Panhandlers, Dayton Triangles, Chicago Tigers, Racine Cardinals, Decatur Staleys, Rock Island Independents, Hammond Pros, Muncie Flyers, Buffalo All-Americans, Rochester Jeffersons, and Detroit Heralds, the NFL began its first-ever matches in the twentieth century.

While these teams marked the league’s founding teams, only two franchises remain in the modern spectrum under different names.

What Was the First NFL Team?

Many NFL enthusiasts are curious about the first NFL team to kick off the league trend in American football history. The crown goes to the Buffalo All-Americans, who started playing back in 1920 when the league first surfaced in America. The All-Americans quickly rose to fame back in the day for its exceptional players and on-field experiences.

Moreover, the All-Americans went 9-1-1 during the first NFL season. The team identified itself as the strongest competitor to deserve the championship and the Brunswick-Balke Collander Cup. Since the league used a voting system to declare champions in the seasons back in the early days, the Buffalo All-Americans concluded the league seasons with 3rd place in the American Professional Football Association.

What Is the Oldest NFL Team?

The crown for the oldest NFL team goes to the first-ever few teams that started playing the initial seasons. We have listed brief details of each below for your ease.

Akron Pros (Ohio)

Frank Nied and Art Ranney laid the foundation of the Akron Pros in the summer of 1920. The team rose to fame with renowned players like Fritz Pollard and the famous Bob “Nasty” Nash.

Buffalo All-Americans (Buffalo)

Although the modern-day NFL crown goes to the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo All-Americans held the place back in the early days when it rose to fame for its initial wins.

Canton Bulldogs (Ohio)

Canton Bulldogs was one of the home teams when the American Professional Football Association kicked off its operations. As a dominant team in the early twentieth century, the Bulldogs quickly dominated the football scene due to the efforts of Jim Thorpe.

Racine Cardinals (Illinois)

Racine Cardinals hosted the modern-day Chicago Bears (previously known as Decatur Staleys) in 1920. The heart-winning techniques of Paddy Driscoll helped the Cardinals to bag the victory 7-6 and earned the team the respect it deserved.

Chicago Tigers (Illinois)

As one of the founding NFL teams, Chicago Tigers grabbed the fans’ attention by going 2-5-1 in the club’s single season. Owned by Guli Falcon, the Tigers received much respect and popularity in the early days.

Cleveland Tigers (Ohio)

Cleveland Tigers gained the APFA’s attention when they concluded their initial seasons with a 2-4-2 record by scoring 7 points against the Akron Pros. While the team disbanded after playing a season, the team’s hometown is highly passionate about the game in the modern-day scenario.

Columbus Panhandles (Ohio)

Columbus Panhandles owned a distinctive position in the early days since most of its players worked on the Pennsylvania railroad Panhandle section. The team later disbanded due to financial constraints.

Dayton Triangles (Ohio)

Starting as a recreational football team in 1916, the Dayton Triangles landed in the spotlight after hosting the NFL game against Columbus Panhandles and winning 14-0.

Decatur Staleys (Illinois)

Decatur Staleys became popular when the professional baseballer George Halas joined the team for the first season. It is one of the two franchises that remain in the modern-day clubs under the Chicago Bears.

Detroit Heralds (Michigan)

Bill Marshal formed Detroit Heralds in 1905. The team holds the crown for being the first to wear football jersey numbers. After signing big names like Kent Lambert, Tommy Hughitt, and Nord Sacksteder, the team changed its name to Detroit Tigers.

Hammond Pros (Indiana)

Hammond Pros are remembered as one of the most inclusive NFL teams in history. The full-time job holders filled the player positions, achieving a 5-26-4 record.

Muncie Flyers (Indiana)

Muncie Flyers rose from the Congerville Athletic Club (1905) and lasted five NFL seasons. However, the team neededs to establish a successful footprint in the game.

Rock Island Independents (Illinois)

Rock Island Independents gained popularity for its well-known football squad. The club quickly became a fan-favorite after beating Muncie Flyers 45-0.

Rochester Jeffersons (New York)

Rochester Jeffersons established a distinctive name in the NFL for its different playing caliber than many other teams. They ended the first season with a 6-3-2 record.

What Was The First NFL Team? – The Conclusion

The history of the NFL shows us how the passion of American footballers rose to heights decade after decade. While modern football teams operate on a different frequency, they take inspiration from the founding clubs of the American Professional Football Association (now known as the NFL). To learn more about the world of the NFL, feel free to explore online discussion forums or dedicated NFL channels. 

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