NFL HISTORY”The Beginning of the N. F. L”The year was 1920 and pro-football was in a state of confusion. The three main problems that led to all the confusion were, salaries rising, players jumping from team to team and the use of players still enrolled in college. So, on August 20, 1920, a group of men representing the four current pro teams met.
When the day was done the American Professional Football Conference was born. The A. P. F. C. was formed to make one governing body over pro football.
Then, on September 17, 1920, a second organizational meeting was held. At the second meeting the following teams attended: the Akron Pros; Canton Bulldogs; Cleveland Ohio Indians; Dayton Ohio Triangles; Decatur Illinois Staleys Athletic Club; Hammond Indiana Pros; Massillon Tigers; Muncie Indiana Flyers; Racine Cardinals; Rochester New York Jeffersons; Rock Island Illinois Independents; and Wisconsin. One of the first orders of business was to change the name of the American Professional Football Conference to the American Professional Football Association. The second order was to appoint a president. So Native-American Olympic Gold Medallist Jim Thorpe was elected as league president.
Other rules were made such as a membership fee of $100 per team; to be charged to give an appearance of respectability No team ever paid it. Scheduling was left up to the teams, and there were wide variations. This occurred both in the overall number of games played and in the number played against APFA member teams. Four other teams-the Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles, and Detroit Heralds-joined the league sometime during the year. On September 26, the first game, which featured an APFA team was played at Rock Island’s Douglas Park. A crowd of 800 watched the Independents defeat the St.
Paul Ideals 48-0. A week later, October 3, the first game matching two APFA teams was held. At Triangle Park, Dayton defeated Columbus 14-0, with Lou Partlow of Dayton scoring the first touchdown in a game between Association teams. The same day, Rock Island defeated Muncie 45-0. At the league meeting inAkron, April 30, the championship of the 1920 season was awarded to the Akron Pros. The APFA was later reorganized, they realized that Jim Thorpe was a better player then president.
So, they picked Joe Carr as the new president. Carr moved the Association’s headquarters to Columbus, drafted a league constitution and by-laws, gave teams territorial rights, restricted player movements, developed membership criteria for the franchises, and issued standings for the first time. This made it that the APFA would have a clear champion. The league was also increased to 22 teams. It was during this year that the Green Bay Packers were granted a franchise. It was during the 1921 season, that Fritz Pollard was made the first black head coach in the history of Pro-Football.
The Chicago Statleys who would later become the Bears were crowned the 1921 league champions. Nothing really big happened for the APFA in 1922 except for a name change, which lasts to this day. The new name of the APFA was The National Football League. In 1923, a new record was set.
George Halas of the Chicago Bears picked up a Jim Thorpe fumble and ran for a 98-yard touchdown. His record went unbroken until 1978. In 1924 the league cut down and combined numerous teams to have a total of 18 teams including 3 new teams. In 1925, 36,000 people gathered to watch the Chicago Cardinals play the Chicago Bears. This game drew the largest crowd in NFL history until then.
In 1926, the NFL grew is size to once again have 22 teams. Also, a new rule was passed that no team was to have a player who’s college class had not graduated (this has been changed recently). In 1927 at a special meeting in Cleveland, April 23, President Carr decided to secure the NFL’s future by eliminating the financially weaker teams and consolidating the quality players onto a limited number of more successful teams. The new-look NFL dropped to 12 teams, and the center of gravity of the league left the Midwest, where the NFL had started, and began to emerge in the large cities of the