As a home to major professional sports teams, Ohio officially has two teams entitled as Ohio pro football teams; The Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio State Buckeyes. They perform in NSL, National Soccer League that is prestigious in the football field. Besides, there is another well-known semi-pro team among footballers; the Cleveland Browns.
Back then, in the early football history in 1920, this NFL was started as the APFA, American Professional Football Association. At that time, Ohio was 5 original pro teams. The popular one was the Canton Bulldogs, Akron Pros, and Cleveland Tigers.
These teams have their long journey to be the former of pro football teams. Their existence is irreplaceable and memorable at the same time. To know more about these teams, let’s take a look back at the predecessor of Ohio Pro Football Teams‘ deep history.
Out of 10 teams in NFL, the Akron Pros is the original NFL member from the beginning. It started when Akron Pros be one of 10 teams representing regional leagues that formed the early NFL alias APFA. It was held in September 1920, but it renamed two years later to NFL in 1922.
The Akron Pros were the first Ohio Pro Football Teams to win the APFA championship. Surprisingly, they won it without actually winning the game. After recording 8-0-3 in inaugural season, the Akron Pros restrain the Buffalo teams in a scoreless tie until the end.
The Pros just needed to avoid losing, on the other hand, Buffalo had to score more and win the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Cup. The other record of the Pros was made by his captain, Fritz Pollard. In 1921 when he led the Pros, he was crowned as the first black football player and head coach in the NFL.
Another original former of the APFA team is the Canton Bulldogs. This team was popular to hold the NFL record by holding the most 25 consecutive games without losing, including 3 ties. The Canton Bulldogs was the winner of the NFL from 1922-1923. Their ace at that time was Olympian Thorpe.
Besides being the birthplace of APFA, Canton also being permanent hometown of Bulldogs’ success in early leagues. Moreover, six Canton Bulldogs players are eternalized in the NFL Hall of Fame. They are Joe Guyon, Guy Chamberlin, Wilbur Pete Henry, Greasy Neale, William Link Lyman, and Jim Thorpe.
Along with Akron Pros and Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers was also one of the early Ohio Pro Football Teams that formed APFA. Unfortunately, The Tigers couldn’t enjoy their success in the first season, unlike the Pros and The Canton.
In 1921, Thorpe signed to move from Canton Bulldogs to Cleveland Tigers. At that time, the members of Cleveland teams were originated from Indians and 3 Native Americans. Thus, in its second season, the name changed to be the Cleveland Indians. They won their first two games before Thorpe got in ribs injured in 1921.
There were 2 other original Ohio pro teams; Columbus Panhandles and Dayton Triangles. Both of them also had a big role in the APFA and NFL history. At least, by knowing these Ohio Pro Football Teams, people will know more about the original history of the famous NFL.