|1920 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 26, 1920 - December 19, 1920|
| National Football League seasons
The 1920 NFL season was the inaugural regular season of the National Football League. The league was formed at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio on August 20 by four independent professional American football teams from Ohio: Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers, and Dayton Triangles. The four parties had played against each other unofficially as the "Ohio League" since 1903, complete with "championships," but it wasn't until 1920 that the league was formalized. At the meeting, they first called their new league the "American Professional Football Conference."
A second organizational meeting was held in Canton on September 17, adding more teams to the league: the Hammond Pros and the Muncie Flyers from Indiana; the Rochester Jeffersons from the New York Pro Football League; and the Rock Island Independents, the Decatur Staleys, and the Racine Cardinals from Illinois. At the meeting, the league was given a new name: American Professional Football Association (It would not be changed to National Football League until 1922).
Four other teams also joined the Association during the year: Buffalo All-Americans (also from the NYPFL), Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles, and Detroit Heralds. Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe of the Canton Bulldogs was named the APFA's first president, but continued to play for the team.
However, the scheduling was left up to each team. There were wide variations, both in the overall number of games played and in the number played against other Association members. Thus, no official standings were maintained. In addition, football teams in the APFA also faced independent football teams not associated with the league. For instance, the Rochester Jeffersons played a schedule consisting mostly of local teams from their local sandlot circuit and the NYPFL, not the APFA.
The Akron Pros ended up being the only undefeated team in the Association. Despite this, two one-loss teams (the Decatur Staleys and Buffalo All-Americans), who both tied Akron that year, also made cases for a co-championship. At the league meetings in Akron on April 30, 1921, the Pros were awarded the Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup for the 1920 season, the only year the trophy was used, at the motion of Columbus Panhandles manager Joe Carr, who would be elected as league president several weeks later at the next meeting.
According to modern NFL tie-breaking rules, the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans would be co-champions. They would be tied with the Akron Pros in win percentage, 9½ wins to 1½ losses (.864), both teams beating out the Decatur Staleys, who would have a season that counted 11 wins to 2 losses (.846).
Unofficial final standingsEdit
These are the unofficial standings of teams within the APFA. Records of independent football teams are not included, but games by members against such teams are.
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against
Note: Tie games were not counted in the standings until 1972.
|Rock Island Independents||6||2||2||.750||201||49|
Unofficial league leadersEdit
|Arnie Wyman||Rock Island||3|
|Lenny Sachs||Chicago C||2|
|Leo Chappell||Chicago C||2|
Postseason and legacy Edit
As there was no playoff system in the APFA until 1932, a meeting was held to determine the 1920 Champions. Each team that showed up had a vote to determine the champions. Since the Akron Pros had a 1.000 winning percentage, the Pros were awarded the Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup on April 30, 1921. The trophy was a "silver loving cup", donated by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company. This decision, however, would arise with controversy. The Staleys and the All-Americans each stated that they should win the award because they had more wins and were not beaten by the Akron Pros. Each player from the Pros was also awarded with a golden fob; this was in the shape of a football and inscribed with "1920", "WORLD CHAMPIONS", and each players' first initial and last name. The Pros did not officially celebrate their championship season until the following year. In October 1921, most of the team was invited to the Elks Club of Akron, which was labeled as "a grand homecoming celebration for the world's champions". Pollard was congratulated during an Akron Merchants Association of Colored Business Men's meeting.
The Pros were the first team in the history of the APFA to complete a non-modern "perfect season". Only four other teams has accomplished this feat: the 1922 Canton Bulldogs at 10–0–2, the 1923 Canton Bulldogs at 11–0–1, the 1929 Green Bay Packers at 12–0–1, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins at 17–0–0. In 1972, the NFL changed the rules so ties count as a half-win and a half-loss. If this rule had applied in 1920, the All-Americans and the Pros would each have a .864 winning percentage. Even though the Pros were given the trophy in 1920, the league lost track of the event and for a long time published in its own record books that the 1920 championship was undecided. It was not until the 1970s that the NFL remembered its early vote on awarding the Akron Pros the championship.
Bruce Copeland, sportswriter for the Rock Island Argus, compiled the All-Pro list for 1920. He used the games played in Rock Island, other newspapers, and his own memory to determine the first-, second-, and third-team All-Pro list. Pro-Football-Reference.com uses this list as the official All-Pro list of 1920. Twenty of the players were from Illinois and thirteen were from Ohio. The Rock Island Independents had the most players on the list (9), and Racine Cardinals had the least (1).
Hall of Fame Edit
As of 2012, 10 players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played in the 1920 APFA season. One non-player, Joseph Carr, the owner of the Columbus Panhandles in the 1920 season and league president from 1921–1939, was also elected to the Hall.
|Carr, Joseph|| |
|Chamberlin, Guy|| |
|Conzelman, Jimmy|| |
|Driscoll, Paddy|| |
|Guyon, Joe|| |
|Halas, George|| |
|Healey, Ed|| |
Rock Island Independents
|Henry, Pete|| |
|Pollard, Fritz|| |
|Thorpe, Jim|| |
|Trafton, George|| |
- ↑ "History: The First Playoff Game". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110603232114/http://www.profootballhof.com/history/decades/1930s/first_playoff_game.aspx. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Carroll (1982), p. 3
- ↑ Price, Mark (April 25, 2011). "Searching for the Lost Trophy". Akron Beacon Journal. http://www.ohio.com/news/searching-for-lost-trophy-1.204246. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- ↑ PFRA Research (1980), p. 6
- ↑ "Medallion from NFL's first champions". Pro Football Hall of Fame. September 29, 2010. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/2010/9/29/medallion-from-nfls-first-champions/. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ "1922 Canton Bulldogs Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cbd/1922.htm. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ "1923 Canton Bulldogs Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cbd/1923.htm. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ "1929 Green Bay Packers Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/gnb/1929.htm. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ "1972 Miami Dolphins Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/mia/1972.htm. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- ↑ Siwoff, Zimmber & Marini (2010), p. 360
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 PFRA Research (n.d.), p. 1
- ↑ "1920 APFA All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1920_APFA/allpro.htm. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- ↑ Hogrogian (1984), p. 1–2
- ↑ "Joe Carr". Pro Football Hall of Fame accessdate=December 26, 2011. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=42.
- ↑ "Guy Chamberlin". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=44. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- ↑ "Jimmy Conzelman". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=48. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- ↑ "John (Paddy) Driscoll". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=60. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- ↑ "Joe Guyon". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=84. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- ↑ "George Halas". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=85. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- ↑ "Ed Healey". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=91. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- ↑ "Wilbur (Pete) Henry". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=94. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- ↑ "Fritz Pollard". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PLAYER_ID=242. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- ↑ "Jim Thorpe". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=213. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- ↑ "George Trafton". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.aspx?PlayerId=215. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- Carroll, Bob (1982). "1920 Akron Pros". The Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 4 (12). http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/04-12-119.pdf.
- Davis, Jeff (2005). Papa Bear, The Life and Legacy of George Halas. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-146054-3.
- Hogrogian, John (1984). "1920 All-Pros". The Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 6 (1). http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/06-01-173.pdf.
- NFL History (March 10, 2003). "1920 American Professional Football Association". NFL History. Archived from the original on February 7, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070222012552/http://nflhistory.net/linescores/pdf/1920.pdf.
- Peterson, Robert (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507607-9.
- PFRA Research. "Once More, With Feeling: 1921". Professional Football Researchers Association. http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Articles/Once_More_With_Feeling.pdf. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- PFRA Research (1980). "Happy Birthday NFL?". The Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 2 (8). http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/02-08-038.pdf.
- Siwoff, Seymour; Zimmber, Jon; Marini, Matt (2010). The Official NFL Record and Fact Book 2010. National Football League. ISBN 978-1-60320-833-8.
1920 APFA season
|Akron||Buffalo||Canton||Chicago Cardinals||Chicago Tigers||Cleveland|