The 1921 Buffalo All-Americans season was their second in the league. The team matched their previous output of 9-1-1, going 9-1-2, and losing the league title to the Chicago Staleys in a disputed tiebreaker.[1]

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1921 Buffalo All-Americans season
Head Coach Tommy Hughitt
Home Field
Record 9-1-2
Place T-1st APFA
Playoff Finish Lost 10-7 to Chicago Staleys
Previous season Next season
1920 1922

Philadelphia Quakers moonlighting controversy and absorption of Detroit HeraldsEdit

During the 1921 season, several of the Buffalo All-Americans, most notably future Philadelphia Eagles co-founder Lud Wray, also played for the Philadelphia Quakers, an independent club based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since Philadelphia was subject to blue laws in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Quakers had to play their games on Saturdays, as opposed to the Sundays used by the APFA, including Buffalo. The Buffalo players played for Philadelphia on Saturday, then traveled back to Buffalo for Sunday's game. A few days before Buffalo played Canton, the league found out about violation of league policy, and made the players choose which team they wanted to play for. Five, including Wray, chose to stay with the Quakers, blaming the Buffalo management for "blowing the whistle." Buffalo was able to hire players from the Detroit Heralds, who folded midseason, to complete their roster.[2]

De facto championship gameEdit

The Chicago Staleys (to be renamed the Chicago Bears after the end of the season), led by wide receiver George Halas, and the Buffalo All-Americans, led by quarterback Tommy Hughitt, were the two top teams in the league; each playing all of their games at home, Buffalo and Chicago amassed 6-0 records in league play. On Thanksgiving 1921, Buffalo played one of its only road games of the season, in Chicago, and prevailed 7-6. Chicago demanded a rematch.

The All-Americans agreed to rematch the Staleys on December 4, again in Chicago, on the condition that the game would be considered a "post-season" exhibition game not to be counted in the standings; had it not, Buffalo would have had an undefeated season and won the title. (Buffalo had played, and defeated, the Akron Pros just one day prior.) Chicago defeated Buffalo in the rematch by a score of 10-7. Halas rebutted that the second game was played on December 4 (well before teams typically stopped playing games in those days), and the Staleys played two more games against top opponents, the Canton Bulldogs and Chicago Cardinals after the second Buffalo game (though, at the time of the Buffalo-Chicago matchup, Chicago had played three fewer games than Buffalo).

The league counted the All-Americans game in the standings, against Buffalo's wishes, resulting in Buffalo (9-1-2) and Chicago (9-1-1) being tied atop the standings. The league then implemented the first ever tiebreaker: a rule, now considered archaic and removed from league rulebooks, that states that if two teams play multiple times in a season, the last game between the two teams carries more weight. Thus, the Chicago victory actually counted more in the standings, giving Chicago the championship. Buffalo sports fans have been known to refer to this, justly or unjustly, as the "Staley Swindle," and have cited it as the first evidence of a sports curse on the city.


Week Date Opponent Result
1 October 2, 1921 Hammond Pros W 17-0
2 October 9, 1921 Columbus Panhandles W 38-0
3 October 16, 1921 New York Brickley Giants W 55-0
4 October 23, 1921 Rochester Jeffersons W 28-0
5 October 30, 1921 at Detroit Tigers W 21-0
6 November 6, 1921 Cleveland Indians W 10-6
7 November 13, 1921 Akron Pros T 0-0
8 November 20, 1921 Canton Bulldogs T 7-7
9 November 24, 1921 at Chicago Staleys W 7-6
10 November 27, 1921 Dayton Triangles W 7-0
11 December 3, 1921 Akron Pros W 14-0
12 December 4, 1921 at Chicago Staleys L 10-7

A September 25 game against the McKeesport Olympics, which the All-Americans won 28-0, is not counted in league standings, since McKeesport was not an NFL team.


Chicago Staleys 9 1 1 .900 128 53 T-1
Buffalo All-Americans 9 1 2 .900 211 29 L-1
Akron Pros 8 3 1 .727 148 31 W-1
Canton Bulldogs 5 2 3 .714 106 55 W-1
Rock Island Independents 4 2 1 .667 65 30 L-1
Evansville Crimson Giants 3 2 0 .600 89 46 W-1
Green Bay Packers 3 2 1 .600 70 55 L-1
Chicago Cardinals 3 3 2 .500 54 53 T-1
Dayton Triangles 4 4 1 .500 96 67 L-1
Rochester Jeffersons 2 3 0 .400 85 76 W-2
Cleveland Indians 3 5 0 .375 95 58 L-1
Washington Senators 1 2 0 .333 21 43 L-1
Hammond Pros 1 3 1 .250 17 45 L-2
Minneapolis Marines 1 3 0 .250 37 41 L-1
Cincinnati Celts 1 3 0 .250 14 117 L-2
Detroit Tigers 1 5 1 .167 19 109 L-5
Columbus Panhandles 1 8 0 .111 47 222 W-1
Muncie Flyers 0 2 0 .000 0 28 L-2
Tonawanda Kardex 0 1 0 .000 0 45 L-1
New York Brickley Giants 0 2 0 .000 0 72 L-2
Louisville Brecks 0 2 0 .000 0 27 L-2


Akron Buffalo Canton Chicago Cardinals Chicago Staleys
Cincinnati Cleveland Columbus Dayton Detroit
Evansville Green Bay Hammond Louisville Minneapolis
Muncie New York Rochester Rock Island Tonawanda

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