The 1926 American Football League season is the only season of the existence of the first American Football League. It started with nine teams, with the initial game of the season being played in front of 22,000 fans in Cleveland, Ohio, but by the end of the season (December 14, 1926), only four teams were still in existence: three teams owned or subsidized by league founder C. C. Pyle and star Red Grange (New York Yankees, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Chicago Bulls) and league champion Philadelphia Quakers. The initial lineup of teams included the traveling Wildcats and a charter member of the National Football League, the Rock Island Independents, which became a second traveling team after having poor attendance in its first three games.
Most AFL games were defensive affairs, with only New York and the Cleveland Panthers averaging more than 10 points of offense per contest. The majority of scoring was by either placement or drop kick; Chicago's Joey Sternaman scored 52 of the team's total of 88 (60% of Chicago’s points), but that wasn't the largest share of team points in the AFL of 1926: Newark's Doug Wycoff had his team's entire point total for the year when he scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point in the Bears' first game.
While Philadelphia and New York were consistently playing in front of crowds of at least 20,000 per game, the rest of the league was not so fortunate. While crowds of more than 10,000 attended games in Fenway Park and Comiskey Park in September and October, crowds in other AFL cities were consistently much smaller: Rock Island (Moline, Illinois) struggled to draw 5000 into its home stadium; Newark didn't have a total of 5000 in its three home games combined. Competing against the Brooklyn Lions of the National Football League, the Brooklyn Horsemen called it quits in November and merged with its NFL brethren. As the AFL decreased in size in October and November, so did the attendance figures in Philadelphia, the only team in the AFL reported to have made a profit.
Two weeks after clinching the AFL championship, the Philadelphia Quakers played an exhibition game with the NFL's seventh place team, the New York Giants, in a driving snowstorm at the Polo Grounds. Only 5000 hardy fans witnessed the home team's 31-0 whitewash of the AFL titlists. While the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Wildcats went on a barnstorming tour, the rest of the American Football League folded.
|1||September 26, 1926||at Cleveland Panthers||L 10-0|
|2||October 3, 1926||at Rock Island Independents||W 26-0|
|3||October 9, 1926||at Boston Bulldogs||W 13-0|
|4||October 17, 1926||at Chicago Bulls||L 14-0|
|5||October 24, 1926||Los Angeles Wildcats||W 6-0|
|6||October 30, 1926||at Philadelphia Quakers||W 23-0|
|7||October 31, 1926||at Newark Demons||- Cancelled|
|8||November 2, 1926||Rock Island Independents||W 35-0|
|9||November 7, 1926||Brooklyn Horsemen||W 21-13|
|10||November 8, 1926||Los Angeles Wildcats||W 28-0|
|11||November 14, 1926||Boston Bulldogs||W 24-0|
|12||November 21, 1926||Los Angeles Wildcats||L 16-6|
|13||November 25, 1926||Philadelphia Quakers||L 13-10|
|14||November 27, 1926||at Philadelphia Quakers||L 13-6|
|15||November 28, 1926||Chicago Bulls||W 7-0|
|15||December 13, 1926||at Chicago Bulls||W 7-3|
League standings Edit
|Philadelphia Quakers||8||2||0||.800||93||52||Bob Folwell|
|New York Yankees||10||5||0||.667||212||82||Ralph Scott|
|Cleveland Panthers||3||2||0||.600||62||46||Roy Watts|
|Los Angeles Wildcats||6||6||2||.500||105||83||Jim Clark|
|Chicago Bulls||5||6||3||.455||88||69||Joey Sternaman|
|Boston Bulldogs||2||4||0||.333||20||81||Herb Treat|
|Rock Island Independents||2||6||1||.250||21||126||Johnny Armstrong|
|Brooklyn Horsemen||1||3||0||.250||25||68||Eddie McNeeley|
|Newark Bears||0||3||2||.000||7||26||Hal Hansen|
AFL-NFL Challenge Game Edit
New York Giants 31, Philadelphia Quakers 0 Edit
December 14, 1926 – Polo Grounds, New York, New York (attendance 5000) In an exhibition game between the AFL’s champion Philadelphia Quakers and the NFL’s seventh place New York Giants, the host Giants crushed the visitors 31-0 in a driving snowstorm. A first period field goal by Jack McBride gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead that stood into the second half. As conditions deteriorated, the Quakers had trouble hanging onto the ball as the opportunistic New Yorkers converted turnovers into points in the third and fourth quarters. McBride scored two touchdowns and all four extra points in the second half and the Giants' Jack Haggerty and Tillie Voss each crossed the goal line once as the Quakers were held to one first down in the game.
|Philadelphia Quakers (AFL)||0||0||0||0||-||0|
|New York Giants (NFL)||3||0||14||14||-||31|
Wildcats-Yankees barnstorming tourEdit
After the season, the Yankees and Wildcats went on a barnstorming tour of the Southern United States. After four games against each other, the Wildcats went to California to play two home games: one against the local Hollywood Generals in Los Angeles's Wrigley Field, and the second effectively becoming the West Coast AFL-NFL Challenge Game against the Los Angeles Buccaneers in San Francisco's Ewing Field. The Yankees also went to California, played three games against the Buccaneers and one against the Generals, and this resulted in their season extending all the way until February 1927, practically unheard of at that time.
- December 14: Wildcats 7, Yankees 7, at Atlanta, Georgia
- December 16: Yankees 14, Wildcats 3, at Birmingham, Alabama (attendance: 5000)
- December 22: Wildcats 34, Yankees 0, at Beaumont, Texas
- December 27: Yankees 20, Wildcats 14, at San Antonio, Texas (attendance: 3000)
- January 9: Wildcats 28, Generals 7, at Los Angeles (attendance: 10000)
- January 16: Buccaneers 30, Yankees 6, at Los Angeles (attendance: 20000)
- January 23: Yankees 48, Generals 0, at Los Angeles
- January 23: Wildcats 17, Buccaneers 0, at San Francisco (attendance: 11000)
- January 30: Yankees 14, Buccaneers 0, at Los Angeles (attendance: 10000)
- February 6: Buccaneers 7, Yankees 6, at San Francisco (attendance: 8500)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1926 American Football League from Elias Sports Bureau and Pro Football Research Association Linescore Committee
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present (St. Martin’s Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, From 1892 to the Present (St. Martin's Press 1994), ISBN 0-312-11435-4
- ↑ Davis S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Rick Korch, The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional Football, from 1892 to the Present (St. Martin's Press 1994) ISBN 0-312-11435-4
- ↑ George Gipe, The Great American Sports Book (Doubleday 1978) ISBN 0-385-13091-0
- ↑ "New York Giants beat Quakers in slop, 31-0" Philadelphia Record, December 13, 1926
- ↑ "Title Unknown". Archived from the original on 2009-05-16. http://home.comcast.net/~ghostsofthegridiron/Quakers_1926_Wildcats.txt. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- ↑ 
- 1926 NFL season
- 1926 AFL entry in Enciclopedia del football italiano (note that home teams are listed first)