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Who was the first person to own an NFL team?


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2015-07-17 17:50:00
2015-07-17 17:50:00

I don't know that history has recorded who the very first owner of a team in the NFL was. The NFL was founded in 1920 and for the first two years was called the American Professional Football Association. There were 10 charter teams competing in the 1920 season, 9 of which came from the Midwest and one, the Rochester Jeffersons, was located in New York. There were no playoff games; whoever had the best record in the regular season won the championship.

Akron Pros - The Pros were the first champions of the APFA, winning the 1920 championship with a record of 8-0-3. The Pros were owned by two local businessmen, Frank Reid and Art Ranney. The Pros suffered serious financial difficulties and ceased operation after the 1926 season.

Canton Bulldogs - Canton was the site of the organization of the APFA and is now the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Canton's record in 1920 was 4-3-1. They were owned by Ralph Hay, a local auto dealer. The Bulldogs folded after the 1926 season.

Chicago Cardinals - The Cardinals 1920 record was 3-2-1. They were owned by Chris O'Brien, a painting contractor. The Cardinals now play in Arizona.

Cleveland Tigers - The Tigers went 1-4-2 in 1920. Either history has not recorded their owner or, more probably, I have not found the correct website to obtain this information. The Tigers moved to Chicago for the 1921 season and folded after the 1921 season.

Dayton Triangles - The Triangles were named because they were sponsored by three Dayton companies that were known as the Dayton Triangle: Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO), Domestic Engineering Company, and Dayton Metal Products Company. The Triangles record in 1920 was 4-2-2. The team played in Dayton until 1929 when they were bought by a Brooklyn businessman and moved to Brooklyn and became the Dodgers. Their final season in the NFL was 1944.

Decatur Staleys - The Staleys were owned by A.E. Staley, owner of Staley Starch Works. George Halas was the team's first coach. The Staleys played most of the 1921 season's home games in Chicago and officially moved to Chicago in 1922 and became the Bears. Their 1920 record was 5-1-2.

Hammond Pros - The Pros were owned by Alva Young, a physician, boxing promoter, and owner of a racing stable. Their 1920 record was 0-3. The team folded after the 1926 season.

Muncie Flyers - The Flyers were owned by Earl Ball. I couldn't find what his occupation was. They went 0-1 in the 1920 season and folded during the 1921 season.

Rochester Jeffersons: The only team in 1920 that was not located in the Midwest. They were owned by Leo Lyons who owned a paint business. Their 1920 record was 0-1 and they folded after the 1925 season.

Rock Island Independents - Rock Island was owned by Walter Flanagan, a real estate and insurance businessman. Their 1920 record was 4-2-1. They played in the NFL until 1925 when, after the season, they jumped affiliations to the upstart American Football League. That league folded after one season and the Independents played as a semi-pro team for the 1927 season and then folded.

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