Before The League

The story of the people and towns that made pro football America's biggest sport.

The 6-part documentary story of the people and towns that made pro football America's biggest sport.

“Before the League” examines how small towns like Canton and Massillon, Ohio were the blueprint for fielding early pro teams as well as fostering healthy rivalries. As precursors to the NFL, teams like the Akron Pros, Dayton Triangles, Portsmouth Spartans, Ironton Tanks, Shelby Blues, Oorang Indians, Rochester Jeffersons, Buffalo All-Americans, Milwaukee Badgers and Columbus Panhandles laid the groundwork for the successes of today’s big city teams.

10 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW About PRO Football

Now, go impress some buddies, win some bets, and don't miss "Before the League", a two-night event on November 17 and 18 on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Click here for show times.  

1. The first NFL offices were on East Broad Street in Columbus.

2. The first official league game was between two Ohio teams: the Columbus Panhandles and the Dayton Triangles.

 Source: Ohio Historical Society   Public Domain

Source: Ohio Historical Society   Public Domain

3. The Oorang Indians, from LaRue, OH invented the half time show.

  Source: Wikipedia User:  Nyttend    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia User: Nyttend   Public Domain

4. The Columbus Panhandle’s team manager Joe Carr was the NFL’s second president.

  Source: Ohio Historical Society   Public Domain

Source: Ohio Historical Society   Public Domain

5. The Akron Pros hired the first African American coach.

  Source: Wikipedia     Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia   Public Domain

6. The Ohio League was made up of pro and semi-pro teams and proceeded the NFL.

  Source: Wikipedia     Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia   Public Domain

7. The biggest problems before the league were, player jumping, escalating salaries and betting.

 Source: National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

Source: National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution

8. Jim Thorpe was one of football’s first mega-stars.

  Source: Wikipedia     Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia   Public Domain

9. The first documented paid player earned $500.

 Source: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History

Source: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History

10. Football was an integrated sport decades before baseball.

© 2015 Before The League, LLC.