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.

11 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT PORTSMOUTH AND IRONTON'S PRO FOOTBALL DAYS

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. Glenn Presnell, a Spartan player and former Ironton Tank, held the NFL record for a field goal at 54 yards from 1934 to 1953.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

2. The Portsmouth Spartans are now the Detroit Lions.

3. Glenn Presnell, a Spartan player and former Ironton Tank, picked the colors for the Detroit Lions, which are still used today.

4. The Ironton Tanks are often thought of as the best football team to never have played in the NFL.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

5. The Ironton Tanks were the first football team to play regularly on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition their players passed on to the Detroit Lions, who still play that game annually today.

6. Tanks Memorial Stadium, where the Ironton Tanks played their professional football games, is still in use today by the local high school team.

7. Spartan Municipal Stadium, home of the Portsmouth Spartans, was the first stadium built for professional football, although the team never played an official NFL game there.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

8. The Portsmouth Spartans beat the Green Bay Packers in the “Iron Man Game” in 1932, in which they never made a substitution and only played 11 players.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

9. In their hey-day the city of Portsmouth, OH was a larger metropolis than Green Bay, WI

10. The unrivaled crowd and atmosphere at Tanks Memorial Stadium in Ironton is a time capsule into the past because of the pride and passion displayed by current day fans.

11. The bold Romanesque styling of Portsmouth's Spartan Stadium is reflected in the strong archways and patterned within the original exterior of Ohio State's Ohio Stadium in Columbus.


© 2015 Before The League, LLC.