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.

7 REASONS WHY CANTON, OH, IS THE CENTER OF AMERICA'S FOOTBALL HERITAGE

 Source: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

Source: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

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 Canton Bulldogs and Massillon Tigers are one of Football’s oldest rivalries.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

2. The first ever meeting to form the NFL was held in Canton, Ohio in 1920.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

3. Canton Bulldogs' coach Jim Thorpe was the league’s first president.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

4. The Akron Pros hired the NFL'S first African American coach, FRITZ POLLARD.

 Fritz Pollard, the first African American Head Coach.  Source: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel    Public Domain

Fritz Pollard, the first African American Head Coach.  Source: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel    Public Domain

5. The state's high school football championships were played for MANY years in Canton and Massillon as an historical nod to the birthplace of pro football.

 Source: OHSAA

Source: OHSAA

6. Some believe that because of its history, Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium has a positive and welcoming ghost-like presence in the stadium when they are alone or in small groups.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

7. Even after almost 80 years since NFL and pro football left Stark County, the rivalry between the two high school teams in Canton and Massillon continueS to be one of the most heated in the country.


© 2015 Before The League, LLC.