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.

8 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ROCHESTER AND BUFFALO'S PRO FOOTBALL LEGACY

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 Rochester Jeffersons were one of the first early teams to play games against teams from another state.

 Photo courtesy of http://www.footballsfuture.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.footballsfuture.com

2. Leo Lyons, the manager of the Rochester Jeffersons, stayed with the NFL long after the team folded, becoming the league’s unofficial historian.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

3. The Rochester Jeffersons once tried to sign Red Grange, who instead went to the Chicago Bears.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

4. The Rochester Jeffersons only won 2 NFL league games, despite playing from 1921 to 1925.

5. The Buffalo All-Americans were the first professional NFL team to win by margins of 20 or more points in each of its first four games, an asterisked record which was not tied until the 2007 New England Patriots.

6. The Buffalo All-Americans made the first player trade in NFL history, acquiring Bob Nash from the Akron Pros for $300 and 5% of the gate.

 Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

Source: Wikipedia    Public Domain

7. The flu epidemic of 1919 prevented the Buffalo All-Americans from traveling to play against other teams.

8. The Buffalo All-Americans were part of the first major dispute in the NFL, claiming a share of the 1921 title, which was denied and given to the Decatur Staleys.


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