Who Were the 14 Original NFL Teams?

Written by Rupam Kumar

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As the foundation of American sports culture, the National Football League (NFL) attracts millions of fans annually to experience the thrill of the game. Yet, where did it all start? Studying the 14 original NFL teams that set up the framework for the modern league is necessary for understanding the league’s history.

Let’s take a look back at these classic franchises.

Who were the 14 original NFL teams
original NFL teams

Who were the 14 original NFL teams?

1. Akron Pros

  • One of the NFL original teams, the Akron Pros were founded in 1920.
  • They were from Ohio, and in 1920 they won the league’s first championship, defining a standard for success.

2. Canton Bulldogs

  • The Canton Bulldogs, another team from Ohio, had an important effect on the NFL in its early years.
  • Their place in football history was established in 1922 and 1923 when they were crowned champions.

3. Cleveland Tigers

  • The Cleveland Tigers were an original NFL teams in the early years of the league, not to be confused with the later Cleveland Browns.
  • Even though never won a championship, they made a big impact on the NFL’s development.

4. Columbus Panhandles

  • One of the NFL’s original teams, the Panhandles was based in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Since they were not as successful as some of their peers, their involvement was essential to the growth of the league.

5. Dayton Triangles

  • The Dayton Triangles were one of the country’s first and still-active professional football teams when they were founded in 1913.
  • They made the move to the NFL during its early years and made an important change.

6. Decatur Staleys

  • The Decatur Staleys later renamed the Chicago Bears were instrumental in reshaping the NFL.
  • They rose to prominence as one of the most illustrious teams in the league under the direction of the late great coach George Halas.

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7. Hammond Pros

  • The Hammond Pros, an NFL original team, were based in Hammond, Indiana.
  • Yet they had difficulties and finally broke up in the 1920s, their early league history is major.
original NFL teams
original NFL teams

8. Muncie Flyers

  • Originally from Indiana, the Muncie Flyers played in the NFL’s first season.
  • Regardless of having only a short tenure in the league, they helped it develop and flourish.

9. Racine Cardinals

  • The Arizona Cardinals started as the Racine Cardinals after they were relocated to Chicago from their original home of Racine, Wisconsin.
  • Their value as one of the original NFL teams is further highlighted by their longevity in the league.

10. Rochester Jeffersons

  • The NFL’s original members included the New York-based Rochester Jeffersons.
  • They had an impact on the early dynamics of professional football despite being a small market.

11. Rock Island Independents

  • The Illinois-based Rock Island Independents played a key role in the early development of the NFL.
  • They show the skill and spirit of competition that would eventually come to define the league.

12. Chicago Tigers

  • The Chicago Tigers were a part of the NFL’s inaugural season, even though their brief existence.
  • Their arrival in the Windy City contributed to the then-developing football culture.

13. Green Bay Packers

  • Without mentioning the Green Bay Packers, no discussion about the NFL’s beginnings would be complete.
  • They have a long history of success and are the oldest continuously playing professional football team in the United States, having been founded in 1919.

14. Providence Steam Roller

  • The Rhode Island-based Providence Steam Roller completes the original 14 teams.
  • Even though having only a short career in the NFL, they had a major influence on the league’s founding years.

Final Note

The foundation for what would grow to be the world's top professional football league was set by the 14 founding original NFL teams. 

From modest beginnings in small towns to the glamorous lights of large cities, these franchises have contributed to the development of the modern sport that we all love.

Take steps to remember those early pioneers who made it possible for future generations of football fans to follow in their footsteps as we honor the NFL of today.

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