August 19, 2007

NFL 1920 to 1960

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 am



This map shows the prominent teams of the period from 1920 to 1960. Every team that existed for at least 4 NFL seasons in the 1920-60 time period is shown (as well as franchise shifts).

The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920, in Canton, Ohio.  The APFA changed its name to the National Football League in 1922.  The early days of the NFL were marked by franchise instability and public indifference. College football was far more popular, and club finances were further eroded by the onset of the Depression.  Many teams came and went.  In fact, there wasn’t a balanced schedule until 1936.  The roster of defunct teams would startle the average NFL fan of today.  Very few fans who cozy up to their TV each autumn Sunday to watch pro football know that in the early 1930′s, New York City boasted three NFL teams: the New York Football Giants, the Brooklyn Football Dodgers, and the Staten Island Stapletons.  Or that the roster of teams that won the Title include the Frankford Yellow Jackets, in 1926, and the Providence Steamroller, in 1928.  Or that the Rams, now in St. Louis after several decades in Los Angeles, actually began as the Cleveland Rams. 

The league soldiered on, though, and by the end of World War II, it was poised for its future success. The post-war era also saw the end of leather helmets, and a more emphasized passing game. By the late 1950′s, television coverage began turning the NFL into the sports entertainment juggernaut it is today.

The evolution of the football helmet is depicted at the top of the map.

To see a list of defunct NFL teams that played for at least 4 seasons, click on the gif at the top of this posting.

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