1921 APFA season

The 1921 APFA season was the second regular season of the National Football League, which was then called the American Professional Football Association.

At the league meeting in Akron, Ohio on April 30 prior to the season, the Association was reorganized, with Joe Carr of the Columbus Panhandles named as president. The Association's headquarters was moved to Columbus, Ohio, and a league constitution and by-laws were drafted, giving teams territorial rights, restricting player movements, and developing membership criteria for the franchises. The league would play under the rules of college football, and official standings were issued for the first time so that there would be a clear champion. The most notable of changes was that only games played against league teams would count toward the standings; this had the dual effect of both encouraging independent teams (such as those from the Ohio League and the NYPFL) to join, but also caused those that did not join to fold within a few years, because NFL teams, particularly those competing for a championship, would be much less willing to play what were effectively exhibition games against teams that would not help them in the standings.

However, a number of teams had financial difficulties. Some of the teams that played during the previous season, including the Chicago Tigers, had disbanded. The Association did increase to 21 teams, but 4 of the new teams (Brickley's New York Giants, the Cincinnati Celts, the Tonawanda Kardex, and the Washington Senators) only lasted a single season. New York and Tonawanda were particularly short-lived: New York lasted two games in the league and Tonawanda a league-record one game before leaving or folding. The Muncie Flyers also disbanded after the season, and even though the Cleveland Tigers changed their name to the Cleveland Indians, it still did not help them from folding after the season too.

At one point, the Professional Football Researchers Association recognized a team by the name of the Syracuse Pros as joining and leaving the league in 1921, but the league has not recognized the claim, and the PFRA has backed off its assertion in more recent years. The Syracuse professional team in question, which had never used the name "Pros," did intend to play at least seven games against APFA teams, but only played three, and there is no records of the league ever admitting the team into the league, nor is there any record of the team leaving the league. The only word of the Syracuse Holy Moly team joining the league came from the team itself.

The other new teams were the Evansville Crimson Giants, the Green Bay Packers, the Minneapolis Marines, and the Louisville Brecks. The Detroit Heralds became the Detroit Tigers. Detroit folded mid-season and its roster was absorbed by the Buffalo All-Americans.

The Staleys, who moved from Decatur, Illinois, to Chicago before the season, were named the APFA Champions over the Buffalo All-Americans.

1921 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 25 – December 18, 1921
ChampionsChicago Staleys

De facto championship game

1921 de facto championship
Buffalo All-Americans
(9–1–2)
Chicago Staleys
(9–1–1)
7 10
Head coach:
Tommy Hughitt
Head coach:
George Halas
1 Total
BUF 7 7
CHI 10 10
DateDecember 4, 1921
StadiumCubs Park, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Staleys (to be renamed the Chicago Bears after the end of the season), led by wide receiver George Halas, and the Buffalo All-Americans, led by quarterback Tommy Hughitt, were the two top teams in the league; each playing all of their games at home, Buffalo and Chicago amassed 6–0 records in league play. On Thanksgiving 1921, Buffalo played one of its only road games of the season, in Chicago, and prevailed 7–6. Chicago demanded a rematch.

The All-Americans agreed to rematch the Staleys on December 4, again in Chicago, on the condition that the game would be considered a "post-season" exhibition game not to be counted in the standings; had it not, Buffalo would have had an undefeated season and won the title. (Buffalo had played, and defeated, the Akron Pros just one day prior.) This was a fairly common custom of the time; both New York and Ohio's pre-NFL circuits put their marquee games on Thanksgiving weekend and cleaned up with mostly token opposition in the following weeks. Chicago defeated Buffalo in the rematch by a score of 10–7. Halas rebutted that the second game was played on December 4 (well before teams in Illinois typically stopped playing games in those days), and the Staleys played two more games against top opponents, the Canton Bulldogs and Racine Cardinals after the second Buffalo game (though, at the time of the Buffalo-Chicago matchup, Chicago had played three fewer games than Buffalo).

The league counted the All-Americans game in the standings, against Buffalo's wishes, resulting in Buffalo (9–1–2) and Chicago (9–1–1) being tied atop the standings. The league then implemented the first ever tiebreaker: a rule, now considered archaic and removed from league rulebooks, that stated if two teams played multiple times in a season, the last game between the two teams carried more weight. Thus, the Chicago victory actually counted more in the standings, giving Chicago the championship. Buffalo sports fans have been known to refer to this, justly or unjustly, as the "Staley Swindle," and have cited it as the first evidence of a sports curse on the city.

Had the current (post-1972) system of counting ties as half a win and half a loss been in place in 1921, the Staleys would have won the championship with a win percentage of .864, while the All-Americans would have finished second with .833. If the above game was excluded as per Buffalo's wishes, the All-Americans would have won with .909, and the Staleys would have finished second with .850.

Standings

APFA standings
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Chicago Staleys 9 1 1 .900 128 53 T1
Buffalo All-Americans 9 1 2 .900 211 29 L1
Akron Pros 8 3 1 .727 148 31 W1
Canton Bulldogs 5 2 3 .714 106 55 W1
Rock Island Independents 4 2 1 .667 65 30 L1
Evansville Crimson Giants 3 2 0 .600 89 46 W1
Green Bay Packers 3 2 1 .600 70 55 L1
Dayton Triangles 4 4 1 .500 96 67 L1
Chicago Cardinals 3 3 2 .500 54 53 T1
Rochester Jeffersons 2 3 0 .400 85 76 W2
Cleveland Indians 3 5 0 .375 95 58 L1
Washington Senators 1 2 0 .334 21 43 L1
Cincinnati Celts 1 3 0 .250 14 117 L2
Hammond Pros 1 3 1 .250 17 45 L2
Minneapolis Marines 1 3 0 .250 37 41 L1
Detroit Tigers 1 5 1 .167 19 109 L5
Columbus Panhandles 1 8 0 .111 47 222 W1
Tonawanda Kardex 0 1 0 .000 0 45 L1
Muncie Flyers 0 2 0 .000 0 28 L2
Louisville Brecks 0 2 0 .000 0 27 L2
New York Brickley Giants 0 2 0 .000 0 72 L2

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Coaches

References

  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1921–1930 (Last accessed December 4, 2005)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
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1921 All-Pro Team

The 1921 All-Pro Team represented the All-Pro team for the 1921 season of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), later renamed the National Football League (NFL). It was compiled by the Buffalo Evening News.

A. E. Staley

Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas LLC, formerly, A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company, is an American subsidiary of Tate & Lyle PLC and produces a range of starch products for the food, paper and other industries; high fructose corn syrup; crystalline fructose; and other agro-industrial products. The company was incorporated in 1906 as A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company by Augustus Eugene Staley.

Chalmers Tschappat

John Chalmers Tschappat, Jr. (June 22, 1896 – February 6, 1958), sometimes listed as John Franklin Tschappat, was an American football player. He played at the tackle position for the Dayton Triangles of the American Professional Football Association (later renamed the National Football League) during the 1921 APFA season, the second regular season of the National Football League.

Tschappat was born in Bellaire, Ohio in 1896 and later attended Bellaire High School. His father, John Tschappat, Sr., was an Ohio native who was employed as a boiler maker.Tschappat played college football at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1916. In 1918, Walter Camp's Spalding's Official Foot Ball Guide named Tschappat to its All-West Virginia eleven. Tschappat also studied chemistry as a special student at Ohio State University in 1917.During World War I, he served in the United States Army Medical Division from June 1918 to March 1919.After his discharge from the military, Tschappat returned to Ohio. In the fall of 1919, in the early days of professional football in the Ohio League, he served as the line coach for Bellaire Athletic Association team during the 1919 season.In the fall of 1921, he played at the tackle position for the 1921 Dayton Triangles of the American Professional Football Association during the 1921 APFA season, the second regular season of the NFL.

Joseph Carr

Joseph Francis Carr (October 22, 1879 – May 20, 1939) was an American sports executive in American football, baseball, and basketball. He is best known as the president of the National Football League from 1921 until 1939. He was also one of the founders and president of the American Basketball League (ABL) from 1925 to 1927. He was also the promotional director for Minor League Baseball's governing body from 1933 to 1939, leading an expansion of the minor leagues from 12 to 40 leagues operating in 279 cities with 4,200 players and attendance totaling 15,500,000.

A native and lifelong resident of Columbus, Ohio, Carr worked in his early years as a machinist for the Panhandle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and a sports writer for a Columbus newspaper. While working for the Panhandle Division, he founded the Famous Panhandle White Sox baseball team in approximately 1900. He also revived the Columbus Panhandles football team in 1907, manning the team with railroad employees. The Panhandles became one of the inaugural members of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which was renamed the National Football League (NFL) in 1922.

From 1921 until his death in 1939, Carr served as president of the NFL. He oversaw the growth of the league from is origins, principally in small or medium-sized cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois into a national league with teams in major cities. During his tenure, many of the NFL's premier franchises were established, including the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins. Called the "Father of Professional Football", Carr was one of the 17 inaugural inductees into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

List of NFL champions (1920–1969)

The National Football League champions, prior to the merger between the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) in 1970, were determined by two different systems. The National Football League was established on September 17, 1920, as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). The APFA changed its name in 1922 to the National Football League, which it has retained ever since.From 1921 to 1931, the APFA/NFL determined its champion by overall win–loss record, with no playoff games; ties were not counted in the winning percentage total. The APFA did not keep records of the 1920 season; they declared the Akron Pros, who finished the season with an 8–0–3 (8 wins, 0 losses, 3 ties) record, as the league's first champions, by a vote of the owners, with the Buffalo-All Americans and Decatur Staleys also claiming the title. According to modern-tie breaking rules, the Buffalo All-Americans tied Akron for the championship. The Canton Bulldogs won two straight championships from 1922 to 1923, and the Green Bay Packers won three in a row from 1929 to 1931.There also has been controversy over the championshipships of the 1921 APFA season and the 1925 NFL season, with the Buffalo All-Americans laying claim to another championship in an incident known as the "Staley Swindle" and the Pottsville Maroons being stripped of their championship in 1925 for playing an exhibition game against college football powerhouse Notre Dame's famed Four Horsemen, leading to a last minute field goal victory for the Maroons, stunning the crowd and nation, and also put the NFL ahead of college football for the first time ever. These three disputed championships contributed to the beginning of the NFL's rich history.

The 1932 NFL season resulted in a tie for first place between the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans, and could not be resolved by the typical win–loss system. To settle the tie, a playoff game was played; Chicago won the game and the championship. The following year, the NFL split into two divisions, and the winner of each division would play in the NFL Championship Game. In 1967, the NFL and the rival AFL agreed to merge, effective following the 1969 season; as part of this deal, the NFL champion from 1966 to 1969 would play the AFL champion in an AFL–NFL World Championship Game in each of the four seasons before the completed merger. The NFL Championship Game was ended after the 1969 season, succeeded by the NFC Championship Game. The champions of that game play the champions of the AFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl to determine the NFL champion.The Green Bay Packers won the most NFL championships before the merger, winning eleven of the fifty championships. The Packers were also the only team to win three straight championships, an achievement they accomplished twice: from 1929–31 and from 1965–67. The Chicago Bears won a total of eight titles, and the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and New York Giants each won four. The Bears recorded the largest victory in a championship game, defeating the Washington Redskins 73–0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game; six other title games ended in a shutout as well. The Philadelphia Eagles recorded two consecutive shutouts in 1948 and 1949. New York City hosted the most championship games (eight), while the highest-attended title game was the 1955 NFL Championship Game, where 85,693 fans showed up in Los Angeles to watch the Browns beat the Rams 38–14.

Ockie Anderson

Oscar Carl "Ockie" Anderson (October 15, 1894 – January 25, 1962) was an American football player and coach. He played college football at Colgate University was selected as a first-team All-American in 1916 at quarterback. Anderson later played professional football for the Buffalo All-Americans of the American Professional Football Association (APFA)—now known as the National Football League (NFL). He was one of the leading scorers in the 1920 and 1921 APFA seasons.

Washington Senators (NFL)

Washington Senators, also referred to as the Washington Pros or Washington Presidents, was a professional football club from Washington, D.C.. The team played in the American Professional Football Association (now the National Football League) during the 1921 season, and continued to operate as a football club until 1941. The Senators played and practiced at American League Park.

1921 APFA season
Early era
(1920–1969)
Modern era
(1970–present)

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