Canton Bulldogs

The Canton Bulldogs were a professional American football team, based in Canton, Ohio. They played in the Ohio League from 1903 to 1906 and 1911 to 1919, and the American Professional Football Association (later renamed the National Football League (NFL) in 1922), from 1920 to 1923 and again from 1925 to 1926. The Bulldogs would go on to win the 1916, 1917 and 1919 Ohio League championships. They were the NFL champions in 1922 and 1923. In 1921–1923, the Bulldogs played 25 straight games without a defeat (including 3 ties), which as of 2018 remains an NFL record. As a result of the Bulldogs' early success along with the league being founded in the city, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton. Jim Thorpe, the Olympian and renowned all-around athlete, was Canton's most-recognized player in the pre-NFL era.[1]

In 1924, Sam Deutsch, the owner of the NFL's Cleveland Indians, bought the Canton Bulldogs and took the Bulldogs name and its players to Cleveland and named his franchise the Cleveland Bulldogs. He then offered to sell the Canton franchise back to the city of Canton to play in the 1924 season, however there were no buyers interested in the team, so he "mothballed" the Canton club. The Canton Bulldogs were however re-established in 1925, and the NFL considers the 1925 to 1926 Canton Bulldogs to be the same team as the 1920 to 1923 incarnation.

An unrelated "Canton Bulldogs" team played in the United Football League in 1964; the team's name was somewhat coincidental, as it had moved from Cleveland and kept its original nickname; that team moved to Philadelphia and became the "Philadelphia Bulldogs."[2] All in all, this version of the Cleveland-Canton-Philadelphia Bulldogs played from 1961 to 1966, its last two years in Philadelphia as a member of the Continental Football League.[3] Another "Canton Bulldogs" team was slated to begin play in the Stars Football League in 2012, although that team never materialized.[4] The Bulldogs name is also in use at Canton McKinley High School.

Canton Bulldogs
Established November 15, 1904 (as the Canton Athletic Club)
Ended 1927
Played in Canton, Ohio
Canton Bulldogs logo
Logo
League/conference affiliations

Ohio League (1903–1906, 1911–1919)
National Football League (19201927)

Uniform (1923, 1925-1926)
Team colorsMaroon, White
         
Personnel
Owner(s)Canton Athletic Club (1903–1906)
Jack Cusack (1911–1918)
Ralph Hay (1918–1923)
Canton Athletic Company (1923)
Sam Deutsch (1923–25)
Herb Brandt (1925–1927)
Head coachBill Laub (1905)
Blondy Wallace (1905–1906)
Harry Hazlett (1913–1915)
Jim Thorpe (1915–1920)
Cap Edwards (1921)
Guy Chamberlin (1922–1923)
Harry Robb (1925–1926)
Pete Henry (1926)
Team history
  • Canton Bulldogs (1920–1927)
  • Cleveland Bulldogs (1924)
Championships
League championships (2)
1922, 1923
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (2)
1922, 1923
Home fields

History

Origin

Prior to the debut of professional football in the city, an amateur team from Canton was mentioned as being a superior team in Stark County, Ohio. Until about 1902, this team competed with the Akron East Ends for the Ohio Independent Championship. When the Massillon Tigers arrived on the scene and went professional, Canton, as an amateur team, was no longer competitive.[5] The Canton Bulldogs were officially established on November 15, 1904 as the Canton Athletic Club, a club designed to operate baseball and football teams. The statement stated that the football team was to be a "professional organization," complete with a "professional coach."

Blondy Wallace era

1906 canton bulldogs team
The 1906 Canton Bulldogs team.

The team was given the goal of beating the rival Massillon Tigers, who had won the Ohio League championship in 1903 and 1904. To do this, Canton went out and offered money to the best players on all the other Ohio League teams. Bill Laub, a player, team captain and coach of the Akron East Ends, was hired as the team's first-ever coach.

The team began its 1905 season, with a 7–0 record. The Bulldogs then traveled to Latrobe, Pennsylvania to play the Latrobe Athletic Association, led by quarterback John Brallier. Latrobe was not only the current Pennsylvania champions, but had gone undefeated for the last three seasons. Latrobe were also considered the only pro team capable of competing with Canton and Massillon. Canton would go on to lose its 1905 game to Latrobe, 6–0. However, the worst part of the loss came when coach Bill Laub became injured and was unable to finish the season. Blondy Wallace, a former All-American for the Penn Quakers, was then named as Laub's successor and team captain. Two weeks later, the team would lose the Ohio League championship game to the Massillon Tigers, 14–4.[6]

1906 Canton-Massillion Scandal Cartoon
Massillon Tiger vs. Canton Bulldog

Sometime during the 1906 season, the Canton team became known as the "Bulldogs" although no one is quite sure how it came to be affixed to the Canton team. It wasn't called that in 1905, nor through most of the 1906 season. As late as November 4, R.C. Johnson, an editorial cartoonist with the Canton Repository, was only able to picture the Canton team as only a man with a club lying in wait for the Massillon Tiger. Most references to the team called it "Canton A.C.," "C.A.C.," "Canton eleven." "the Red and White" or "Wallace's Men." Suddenly, almost overnight, the team became the "Bulldogs", with a November 14, 1906 cartoon showing the Canton Bulldog facing off against the Massillon Tiger.

Canton Bulldogs vs. Massillon Tigers playing on grid field on November 24, 1906, during the betting scandal.
Canton Bulldogs vs. Massillon Tigers playing on grid field on November 24, 1906, during the betting scandal.

Blondy Wallace began the 1906 season by signing Jack Lang, Jack Hayden, Herman Kerchoff, and Clark Schrontz away from the Tigers and improving Canton's chances for 1906 championship. Due to the money that was being spent by Canton and Massillon on professional players, both teams ended up with a spending deficit that had to be shouldered by local businessmen.

That year the Bulldogs won their first game against the Tigers, at Canton, but lost the second game at Massillon. Due to rules of the championship series, the win in the second game allowed Massillon to claim the Ohio championship. Shortly after that second game, a Massillon newspaper charged Canton coach Blondy Wallace with throwing the 1906 championship game. Canton denied the charges, maintaining that Massillon only wanted to ruin the club's reputation before their final game with Latrobe. Although Massillon could not prove that Canton had thrown the game, the accusation so tarnished Canton's name that virtually no one attended the Latrobe game. The scandal ruined professional football in Ohio until the mid 1910s. Other sports pundits argue that the expense of placing all-star teams on the field each week hampered on the sport. The Canton Morning News put a $20,000 price tag on the Massillon Tigers 1906 team, while many speculate that the Bulldogs probably cost even more. Still others contend that the games involving top teams like Canton and Massilon were too one-sided and lacked excitement.

While Massillon was still able to field a local team in 1907 and still win the Ohio League championship, the Canton team folded. Blondy Wallace may have lost more than money. His libel suit never came to trial. The reason was probably that he settled out of court, rather than that Massillon had some sort of secret evidence. This leaves the scandal still disputed by historians and football fans alike. Because Wallace settled out of court, we have only charges and countercharges instead of a real end to the fix scandal.[7]

Harry Turner era

In 1911, Canton finally fielded a new team called the Canton Professionals. The team was made up entirely of local players and the pay was undoubtedly small. In their comeback season, the Pros finished in second place in the standing behind Peggy Parratt and the Shelby Blues.[8] In 1914, the Pros challenged Parratt, this time with the Akron Indians, for the Ohio League title. In a game that served as a precursor to the championship, Canton defeated Parratt, however Canton captain Harry Turner, was severely injured during the game while attempting to tackle Akron's Joe Collins. He later died of a fracture to his spinal cord. According to Canton manager Jack Cusack, who was at Turner's bedside when he died, his last words were "I know I must go," he said, "but I'm satisfied, for we beat Peggy Parratt." Canton won the game 6 to 0. The death of Turner was taken hard by the team. It was the first fatal accident involving a major professional football team in Ohio. The Professionals easily lost a rematch to the Indians a few days later.[9]

Jim Thorpe era

Jim Thorpe football
Jim Thorpe during his tenure with the Bulldogs.

In 1915, Massillon and Canton began hiring several players away from the Akron Pros. Jack Cusack, who had become manager of the Canton team, restored the old Bulldog name.[10] As the first of two Canton-Massillon games approached, Cusack signed Jim Thorpe for $250 a game. Thorpe did not play much in the Bulldogs' first game, at Massillon, which the Tigers won 16 to 0. In the second game, Thorpe took over as the team's coach and played the entire game. He kicked two field goals in a 6 to 0 Canton win.[11]

In 1916, the Bulldogs went undefeated, beat Massillon 24–0, and were generally recognized as the professional champions, not only of Ohio, but also of the country. The average attendance for a game prior to Thorpe's signing was 1,500. That soon rose to 6,000 and eventually reached 8,000 spectators, which was the capacity of Canton's League Park. Thorpe would remain the chief attendance draw in professional football until Red Grange entered the game in 1925.[12] Because Thorpe was able to draw big crowds to Canton for games, Cusack was able to put together a financially stable squad that included several former All-Americans, including Cub Buck, who also coached at Carleton College at the time.[13]

In 1917, the Bulldogs won their first eight games to claim the league championship.[14] Neither Canton nor Massillon played during the 1918 season because of the Great War and the flu pandemic.[15] Cusack left the team that year to start up an oil business in Oklahoma and Ralph Hay, a successful auto dealer, took over managing the team. Hay kept Cusack's team pretty much intact in 1919 and the Bulldogs won their third league championship in four years.[10] They played the Hammond Pros, twice in Chicago at Cubs Park, now called Wrigley Field, in front of crowds of 10,000 fans.[16]

National Football League (NFL)

Canton bulldogs 1922 team
The Canton Bulldogs players depicted in 1922, first NFL championship.

While the Bulldogs were selling out stadiums and promoting professional football in America, many teams were in serious financial trouble. These teams, who were trying to compete with the Bulldogs, were spending more money than they could afford and were stealing players from one another, which drove salaries even higher. In 1920 at Hay's auto showroom, known for Hupmobiles, the American Professional Football Association was organized. As the best-known personality in football, Thorpe was named the APFA's first permanent president. After scheduling a showcase game between Canton and the Buffalo All-Americans in New York City in December 1920, Thorpe left the Bulldogs at the end of the 1920 season.[17]

Canton bulldogs 1923
Canton Bulldogs in 1923, NFL champions.

In the APFA, the Bulldogs found the competition somewhat tougher than expected. Canton had a respectable 9–5–4 record over the next two seasons. The APFA became the National Football League in 1922 and Hay hired Guy Chamberlin as Canton's player-coach. Chamberlin rebuilt the Bulldogs into a championship team. He kept just five players from the 1921 squad. As a player Chamberlin led his team past the Chicago Cardinals in 1922 by blocking a punt that set up a touchdown, and running back two interceptions for touchdowns to beat the Cards' 20–3.[18] The Bulldogs went on to win back-to-back NFL championships in 1922 and 1923.

However, Canton suffered several setbacks in 1923. First Hay announced that he was stepping down as the team's manager. His asking price for the team was $1,500, which was decided to be about $500 more than the 1922 champions were worth. Things were still up in the air when Hay and Chamberlin left for Chicago to represent the Bulldogs at the league's summer meeting. When Ralph Hay returned to Canton, he sold the Bulldogs on a group of local businessmen who formed the Canton Athletic Company to run the team. Chamberlin stayed on as coach, assuring the team of success on the field. Success at the gate was not nearly so likely.[19]

Cleveland Bulldogs

As the payroll for Canton players became too expensive, the team lost about $13,000 in 1923 and the Canton Athletic Company sold the franchise in August for $2,500 to Cleveland promoter Samuel Deutsch, owner of the NFL's Cleveland Indians.[20] He added seven players from Canton, renamed his team the Cleveland Bulldogs, and they won the 1924 NFL championship.[10] Chamberlin also served as a player-coach of the Cleveland Bulldogs. He became the first to coach NFL champions in three consecutive years.[20]

Return to Canton and Hall-of-Fame legacy

Deutsch then sold the franchise back to a group of Canton investors for $3,000 and the Canton Bulldogs were back in the NFL, along with the Cleveland Bulldogs.[10] Canton had an overall record of 4–4–0 in 1925 and 1–9–3 in 1926, during which time Jack Sack played for the team under future Hall of Fame coach Pete Henry.[21] Before the 1927 season, the league decided to purge itself of some of the weaker franchises. Twelve teams were jettisoned, including Canton and three other charter members of the APFA.[22]

Despite the Bulldogs folding in 1927, the team's heritage played a major role in Canton's selection as the location of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. First, the NFL was organized in a Canton automobile showroom on September 17, 1920. Secondly, the Canton Bulldogs were one of the early powers of pro football both before and after 1920. An NFL charter member, the Bulldogs became the new league’s first two-time champions with undefeated seasons in 1922 and 1923. Finally Jim Thorpe, the first big-name athlete to play pro football, began his pro tenure with the 1915 Canton Bulldogs.

In late 1959, the citizens of Canton responded enthusiastically to a Canton Repository editorial that pointed out why a Hall of Fame should be located in their city. The city's foundations and individuals banded together to first win site designation from the NFL and then raise $378,026 to actually build a hall of fame on wooded parkland donated by the city. Ground-breaking was held in August, 1962, and the Hall was opened on September 7, 1963.[23]

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Season-by-season

Year League W L T Finish Coach Outcome
1905 Ohio 8 2 0 2nd Bill Laub, Blondy Wallace Lost Championship to Massillon Tigers
1906 Ohio 10 1 0 2nd Blondy Wallace Lost Championship to Massillon Tigers
1907 did not play
1908 did not play
1909 did not play
1910 did not play
1911 Ohio 8 1 0 2nd Ben Clarke Lost Championship to Shelby Blues
1912 Ohio 7 4 0 Harry Blythe
1913 Ohio 4 2 2 Harry Hazlett
1914 Ohio 9 1 0 2nd Harry Hazlett Lost Championship to Akron Indians
1915 Ohio 5 2 0 1st Harry Hazlett, Jim Thorpe Co-Champions with the Massillon Tigers and Youngstown Patricians
1916 Ohio 9 0 1 1st Jim Thorpe Champions: defeated Massillon Tigers
1917 Ohio 9 1 0 1st Jim Thorpe Champions: defeated Massillon Tigers
1918 did not play
1919 Ohio 9 0 1 1st Jim Thorpe Champions: defeated Massillon Tigers
1920 APFA 7 4 2 8th Jim Thorpe
1921 APFA 5 2 3 4th Cap Edwards
1922 NFL 10 0 2 1st Guy Chamberlin NFL Champions
1923 NFL 11 0 1 1st Guy Chamberlin NFL Champions
1924 did not play
1925 NFL 4 4 0 11th Harry Robb
1926 NFL 1 9 3 20th Harry Robb, Pete Henry
Totals 107 33 14

Notes

  1. ^ "The Pro Football Hall of Fame: Then and Now". Pro Football Hall of Fame. January 1, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  2. ^ Kuno, Dennis (January 13, 2012). "History of the Continental Football League (1965–1969)". Pittsburgh Sports Bulletin. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Kennedy (1988), p. 2
  4. ^ "Team Info – Canton BullDogs". Stars Football League. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  5. ^ Carroll (n.d.), p. 4
  6. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.a), p. 6
  7. ^ Braunwart & Carroll (1984), p. 16
  8. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.b), p. 2
  9. ^ Roberts (1979), p. 4
  10. ^ a b c d "Canton Bulldogs". Ohio History Central. Ohio Historical Society. July 1, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  11. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.d), p. 4
  12. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.c), p. ?
  13. ^ "Howard "Cub" Buck". Green Bay Packers.
  14. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.e), pp. 4–5
  15. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.f), p. 1
  16. ^ PFRA Research (n.d.g), p. 6
  17. ^ "Associating in Obscurity" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  18. ^ "Birth and Rebirth" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  19. ^ "Ditto" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Goodbye, Bulldogs, Hello" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  21. ^ JT-SW.com 1926 Canton Bulldogs
  22. ^ "Here's Your Hat" (PDF). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  23. ^ Smith (1984), p. 1

References

Achievements
Preceded by
Akron Indians
1913 & 1914
Ohio League Champions
Canton Bulldogs
Massillon Tigers
Youngstown Patricians

1915
Succeeded by
Canton Bulldogs
1916
Preceded by
Canton Bulldogs
Massillon Tigers
Youngstown Patricians
1915
Ohio League Champions
Canton Bulldogs

1916 & 1917
Succeeded by
Dayton Triangles
1918
Preceded by
Dayton Triangles
1918
Ohio League Champions
Canton Bulldogs

1919
Succeeded by
NFL established
in 1920
Preceded by
Chicago Staleys
1921
NFL Champions
Canton Bulldogs

1922, 1923
Succeeded by
Cleveland Bulldogs
1924
1920 APFA season

The 1920 APFA season was the inaugural season of the American Professional Football Association, renamed the National Football League in 1922. The league was formed on August 20, 1920, by independent professional American football teams from Ohio, all of whom had previously played in the Ohio League or New York Pro Football League (NYPFL). At the meeting, they first called their new league the American Professional Football Conference. A second organizational meeting was held in Canton on September 17, adding more teams to the league, and at the meeting, the name of the league became the American Professional Football Association. Four other teams also joined the Association during the year. Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe of the Canton Bulldogs was named the APFA's first president but continued to play for the team.

Scheduling was left up to each team. There were wide variations, both in the overall number of games played, and in the number played against other Association members. Thus, no official standings were maintained. In addition, football teams in the APFA also faced independent football teams not associated with the league. For instance, the Rochester Jeffersons played a schedule consisting mostly of local teams from their local sandlot circuit and the NYPFL, not the APFA.

The Akron Pros ended the season as the only undefeated team in the Association. Despite this, two one-loss teams—the Decatur Staleys and Buffalo All-Americans—who both tied Akron that year made cases for a co-championship. At the league meetings in Akron on April 30, 1921, the Pros were awarded the Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup for the 1920 season, the only year the trophy was used.

If modern NFL tie-breaking rules were in force in 1920, the Buffalo All-Americans (9–1–1) would have been co-champions with the Akron Pros (8–0–3), as both had a win percentage of .864 and their only game was tied, while the Staleys (10–1–2) would have finished third with .846.

Further, if games against non-APFA teams were excluded, Akron (6–0–3) would still have won the championship with .833, with the All-Americans (4–1–1) and the Staleys (5–1–2) finishing equal second with .750 as they did not play each other.

Of the 14 teams that played in the APFA/NFL's inaugural season, the Chicago Cardinals, now known as the Arizona Cardinals, and the Decatur Staleys, now known as the Chicago Bears, are the only teams that remain in the league.

1921 Canton Bulldogs season

The 1921 Canton Bulldogs season was their second in the league. The team improved on their previous output of 7–4–2, losing only two NFL games. They finished fourth in the league.

1923 All-Pro Team

The 1923 All-Pro Team consists of American football players chosen by various selectors as the best players at their positions for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1923 NFL season. Tackle Pete Henry of the Canton Bulldogs and quarterback Paddy Driscoll of the Chicago Cardinals were the only two players unanimously selected as first-team All-Pros by all known selectors. Two African-American players won All-Pro honors: ends Inky Williams of the Hammond Pros and Duke Slater of the Rock Island Independents.

1923 Canton Bulldogs season

The 1923 Canton Bulldogs season was their fourth in the league. The team improved on their previous output of 10–0–2, winning eleven games. With the best record in the league, they were crowned the NFL Champions.

1925 Canton Bulldogs season

The 1925 Canton Bulldogs season was their fifth in the National Football League and their first season since 1923. The team failed to improve on their previous record against NFL opponents of 11–0–1, winning only four NFL games. They finished eleventh in the league.

1926 Canton Bulldogs season

The 1926 Canton Bulldogs season was their sixth and final season in the league. The team failed to improve on their previous output of 4–4, winning only one game. They finished twentieth in the league.

Blondy Wallace

Charles Edgar "Blondy" Wallace (died March 5, 1937) was an early professional football player. He was a 240-pound, former Walter Camp second-team All-American tackle from the University of Pennsylvania. He also played two years at Peddie Institute, in New Jersey, winning state championships in 1896 and 1897. During his professional playing career he was involved in almost every major event in professional football between 1902 and 1907. Over that timespan he played for the independent Philadelphia Athletic Club, the Philadelphia Athletics of the first National Football League, the "New York" team and the Syracuse Athletic Club in the 1902 World Series of Football, the Franklin Athletic Club and the Canton Bulldogs of the Ohio League.

Canton Bulldogs–Massillon Tigers betting scandal

The Canton Bulldogs–Massillon Tigers betting scandal was the first major scandal in professional football in the United States. It refers to a series of allegations made by a Massillon, Ohio newspaper charging the Canton Bulldogs coach, Blondy Wallace, and Massillon Tigers end, Walter East, of conspiring to fix a two-game series between the two clubs. One account of the scandal called for Canton to win the first game and Massillon was to win the second, forcing a third game—with the biggest gate—to be played legitimately, with the 1906 Ohio League championship at stake. Another account accused Wallace and East of bribing Massillon players to throw a game in the series. Canton denied the charges, maintaining that Massillon only wanted to damage the club's reputation. Although Massillon could not prove that Canton had indeed thrown the second game and it remains unknown if there was ever a match-fixing agreement, the scandal tarnished the Bulldogs name and reportedly helped ruin professional football in Ohio until the mid-1910s.

Cap Edwards

Howard Eugene "Cap" Edwards (September 5, 1888 – November 23, 1944) was a National Football League coach and player in American football's earliest years. In the early 20th century, football in America was just beginning to catch on, with professional teams popping up in numerous cities, and at the time college football was more popular.Edwards attended and graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he played football as an guard. His professional coaching career was short-lived, but nonetheless noteworthy as he coached in the pioneering days of football with such greats as Jim Thorpe and Guy Chamberlin. He first coached the Canton Bulldogs in 1921, which ended in a 5–2–3 record. In 1923 Edwards coached the Cleveland Indians, with a 3–1–3 record, followed by a 5–8–1 record as coach of the Cleveland Bulldogs.

Edwards also served as the head football coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia from 1910 to 1911.

Cleveland Bulldogs

The Cleveland Bulldogs were a team that played in Cleveland, Ohio in the National Football League. They were originally called the Indians in 1923, not to be confused with the Cleveland Indians NFL franchise in 1922. However, after team owner Samuel Deutsch purchased the Canton Bulldogs in 1924, he merged the Canton team with his Indians and renamed his franchise the Cleveland Bulldogs. The Canton Bulldogs remained a part of the team until 1925, when they were sold back to Canton. The Cleveland Bulldogs played in the NFL until 1928 when they were relocated to Detroit and became the Detroit Wolverines. The team was later incorporated into the New York Giants in 1929. The Cleveland Bulldogs won the 1924 NFL championship.

Guy Chamberlin

Berlin Guy "Champ" Chamberlin (January 16, 1894 – April 4, 1967), sometimes misspelled Guy Chamberlain, was an American football player and coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1962 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. He was also named in 1969 to the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team.

A native of Blue Springs, Nebraska, Chamberlin played college football as a halfback at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1911 and 1912. He transferred to the University of Nebraska in 1913 and played at the halfback and end positions for the undefeated 1914 and 1915 Nebraska Cornhuskers football teams that won consecutive Missouri Valley Conference championships. He was a consensus first-team All-American in 1915, and he was selected in 1936 as the greatest player in Nebraska football history.

He played professional football for nine years with the Canton Bulldogs (1919), Decatur Staleys (1920), Chicago Staleys (1921), Canton Bulldogs (1922–1923), Cleveland Bulldogs (1924), Frankford Yellow Jackets (1925–1926), and Chicago Cardinals (1927). He won professional football championships in six of his nine seasons in professional football: as a player in 1919 with the undefeated Bulldogs and in 1921 with the Staleys, and as a player/coach in 1922, 1923, and 1924 with the Bulldogs and in 1926 with the Yellow Jackets. He compiled a 58-16-7 record in six years as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL), the best win percentage (.759) of any coach in NFL history with a minimum 50 wins. He is also the only coach to win NFL championships with three different clubs.

Jim Thorpe

James Francis Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as "Bright Path"; May 22 or 28, 1887 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete and Olympic gold medalist. A member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Thorpe became the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, and played American football (collegiate and professional), professional baseball, and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he had been paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateurism rules that were then in place. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals.

Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, and attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was a two-time All-American for the school's football team. After his Olympic success in 1912, which included a record score in the decathlon, he added a victory in the All-Around Championship of the Amateur Athletic Union. In 1913, Thorpe signed with the New York Giants, and he played six seasons in Major League Baseball between 1913 and 1919. Thorpe joined the Canton Bulldogs American football team in 1915, helping them win three professional championships; he later played for six teams in the National Football League (NFL). He played as part of several all-American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of American Indians.

From 1920 to 1921, Thorpe was nominally the first president of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which became the NFL in 1922. He played professional sports until age 41, the end of his sports career coinciding with the start of the Great Depression. He struggled to earn a living after that, working several odd jobs. He suffered from alcoholism, and lived his last years in failing health and poverty. He was married three times and had eight children, before suffering from heart failure and dying in 1953.

Thorpe has received various accolades for his athletic accomplishments. The Associated Press named him the "greatest athlete" from the first 50 years of the 20th century, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him as part of its inaugural class in 1963. A Pennsylvania town was named in his honor and a monument site there is the site of his remains, which were the subject of legal action. Thorpe appeared in several films and was portrayed by Burt Lancaster in the 1951 film Jim Thorpe – All-American.

Joe Guyon

Joseph Napoleon "Big Chief" Guyon (Anishinaabe: O-Gee-Chidah, translated as "Big Brave"; November 26, 1892 – November 27, 1971) was an American Indian from the Ojibwa tribe (Chippewa) who was an American football and baseball player and coach. He played college football at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1912 to 1913 and Georgia Institute of Technology from 1917 to 1918 and with a number of professional clubs from 1919 to 1927. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

John Kellison

John Snowden Kellison (November 3, 1886 – May 7, 1971) was a professional football player in the National Football League with the Canton Bulldogs and the Toledo Maroons. He also was an athletic director at Marietta College as well as Washington & Jefferson College. He later became the head coach for William and Mary's football and basketball teams. In the 1940s he was an assistant coach, under Greasy Neale, for the Philadelphia Eagles.

League Field

League Field is a former American football stadium located in Canton, Ohio. The stadium was home to the Canton Bulldogs of the National Football League from 1905 to 1926. It had a capacity of 8,000 spectators. The stadium was replaced in the late 1930s by the current Fawcett Stadium.

Ohio League

The Ohio League was an informal and loose association of American football clubs active between 1902 and 1919 that competed for the Ohio Independent Championship (OIC). As the name implied, its teams were mostly based in Ohio. It is the direct predecessor to the modern National Football League (NFL).

A proposal to add teams from outside Ohio, such as the Latrobe Athletic Association, to form a formal league known as the "Football Association" fell through prior to the 1904 season.

Though a champion was declared by the group throughout its existence, a formal league was not founded until 1920, when several Ohio League teams added clubs from other states to form the American Professional Football Association. In 1922, the APFA became the National Football League.

All but one of the remaining Ohio League teams left the NFL after the 1926 season, with one team, the Dayton Triangles, surviving until 1929.

Pete Henry

Wilbur Francis "Pete" Henry (October 31, 1897 – February 7, 1952) was an American football player, coach, and athletic administrator. He was a charter inductee into both the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

A native of Mansfield, Ohio, Henry attended Washington & Jefferson College where he played at the tackle position from 1915 to 1919. He was selected as a consensus All-American in 1918 and again in 1919.

He next played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Canton Bulldogs (1920–1923, 1925–1926), New York Giants (1927), and Pottsville Maroons (1927–1928). He helped lead Canton to consecutive NFL championships in 1922 and 1923 and was selected as a first-team All-Pro four consecutive years from 1920 to 1923. He also served as head coach with Canton in 1926 and with Pottsville in 1928.

In 1929, Henry returned to Washington & Jefferson as an assistant football coach. He became athletic director in 1932 and held that position until his death in 1952. He was also the head coach of the Washington & Jefferson football team in 1942 and 1945.

Rudy Comstock

Rudolph S. Comstock (September 23, 1900 – November 1, 1975) was an American football player who played eleven seasons in the National Football League, for the Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. he also served as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Americans of the second American Football League.

Canton Bulldogs
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Ohio League championships (3)
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