The New York Pro Football League (NYPFL) was a professional American football league, active in the 1910s, and based in upstate New York, primarily Western New York. Between 1920 and 1921, the league's best teams were absorbed into the National Football League, though none survive in that league today. It was one of the biggest challengers to the Ohio League in professional football in the 1910s.
Its formation was highly informal. The teams were largely clustered around the two cities of Rochester, New York and Buffalo, New York, with rural teams to fill the differences. Rochester had built its reputation around a strong "sandlot football" circuit, for instance, and was most popular when it consisted mostly of local teams. Rochester's best team, the Jeffersons, was instrumental in bringing the NYPFL and the Ohio League together to form the NFL. The circuit continued to exist even after the birth of the NFL (with the NYPFL teams continuing to play in both circuits), with the league finally dwindling away in the late 1920s and early 1930s. One NYPFL team, the Watertown Red & Black, still survives.
The NYPFL's championship games were mostly held in Buffalo, New York, either at the International Fair Association Grounds or at Buffalo Baseball Park. The games were generally held on Thanksgiving.
The NYPFL is believed to have been the first professional football league to use a playoff format (as opposed to a single-game championship) in 1919.
The Buffalo Semi-Pro, Rochester, and Central New York divisions were known to have championships. In the Buffalo division, the Buffalo Prospects defeated the Tonawanda Lumberjacks by a score of 12-7. In Central New York, All-Syracuse defeated the Watertown Red & Black and advanced to face Buffalo the next week. Buffalo defeated Syracuse 23-0. The Rochester Jeffersons won the Rochester circuit title.
This led to the two-game "New York Pro Championship" between the Buffalo and Rochester divisions over Thanksgiving weekend in 1919, with the Buffalo Prospects defeating the Rochester Jeffersons by a score of 20-0 in the second of two games (the first, held on Thanksgiving Day, was a scoreless tie, necessitating a rematch).
Playoffs and championships were abandoned after the 1919 season once the NFL formed.
Both Buffalo and Rochester had significant ties to the teams in the Ohio League, stemming back to 1917, when both teams went barnstorming in Ohio. The Jeffersons were able to land a game against the top team in the nation, the Canton Bulldogs, where Jeffersons owner Leo Lyons suggested to Bulldogs coach Jim Thorpe and owner Ralph Hay that a league format could eventually become as popular as Major League Baseball.
Buffalo, too, had connections to the Ohio League. In addition to a team of "Buffalo All-Stars" barnstorming in 1917 against the Detroit Heralds and Massillon Tigers, Buffalo quarterback Tommy Hughitt had moonlighted as a member of the Ohio League's Youngstown Patricians.
When the Ohio League owners moved to make a national league in 1920, Buffalo and Rochester, being familiar to the league owners, were invited to join, and both accepted.
Buffalo, New York had a turbulent, early-era National Football League team that operated under multiple names and several different owners between the 1910s and 1920s. The early NFL-era franchise was variously called the Buffalo All-Stars from 1915 to 1917, Buffalo Niagaras in 1918, the Buffalo Prospects in 1919, Buffalo All-Americans from 1920 to 1923, Buffalo Bisons from 1924 to 1925 and in 1927 and 1929, and the Buffalo Rangers in 1926. The franchise, which was experiencing financial problems in 1928, did not participate in league play that season.
The Rochester Jeffersons from Rochester, New York played from 1898 to 1925, including play in the National Football League from 1920 to 1925.
The Tonawanda Kardex was an American football team active between 1916 and 1921. It played its games in Tonawanda, New York, a suburb of Buffalo with close ties to North Tonawanda, New York where American Kardex was founded. The team is most notable for its one game as a member of the National Football League in 1921, the shortest-lived team in the league's history.
The Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) is an organization of researchers whose mission is to preserve and, in some cases, reconstruct professional football history. It was founded on June 22, 1979 in Canton, Ohio by writer/historian Bob Carroll and six other football researchers and is currently headed by an executive committee led by its president, Ken Crippen, and executive director Mark L. Ford. Membership in the organization includes some of professional football's foremost historians and authors. The organization is based in Grand Island, New York.
Below is a list of professional football championship games in the United States, involving:
The New York Giants were a professional American football team with the American Professional Football Association whose only season played was in 1921. The team has also been referred to as the Brooklyn Giants and Brickley's Brooklyn Giants. The Brickley's Giants were the first of 17 professional football teams to represent New York City at one time or another. The team was founded in 1919 by Charles Brickley, who received All-American honors while at Harvard. Brickley's Giants played two games in their only season, losing to the Buffalo All-Americans, 55–0, and the Cleveland Tigers, 17–0. It was the second-shortest-lived franchise in NFL history, behind only another former New York NFL team, the Tonawanda Kardex, who played only one game in the same 1921 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.
The 1921 APFA season was the second season of the American Professional Football Association, which was renamed the National Football League in 1922.
Tommy Hughitt was a Canadian-American National Football League utility player, coach and politician. He was also an All-American quarterback for the University of Michigan in 1913.
Walter Frederic Koppisch was an American football halfback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Buffalo Bisons and New York Giants. He attended Columbia University. At 23 years old, Koppisch, a local celebrity and high school football star, was named the head coach of the Buffalo Bisons, making him among the youngest head coaches in NFL history. Koppisch is considered one of the earliest busts in the NFL, having spectacularly failed to meet the high expectations of him in his lone season in Buffalo, although the expectations may have been unwarranted due to changes outside of his control.
A nameless professional American football team, based in Syracuse, New York and generically known as the Syracuse Pros or Syracuse Eleven, was once thought to have joined the American Professional Football Association (now the National Football League for the 1921 season. The team was coached by Mike Purdy and managed by Andy Friedman. Syracuse University multi-sport standout John Barsha was the team's franchise player.
The 1920 Buffalo All-Americans season was the franchise's inaugural season with the American Professional Football Association (APFA), an American football league, and fifth total as a team. The All-Americans entered 1920 coming off a 9–1–1 record in 1919 as the Buffalo Prospects in the New York Pro Football League (NYPFL). Several representatives from another professional football league, the Ohio League, wanted to form a new national league, and thus the APFA was created.
The 1920 Rochester Jeffersons season was the franchise's inaugural season in the American Professional Football Association (APFA) and thirteenth as an American football team. The Jeffersons entered 1920 coming off a six-win, two-loss, two-tie (6–2–2) record in the New York Pro Football League (NYPFL) where it lost the championship game to the Buffalo Prospects. Several representatives from another professional football league, the Ohio League, wanted to form a new national league, and thus the APFA was created.
James Marcellus Kendrick was a professional American football player during the early years of the National Football League (NFL) with the Toledo Maroons, Canton Bulldogs, Louisville Brecks, Chicago Bears, Hammond Pros, Buffalo Bisons, Rochester Jeffersons, Rock Island Independents, Buffalo Rangers and the New York Giants. Kendrick was a part of the Bulldogs' 1922 NFL championship team and the Giants' 1927 NFL Championship team.
Leo V. Lyons was a co-founder of the National Football League. He was a player, manager, coach and owner of the Rochester Jeffersons from 1908 to 1925.
Oscar Carl "Ockie" Anderson 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.
George Wilder "Dim" Batterson was an American football coach for high school, college and professional teams. Batterson's ability to turn out players of All-American ability and knack of moulding Harvard Cup championship eleven at Masten Park high school in Buffalo, New York earned him the distinction of being one of the most astute scholastic coach in western New York state history.
Upstate New York is a storied region in North American athletics.
The 1919 Buffalo Prospects season played in the New York Pro Football League and would go on to post a 9–1–1 record. The next year, the team would move into the American Professional Football Association.
The 1918 Buffalo Niagaras season was a top-level semi-professional football team in Buffalo, New York. The team, which was the successor to the Buffalo All-Stars (1915–1917) and predecessor to the 1919 Buffalo Prospects, was one of four teams that played in the newly created Buffalo Semi-Professional Football League. The league was created to accommodate the travel restrictions put in place because of World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic, which required a delay in the start of the season and prevented Buffalo's teams from leaving the city.