In 2019, the NFL plans to celebrate the 100th season in league history.
You’re going to see NFL 100 references everywhere if you’re a football fan. And if you’re a local fan, you’re going to wonder … hey, are they going to include the Pottsville Maroons?
Well, probably not.
In 1920, the Maroons were definitely a football team. In 1920, in fact, the NFL wasn’t even called the NFL. It was known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA).
But the Maroons weren’t in the NFL, whatever it was called. Instead, they played locally in a league that featured a bunch of coal patch teams.
They didn’t join the NFL until they infamously did so in 1925.
But the celebration is getting the Maroons conversation started once again.
NFL 100: Celebrating the Charter NFL Teams
As noted, the NFL 100 celebration honors the charter teams in the league. They are:
- Akron Pros
- Buffalo All-Americans
- Canton Bulldogs
- Racine Cardinals
- Chicago Tigers
- Cleveland Tigers
- Columbus Panhandles
- Dayton Triangles
- Decatur Staleys
- Detroit Heralds
- Hammond Pros
- Muncie Flyers
- Rochester Jeffersons
- Rock Island Independents
The Akron Pros were eventually crowned the inaugural league champions. Some names you might recognize from those days: head coaches Jim Thorpe (Canton) and George Halas (Decatur).
“There’s no better way to bring the league’s hundred years of history full circle than to partner with these communities and recognize their important place in history as part of the NFL’s centennial celebration,” says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL 100 celebration really already got underway at the recent college draft.
Starting in Round 4 of the NFL Draft, these original towns hosted live video feeds to announce a team’s pick.
The NFL also promised to donate money to local youth football organizations in these towns.
Again, Pottsville’s not an original town, per these parameters but being left out of the discussion … again … is a bit deflating.
We may not have been one of the first teams but we were the first really good team. And we’re definitely more than a footnote in league history.
Stirring the Pottsville Maroons Echoes One More Time
We’re not just bringing up the Pottsville Maroons story out of thin air.
Earlier this week, the NFL filed a trademark application for “Duluth Eskimos”. This is interesting. The Eskimos were definitely not a part of the original NFL. In fact, they came into the league a year after the Maroons won the 1925 NFL title.
Could the Maroons actually be part of this celebration after all? If not, maybe we can make them part of it.
The Maroons are the topic of regular, albeit scattered, conversation online. The team’s story is being told, even if only in bits and pieces and here-and-there.
Golic & Wingo Mention Pottsville Maroons
Last week, the topic of vintage NFL and the Pottsville Maroons came up on the Golic and Wingo show on ESPN. They were discussing the NFL 100 celebration and some of the wild team nicknames from back in the day. Really, the Maroons is a pretty boring one, by comparison. It’s no different than a team called the Blues or Reds.
But aside from the Pros and the Panhandles and the Jeffersons, Trey Wingo seems to prefer the Pottsville team. In a tweet that caught a lot of attention, he says, “My personal favorite? The Pottsville Maroons.”
Enjoy this list of old time NFL team names.. as we celebrate 100 years of the NFL. My personal favorite? The Pottsville Maroonshttps://t.co/6AsBS4RqM6
— trey wingo (@wingoz) May 1, 2019
Some fans of the Maroons were listening. Or maybe they were fans of anybody-but-Notre Dame. Either way, they’re carrying the Maroons banner on social media and keeping the story alive.
User @jcbpsu writes: “For the NFLs 100th season, you should promote having the NFL re-instate the Maroon’s as 1925 NFL Champs. They were stripped of the championship for playing Notre Dame post season. No one should lose a championship for beating ND.” (sic)
@GolicAndWingo you mentioned the Pottsville Maroons. For the NFLs 100th season, you should promote having the NFL re-instate the Maroon’s as 1925 NFL Champs.They were stripped of the championship for playing Notre Dame post season. No one should lose a championship for beating ND
— Jim Bathgate (@jcbpsu) May 1, 2019
This represents just a sample of the recent conversation about the Maroons on social media. And it’s hardly limited to local folks.
But the conversation can only start on social media. It can’t end there.
In this day of instant justice and rule by social mob, this could be one case where it actually benefits rather than harms.