1920 Buffalo All-Americans season
Head Coach Tommy Hughitt
Home Field Canisius College
Buffalo Baseball Park
Record 9-1-1 Overall
4-1-1 APFA
Place 3rd APFA
Playoff Finish Lost title to Akron Pros after 0-0 tie in final game
Previous season Next season
1919 1921

The 1920 Buffalo All-Americans season was their inaugural season in the league. The team finished 9-1-1,[1] enough for third place in the league. It was one of only four teams to finish the 1920 season.

This season was most notable for the last two games of the team's schedule. The first of these was a showcase game between the All-Americans and the league's flagship franchise, the Canton Bulldogs, in New York City's Polo Grounds. About 20,000 fans showed up for the game, a significant number for the still-regional league, and it spurred efforts, first with the New York Brickley Giants in 1921 and later with the New York Giants in 1925, to put a team in New York City.

The second game ended up deciding the championship. Held on the next day against the Akron Pros, a win would have likely secured the All-Americans the league title. However, the team only managed a scoreless tie with the Pros. Buffalo, however, still felt it had a strong case for a share of the title, and made their case before the league owners in April 1921. Buffalo stood at 9-1-1 and Akron at 8-0-3. Each team had eight more wins than losses, and Buffalo could also make the case that their lone loss, against Canton, was partially negated by their later win in the Polo Grounds due to a rule that gave more weight to late-season games than earlier ones. Joe Carr didn't buy the argument, and moved to give Akron, by virtue of being undefeated, the sole title and possession of the Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup. The motion was accepted. Buffalo was given third place (the Decatur Staleys, who also made a pitch for a share of the title, took second). Worth noting is that under current interpretation, which counts ties (now very rare due to overtime) as half-wins and half-losses[2], Buffalo and Akron would have indeed been tied for the title at 9½-1½, but league rules ignored ties at the time.

Offseason Edit

The Buffalo All-Americans, who were named the Buffalo Prospects, finished 9–1–1 in their 1919 season in the New York Pro Football League.[3] As a result, they won the New York Championship.[4] On August 20, 1920, a meeting attended by representatives of four Ohio League teams—the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Tigers, the Dayton Triangles, and the Akron Pros—was held. At the meeting, the representatives tentatively agreed to introduce a salary cap for the teams, not to sign college players nor players under contract with another team, and called their new league the American Professional Football Conference.[5] They then contacted other major professional teams and invited them to a meeting for September 17.[6]

At the meeting in September, held at the Bulldogs' owner Ralph Hay's Hupmobile showroom, representatives of the Rock Island Independents, the Muncie Flyers, the Decatur Staleys, the Racine Cardinals, the Massillon Tigers, the Chicago Cardinals, the Rochester Jeffersons, and the Hammond Pros were present. During the meeting, the name of American Professional Football Association was chosen; officers of the league were elected with Jim Thorpe as president; the trophy that would be awarded to the league champions; as well as other things.[7][8][9]

Schedule Edit

The table below was compiled using the information from NFL History, which used various contemporary newspapers.[10] For the results column, the winning team's score is posted first. For the attendance, if a block has "N/A", then that means there is an unknown figure for that game. The green-colored cells indicates a win; the yellow-colored cells indicates a tie; and the red-colored cells indicate a loss.

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance Record
1 No game scheduled
2 October 3, 1920 vs. West Buffalo 32–6 W Buffalo Canisius Field N/A 1–0
3 October 10, 1920 vs. All-Buffalo 51–0 W Buffalo Canisius Field N/A 2–0
4 October 17, 1920 vs. McKeesport Olympics 28–7 W Buffalo Canisius Field N/A 3–0
5 October 24, 1920 at Toledo Maroons 38–0 W Buffalo Canisius Field 6,000 4–0
6 October 31, 1920 vs. Rochester Jeffersons 17–6 W Buffalo Canisius Field 7,500 5–0
7 November 7, 1920 vs. All-Tonawanda Lumberjacks 35–0 W Buffalo Canisius Field 7,000 6–0
8 November 14, 1920 vs. Columbus Panhandles 43–7 W Buffalo Canisius Field 9,000 7–0
9 November 21, 1920 vs. Canton Bulldogs 3–0 L Buffalo Baseball Park 9,000 7–1
10 November 28, 1920 vs. Cleveland Tigers 7–0 W Buffalo Baseball Park 5,000 8–1
11 December 4, 1920 vs. Canton Bulldogs 7–3 W New York Polo Grounds 10,000 9–1
December 5, 1920 vs. Akron Pros 0–0 T Buffalo Baseball Park 3,000 9–1–1
12 No game scheduled
13 No game scheduled

Game summaries Edit

Week 2 Edit

West Buffalo (0-0-0) at Buffalo All-Americans (0-0-0) - Canisius Field

On a rainy afternoon in Buffalo the All-Americans dismantled the local semi pro team from West Buffalo. Bodie Weldon ran for an early score in the 1st quarter. Quarterback Tommy Hughitt and Weldon added touchdowns in the 2nd quarter to make the score of the game 19-0 going into halftime. Hughitt scored from a yard out in the third quarter to make the score 25-0. West Buffalo got on the scoreboard when Bob Langdon intercepted a Buffalo pass and ran it back 75 yards for a touchdown. Buffalo finished off the scoring in the 4th quarter and won the game 32-6.[11]

Week 8: vs. Columbus Panhandles Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Panhandles 7 0 0 0 7
All-Americans 6 23 7 7 43

November 14, 1920 at Canisius Field

Under 9,000 fans, the All-Americans played an APFA opponent, the Columbus Panhandles.[12] At the end of the first quarter, the game near-even; the score was 7–6, Panhandles. After that, the game "proved disastrous" to the Panhandles.[13] The final score was 43–7; the only score was a receiving touchdown from Homer Ruh.[14] The All-Americans had six rushing touchdowns, four of which came from Smith. The other two came from Anderson and Hughitt. From these six rushing touchdowns, five of the extra points were converted, and the Panhandles' offense allowed a safety.[14]

Week 11: vs. Akron Pros Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Pros 0 0 0 0 0
All-Americans 0 0 0 0 0

December 5, 1920 at Buffalo Baseball Park

The All-Americans had the Akron Pros as their next opponent. The All-Americans were tired from their victory against the Canton Bulldogs the day before.[15] Before the start of the game, Bob Nash of Akron was sold to the All-Americans for $300 and 5% of the Akron-Buffalo gate, making the first deal in APFA history.[15] The reason for the trade was because rain caused a low amount of fans.[15] However, Nash did not appear in the game for either team, and Scotty Bierce replaced Nash for the Pros.[15] The rain caused sloppy game play as well as a small crowd of 3,000 people.[15][16] It resulted in a 0–0 tie.[16]


1920 APFA standings
view · talk · edit W L T PCT PF PA STK
Akron Pros 8 0 3 1.000 151 7 T2
Decatur Staleys 10 1 2 .909 164 21 T1
Buffalo All-Americans 9 1 1 .900 258 32 T1
Chicago Cardinals 6 2 1 .750 101 29 L1
Rock Island Independents 6 2 2 .750 201 49 W1
Dayton Triangles 5 2 2 .714 150 54 L1
Rochester Jeffersons 6 3 2 .667 156 57 T1
Canton Bulldogs 7 4 2 .636 208 57 W1
Detroit Heralds 2 3 3 .400 53 82 T2
Cleveland Tigers 2 4 2 .333 28 46 L1
Chicago Tigers 2 5 1 .286 49 63 W1
Hammond Pros 2 5 0 .286 41 154 L3
Columbus Panhandles 2 6 2 .250 41 121 W1
Muncie Flyers 0 1 0 .000 0 45 L1

Notes Edit

  1. 1920 Buffalo All-Americans
  3. Crippen (2001), p. 4
  4. Crippen (2001), p. 3
  5. Siwoff, Zimmber & Marini (2010), pp. 352–353
  6. PFRA Research (1980), pp. 1
  7. Carroll (1982), p. 1
  8. "Thorpe Made President" (PDF). The New York Times. September 19, 1920. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  9. "Organize Pro Gridders; Choose Thorpe, Prexy". The Milwaukee Journal: p. 24. September 19, 1920.,5105560&dq=gridders&hl=en. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  10. NFL History (2003), pp. 1–7
  12. Willis (2007), p. 174
  13. Willis (2007), p. 173
  14. 14.0 14.1 NFL History (2003), p. 5
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Carroll (1982), p.3
  16. 16.0 16.1 NFL History (2003), p. 6

References Edit

Further reading Edit

  • Miller, Jeffrey (2004). Buffalo's Forgotten Champions: The Story of Buffalo's First Professional Football Team and the Lost 1921 Title. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4134-5006-4. OCLC 62741326.
Akron Buffalo Canton Chicago Cardinals Chicago Tigers Cleveland
Columbus Dayton Decatur Detroit Hammond Muncie
Rochester Rock Island

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