1921 Chicago Staleys season
Head Coach George Halas
Home Field Staley Field, Cubs Park
Record 10–1–1 Overall
9–1–1 APFA
Place {{{division_place}}}
Playoff Finish
Previous season Next season
1920 (Decatur) 1922 (Bears)

The 1921 Chicago Staleys season was their second regular season completed in the young American Professional Football Association. The club posted a 9–1–1 record under head coach/player George Halas earning them a first-place finish in the team standings and their first league championship. The beginning of the season saw A.E. Staley turn over the team to Halas and Dutch Sternaman, who moved the team to Chicago. The team name was changed from the Decatur Staleys to the Chicago Staleys due to a contract between Staley and Halas. The Staleys were quite dominant, but all of Chicago's games were played at home (including one game in Decatur). Two games were against the Buffalo All-Americans; the first, played on Thanksgiving, was won by Buffalo 7–6, giving the Staleys their only loss of the season.

Ed "Dutch" Sternaman and George Halas starred again, with newcomer Gaylord Stinchcomb also contributing. Sternaman scored 32 points, most by kicking, and threw one touchdown pass. Halas had 3 TD receptions while Stinchcomb led the team with 4 touchdown runs.

De facto championship gameEdit

The All-Americans agreed to rematch the Staleys on December 4 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.) 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 typically stopped playing games in those days), and the Staleys played two more games against top opponents, the Canton Bulldogs and Chicago 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 states that if two teams play multiple times in a season, the last game between the two teams carries 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."

Future Hall of Fame playersEdit

Other leading playersEdit

Departed players from 1920Edit


Date Opponent Location Result Score Record Attendance
Sunday, Oct 2 Waukegan Legion Staley Field Win 35–0 0-0-0
Monday, Oct 10 Rock Island Independents Staley Field Win 14–10 1–0–0 5,000
Sunday, Oct. 16 Rochester Jeffersons Cubs Park Win 16–13 2–0–0 8,000
Sunday, Oct. 23 Dayton Triangles Cubs Park Win 7–0 3–0–0 8,000
Sunday, Nov 6 Detroit Tigers Cubs Park Win 20–9 4–0–0 6,000
Sunday, Nov. 13 Rock Island Independents Cubs Park Win 3–0 5–0–0 4,000
Sunday, Nov 20 Cleveland Indians Cubs Park Win 22–7 6–0–0 10,000
Thursday, Nov 24 Buffalo All-AmericansCubs Park Loss 7–6 6–1–0
Sunday, Nov 27 Green Bay Packers Cubs Park Win 20–0 7–1–0 7,000
Sunday, Dec 4 Buffalo All-Americans Cubs Park Win 10–7 8–1–0 12,000
Sunday, Dec. 11 Canton Bulldogs Cubs Park Win 10–0 9–1–0 3,000
Sunday, Dec 18 Chicago Cardinals Cubs Park Tie 0–0 9–1–1 2,000
  • Game in italics was against a non-league opponent


APFA standings
view · talk · edit W L T PCT PF PA STK
Chicago Staleys 911.90012853T1
Buffalo All-Americans 912.90021129L1
Akron Pros 831.72714831W1
Canton Bulldogs 523.71410655W1
Rock Island Independents 421.6676530L1
Evansville Crimson Giants 320.6008946W1
Green Bay Packers 321.6007055L1
Dayton Triangles 441.5009667L1
Chicago Cardinals 332.5005453T1
Rochester Jeffersons 230.4008576W2
Cleveland Indians 350.3759558L1
Washington Senators 120.3342143L1
Cincinnati Celts 130.25014117L2
Hammond Pros 131.2501745L2
Minneapolis Marines 130.2503741L1
Detroit Tigers 151.16719109L5
Columbus Panhandles 180.11147222W1
Tonawanda Kardex 010.000045L1
Muncie Flyers 020.000028L2
Louisville Brecks 020.000027L2
New York Brickley Giants 020.000072L2

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



Preceded by
Akron Pros
NFL Champion
Succeeded by
Canton Bulldogs

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.