American Football Database


Duluth Kelleys
Duluth Eskimos
Duluth Kelleys Duluth Eskimos logo

Founded 1923
Folded 1927
Based in Duluth, Minnesota, United States
Home field Athletic Park
League National Football League
Team History Duluth Kelleys (1923-1925)
Duluth Eskimos (1926-1927)
Orange Tornadoes (1929)
Newark Tornadoes (1930)
Team Colors Red, White (Duluth Kelleys)
Midnight Blue, White (Duluth Eskimos)
Head coaches Joey Sternaman (1923)
Dewey Scanlon (1924-1926)
Ernie Nevers (1927)
Owner(s) Ole Haugsrud
Named for Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store
Ernie Nevers

Duluth, Minnesota, hosted a professional football team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923 to 1925 and the Eskimos (officially Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after their star player) from 1926 to 1927 in the National Football League. After being a traveling team in 1927, they withdrew from the league.

When Ole Haugsrud sold the team back to the league, part of the deal gave him first rights for any future NFL team in Minnesota. He passed on buying a stake in the Minneapolis Red Jackets in 1929. However, when the NFL voted to expand in 1960 to the Twin Cities, Haugsrud was able to buy 10% of the Minnesota Vikings (90% of the team was owned by an ownership group that had originally planned to launch a separate team in the American Football League).

Due to various transactions, it can be argued that the Kelleys/Eskimos still exist today, at least indirectly. Edwin Simandl, a promoter in Orange, New Jersey; bought the defunct franchise for the 1929 season and used it to promote his decades-old Orange Tornadoes to the major leagues. The Tornadoes moved to Newark for the 1930 season before going back to the minors. When Simandl handed the franchise rights back to the league, it was understood that the first new expansion team of the 1931 season would receive the Tornadoes' old franchise. Because of the Great Depression, no teams were admitted to the league in 1931. In 1932, a Boston group received the next expansion franchise and was awarded the remains of the Tornadoes organization. This group used it to start the Boston Braves. In 1933, the team was renamed the Redskins, and in 1937 it moved to Washington, D.C. where it still plays today as the Washington Redskins. However, due to the two-year period of dormancy, the Redskins and the NFL consider the Boston/Washington franchise as a separate organization dating to 1932, and not as a continuation of the Kelleys/Eskimos line.

The film Leatherheads is partially based on the story of the Duluth Eskimos.[1]

Pro Football Hall of Famers


Year League W L T Finish Coach
Kelleys 1923 NFL 4 3 0 7th Joey Sternaman
1924 NFL 5 1 0 4th Dewey Scanlon
1925 NFL 0 3 0 16th Dewey Scanlon
Eskimos 1926 NFL 6 5 3 8th Dewey Scanlon
1927 NFL 1 8 0 11th Ernie Nevers


External links