Ohio League

Ohio League
Sport American football
Founded 1903
Claim to fame Predecessor to the National Football League (NFL)
Inaugural season 1903
No. of teams 23
Country(ies) United States
Venue(s) Armory Park
Idora Park
Indianola Park
League Field
League Park
Luna Bowl
Swayne Field
Tank Stadium
Triangle Park
Ceased 1919
Last champion(s) Canton Bulldogs
Most titles Massillon Tigers (6)
Related competitions New York Pro Football League (NYPFL)

The Ohio League was an informal and loose association of American football clubs active between 1903 and 1919 that competed for the Ohio Independent Championship (OIC). As the name implied, its teams were based in Ohio. It is the direct predecessor to the modern National Football League (NFL).

A proposal to add teams from outside Ohio, such as the Latrobe Athletic Association, to form a formal league known as the "Football Association" fell through prior to the 1904 season.

Though a champion was declared by the group throughout its existence, a formal league was not founded until 1920, when several Ohio League teams added clubs from other states to form the American Professional Football Association. In 1922 the APFA became the National Football League.



Year Champion W L T Deciding game
1902 Akron East Ends
1903 Massillon Tigers 8 1 0 def. Akron East Ends, 11-0
1904 Massillon Tigers 7 0 0 def. Akron East Ends, 6-5
1905 Massillon Tigers 10 0 0 def. Canton Bulldogs, 10-0
1906 Massillon Tigers 10 1 0 def. Canton Bulldogs, 13-6
1907 "All-Massillons" 7 0 1 [1]
1908 Akron Indians 8 0 1
1909 Akron Indians 9 0 0 def. Shelby Blues, 12-9
1910 Shelby Blues and Shelby Tigers[2] 14 0 1 def. Akron Indians, 8-5
1911 Shelby Blues 10 0 0 def. Canton Bulldogs, 1-0 (forfeit)
1912 Elyria Athletics 8 0 0 def. Akron Indians
1913 Akron Indians 8 1 2 def. Shelby Blues, 20-0
1914 Akron Parratt's Indians 8 2 1 def. Canton Bulldogs, 21-0
1915 Youngstown Patricians 8[3] 0 1 def. Washington Vigilants, 13-7[4]
1916 Canton Bulldogs 9 0 1 def. Massillon Tigers, 24-0
1917 Canton Bulldogs 9 1 0 def. Detroit Heralds, 7-0
1918 Dayton Triangles 8 0 0 def. Detroit Heralds
1919 Canton Bulldogs 9 0 1

Other teams

See also


  1. ^ Massillon won by tiebreaker of common opponents. While both Massillon and the Shelby Blues went undefeated and played each other once to a scoreless tie, Shelby tied the Columbus Panhandles, while Massillon had defeated Columbus twice.
  2. ^ Both teams finished undefeated, but shared so many players that it was impossible to stage a true championship game. Their records were added together and the two organizations shared the title and officially merged in 1911. The Tigers name was spun off to another team.
  3. ^ Against Ohio teams only.
  4. ^ The Professional Football Researchers Association lists 1915 as "no clear champion" and discounts Youngstown's competition as subpar. Canton and Massillon, the next two contenders, tied at 5-2-2.

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