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Mike's Football Rant
2003-05-23 00:32
by Mike Carminati

The NFL is looking into awarding the 1925 championship to the Pottsville Maroons. The Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals were awarded the title after the Maroons played an exhibition at Philly's Shibe Park against the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame (which they won 9-6). The game violated the territorial rights of the Frankford Yellow Jackets, who were losing to the Cleveland Bulldogs, 3-0, that day (and who coincidentally won the 1926 championship). Frankford coach Guy Chamberlain protested.

Joe Carr, the NFL president, suspended the Pottsville franchise and canceled its final game against the Providence Steam Roller. Their record stood at 10-2, which was the best in the league. They had just beaten the Cardinals 21-7 the week before to seemingly earn the title. The Maroons entered the game at 9-2, just behind Chicago at 9-1-1.

Second-place Chicago was allowed to play two unscheduled games within a week against the Milwaukee Badgers and Hammond Pros, who had both folded earlier in the year. The scores of the two games were 59-0 and 13-0. The Cardinals ended up 11-2-1 (ties didn't count) and won the sham of a league championship.

Pottsville claimed that they did get verbal approval for the game from the league office, but their protests went for naught. The championship has been the Cardinals ever since.

Of course, the fair thing would be to award the championship to the no-longer-existent Maroons. The Cardinals on the other hand are the oldest franchise in the NFL starting before the turn of the last century as an amateur team (aren't they still?) for the Morgan Athletic Club. They became the Racine Normals because they played at Normal Field on Racine Avenue in Chicago. In 1901 they were dubbed the Cardinals because they got the hand-me-down uniforms of the University of Chicago team, which had faded to maroon. Even though they are the oldest team, they have just two NFL championships to their name, 1925 and 1947. If they take the '25 crown away, their only championship will come in a year when the best team in football (the Cleveland Browns) was not even in the NFL. The Browns played in the fledgling All-American Football Conference that later merged into the NFL.

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