Ninety-two years ago Tuesday, the APFA became the NFL


According to the NFL’s Record and Fact Book, today is the 92nd anniversary of the American Professional Football Association changing its name to something one word shorter — and a whole lot more memorable, as it turned out.

What, you’ve never heard of the American Professional Football Association — you know, the APFA?

We can see you furrowing your brows, wondering if you saw the name somewhere on an office park marquee. And it does sound like the overly serious governing body of a pro soccer league (motto: “No Biting In This League, Friends”).

But no, the American Professional Football Association isn’t a soccer league. Instead, it is the Quarrymen of sports league names, for the American Professional Football Association was the NFL before it was dubbed the NFL.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, APFA clubs met in Cleveland on June 24 and June 25, 1922 to discuss league matters, including moving to stop teams from using players who were still in college.

That’s a change that ultimately has held up, for all intents and purposes. While players can forfeit their eligibility after their third collegiate season, NFL teams can’t enlist, say, college freshmen to come give Sunday football a try.

And at that meeting in Cleveland, the APFA also officially took the NFL as its name.

And that’s another change that has held up quite well.

10 responses to “Ninety-two years ago Tuesday, the APFA became the NFL

  1. And ninety two years from today the 49er’s will still be on a “quest for six”
    and The Vikings will still be looking for their first Superbowl win.

  2. Packers team historian, Cliff Christl, touched on this in a recent discussion with fans about the transition of the team from the Indian Packers, to the Acme Packers, and eventually to the Green Bay Packers.

    As stated above, the Acme Packing Co. sponsored the Packers in 1921, their first season in what became the NFL. In fact, the official minutes from the Aug. 27, 1921, APFA meeting notes that the Acme Packers of Green Bay had been admitted as members. The 1921 team picture also shows some of the players wearing jerseys with the lettering, Acme Packers. But Acme’s sponsorship lasted one season – if that. In early 1922 when Green Bay was reapplying for membership in the NFL after being booted out for using college players under assumed names, the Press-Gazette reported on more than one occasion that J. Emmett Clair, who had run the local Acme plant with his brother, John, actually had title to the franchise. At this point, I can’t give you an explanation as to why. The packing plant was a wartime industry in Green Bay. Business boomed during World War I and shortly after, but then a lot of people apparently lost money on the venture. Later in 1922, after the Clairs finally surrendered title to the franchise, Green Bay was readmitted to the NFL without missing a season. The Green Bay Football Club with Curly Lambeau as president ran the team and disassociated itself from the Clairs and Acme. In fact, the group’s letterhead included the words, (Formerly Packers), and the Press-Gazette almost never referred to the team as the Packers during the 1922 season. If the paper used a nickname, it was Bays or Blues or some combination of the two. But other papers continued to refer to the team as the Packers and the name stuck. The official name of the first nonprofit corporation created in 1923 was Green Bay Football Corp. When the corporation was reorganized in 1935, that’s when the official name was changed to Green Bay Packers Inc. But, in essence, they’ve been the Green Bay Packers since 1919. As for the uniforms, they wore blue into the 1950s, while also wearing green at times.

  3. 1922 that was when things started to go to hell with the league. You think they’d just leave well enough alone. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  4. 92 years and the Vikings are still the laughing stock of the league
    they have set the standard for mediocrity

  5. Wily old George Halas – first he reported the Packers for using illegal players, then he was their major supporter for being readmitted to the league.

  6. Thanks for the history lesson uwsptke. They should do a bio on every team from it’s inception but I probably spend enough time doing gravity safety checks on my couch already. Then again, one can never be to safe or know enough about football.

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