If you were a pro football fan living in Champaign County in 1922, you would have been residing at the epicenter of the NFL.
That year – the first season it was called the NFL – the league had franchises in Dayton (Triangles), Columbus (Panhandles), Marion (Oorang Indians), Toledo (Maroons), Akron (Pros) and Canton (Bulldogs).
In those days, Ohio truly was the capital of pro football.
In fact, Urbana High School graduate Ken Crawford played for the Akron Pros in 1920 and was a member of the first NFL championship team — although the league was known in 1920-21 as the American Professional Football Association.
To learn more about the fascinating early days of the NFL, I suggest you attend the free event at the Champaign County Historical Society Museum tomorrow from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. when Chris Willis of NFL Films will be discussing the history of the league and Ohio’s prominent role in it.
Willis, an Urbana University graduate, has been the head of NFL Films’ research library for over 20 years.
He is considered the foremost expert in the country on the early days of the league, and has written several books on the subject.
Willis also won an Emmy Award for his work on HBO’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans” in 2016.
Besides hearing Willis’ presentation, you will also have a chance to win a limited edition football card autographed by Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Raymond Berry in a free raffle.
In addition, rare NFL artifacts from Paul Brown, Red Grange, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, etc., will be on display during the presentation.
Willis, a former Blue Knight football player, will be inducted into the UU Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday after the football game.
Trivia Time – Chuck Knox was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1978-82.
This week’s question – Who was the head coach of the NFL’s Oorang Indians in 1922?
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or at firstname.lastname@example.org