On December 10, 1922, the Canton Bulldogs defeat the Toledo Maroons, 19-0, and are declared the first NFL champion. Canton finishes the season 10-0-2, allowing 15 points and producing nine shutouts. The league champion is determined by best regular-season record.
“The Maroons never got within striking distance of Canton’s goal,” according to a newspaper account.
The Bulldogs won unofficial championships in 1916, 1917 and 1919 in the Ohio League before joining the American Professional Football Association in 1920. That league was renamed the National Football League in 1922.
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Future Hall of Famer William Pete Henry, a 5-foot-11, 245-pound tackle and kicker, and player-coach Guy Chamberlin were the team’s stars.
Canton won another championship in 1923, finishing 11-0-1. In 1924, the team played in Cleveland after it was purchased by business people there and again won the NFL title. Canton took back its Bulldogs in 1925, but the franchise disbanded after the 1926 season.
The Bulldogs from the era still hold the NFL record for most consecutive games without a defeat (25).
The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton in 1963.
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