The NFL’s Defunct Franchises

Defunct NFL Franchises

We think of professional sports especially the NFL as highly stable businesses, and in modern times that’s correct. But, there was a time when buying an NFL franchise wasn’t a guarantee that you’d still be in business even a few years down the road.

Here is a list of NFL teams that are no longer in existence. This does not include teams that have moved from one city or region to another and played under a different name, these are only teams that essentially went out of business for one reason or another. Following the team name, in parenthesis, are their years of operation.

As you can see in the NFL’s early years (the 1920’s), it was a highly unstable league, continuing to have problems well into the 1930’s.

Chicago Tigers (1920)
Cleveland Tigers/Indians (1920-21)
Muncie Flyers (1920-21)
Rochester Jeffersons (1920-25)
Rock Island Independents (1920-25)
Akron Pros/Indians (1920-26)
Canton Bulldogs (1920-26)
Columbus Panhandles/Tigers (1920-26)
Hammond Pros (1920-26)
Detroit Heralds/Tigers/Panthers/Wolverines (1920-28)
Buffalo All-Americans/Bisons/Rangers (1920-29)
Dayton Triangles (1920-29)
Cincinnati Celts (1921)
New York Giants – Brickley’s (1921)
Tonawanda Kardex (1921)
Washington Senators (1921)
Evansville Crimson Giants (1921-22)
Louisville Brecks/Colonels (1921-23, 1926)
Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets (1921-24, 1929-31)
Oorang Indians (1922-23)
Toledo Maroons (1922-23)
Racine Legion/Tornadoes (1922-24, 1926)
Milwaukee Badgers (1922-26)
St. Louis All Stars (1923)
Cleveland Indians/Bulldogs (1923-27)
Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos (1923-27)
Kenosha Maroons (1924)
Kansas City Blues/Cowboys (1924-26)
Frankford Yellow Jackets (1924-31)
Pottsville Maroons/Boston Bulldogs (1925-29)
Providence Steam Roller (1925-31)
Brooklyn Lions (1926)
Hartford Blues (1926)
Los Angeles Buccaneers (1926)
New York Yankees (1927-28)
Orange/Newark Tornadoes (1929-30)
Staten Island Stapletons (1929-32)
Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers (1930-1944)
Cleveland Indians (1931)
Cincinnati Reds (1933-34)
St. Louis Gunners (1934)
Boston Yanks (1944-48)
Baltimore Colts (1950)
New York Bulldogs/Yanks (1949-51)
Dallas Texans (1952)

Though many teams have claimed financial hardship at different times during their existence, no NFL team has gone out of business or folded since 1952.

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