Let’s Look At The Providence Steam Roller
The Providence Steam Roller hold the distinction of being the last NFL team to win a league championship and then cease operations. The team played out of Providence, Rhode Island and was active for seven seasons, from 1925 to 1931. The team actually played their home games in a facility built for bicycle races called the Cyclodome. The Steam Roller was the first NFL team to host a night game which they lost by the score of 16-0 to the Chicago Cardinals in 1929.
Two players with ties to the Providence Steam Roller have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jimmy Conzelman was the head coach of the team when they won their NFL championship in 1928 and also played for and coached a number of other early NFL teams. Conzelman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964. Fritz Pollard played one season for the Providence Steam Roller (1925), but also saw playing time with a number of other early NFL teams including the Akron Pros, Milwaukee Badgers, Hammond Pros, Gilberton Cadamounts, and Akron Indians. Pollard’s main claim to fame though is that with the Akron Pros in 1919 and the Hammond Pros in the early 1920s that he was the first African-American head coach in the NFL. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Like many businesses of the time, it was the Great Depression that brought an end to the Providence Steam Roller. The team didn’t officially fold until 1933, but their last game was played during the 1931 season.