Previously I took it upon myself to prove my hypothesis that the largest city in Kentucky did in fact have a somewhat storied tradition with professional sports that is often overlooked. Prior to this, I filibustered to prove the tradition of baseball in the city.
Today, I will show that many came to Derby City to play professional football. 1922 was an interesting time in the world of American football, mainly because it was still in its infancy. It was the first year of the National Football League. The game was born only 47 years earlier when Rutgers and Princeton played a game that was merely a mash-up of elements of varying styles of Rugby, the first football game. In the inaugural season of 1922, 18 teams squared off against each other from across the country.
Among the Packers and Bears was the Louisville Breckenridges or Brecks. While it was the inaugural year for the NFL, it wasn’t for the Brecks who began its life a year prior in the precursor to the NFL, the American Professional Football Association or APFA. In their three seasons, they had one win against the Evansville Crimson Giants in ‘22. Of course, the league was quite different then. Most notably, three game seasons were the norm, so going winless in a season didn’t have the same sting that it carries today. In fact, they played only 13 games in their three year existence. Still, after going winless in 1923 and a dismal ranking, the Brecks decided to hang up their cleats and walk away from the NFL.
However, it was only three years later that the Louisville Colonels joined the NFL. Borrowing a name that was previously used for a Louisville baseball team, another football team took the field with the name Louisville across their jersey. With optimism dashed after an 0 and 4 record and a 21st place in the NFL, professional football left the city of Paul Hornung and Joe Jacoby.
Most remembrances of the Brecks passed through the years, but the spirit of the inaugural NFL teams and the passion to “create the wheel”, so to speak, still permeate football on every level.
And so, as guys across America openly weep about the conclusion of the football season, a couple weeks ago we must look at just what got us to that point.
Thanks to my sources
- General History- Chronology (1869 to 1939). About.com. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://football.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=football&cdn=sports&tm=4&gps=65_231_1419_732&f=10&tt=14&bt=0&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.profootballhof.com/history/general/chronology/1869-1939.jsp
- Louisville Colonels. Reference. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/lou/