How Many NFL Teams No Longer Exist?




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Did you know that over the course of its existence, the National Football League (NFL) has seen a number of teams come and go? From the early days of American football to the present, there have been various reasons why teams have ceased to exist. Whether due to financial struggles, mergers with other teams, or simply disbandment, the history of the NFL is full of teams that are no longer around. So, how many NFL teams no longer exist? In this article, we will explore the history of American football and delve into the fascinating stories of the NFL teams that are now just a part of the league’s rich past.


Welcome to this comprehensive article on the history of the NFL and the defunct teams that have shaped the league throughout the years. As an American Football enthusiast, it’s fascinating to delve into the past and discover the teams that once graced the gridiron but are no longer part of the National Football League. From the early years of the league to its expansion and merger with the AFL, we’ll explore the rise and fall of various teams, their reasons for dissolution, and their impact on the game we love.

History of the NFL

How Many NFL Teams No Longer Exist?

Early Years of the NFL

The NFL, or the National Football League, was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). It originally consisted of ten teams, including the Decatur Staleys, later known as the Chicago Staleys and eventually the Chicago Bears. These early years were marked by a lack of structure, with teams often changing names, cities, and even folding due to financial difficulties.

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Expansion of the League

Throughout the years, the NFL expanded its reach and added new franchises to its roster. The addition of teams such as the Cleveland Bulldogs, Providence Steam Roller, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Pottsville Maroons, and Duluth Eskimos brought more excitement and competition to the league. The cities that hosted these teams had the opportunity to showcase their passion for the sport and contribute to the growth of American Football.

How Many NFL Teams No Longer Exist?

Merger with the AFL

In 1970, the NFL merged with the American Football League (AFL), creating a new era in professional football. This merger not only expanded the league further but also paved the way for the creation of the Super Bowl. The AFL teams that became part of the NFL included the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, and New York Jets, among others. This merger solidified American Football’s position as a major sport in the United States and propelled the NFL to new heights.

Defunct NFL Teams

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the defunct NFL teams that have left a mark on the league’s history.

Decatur Staleys/Chicago Staleys

Team Overview

The Decatur Staleys were one of the original teams that formed the APFA in 1920. They were initially based in Decatur, Illinois and were owned by the Staley Starch Company. The team’s name changed to the Chicago Staleys the following year when George Halas took over the franchise. Eventually, they became the Chicago Bears, one of the most successful and iconic teams in the history of the NFL.

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Reasons for Dissolution

Despite their later success, financial struggles plagued the Decatur Staleys. The team was sold to George Halas, who eventually relocated the franchise to Chicago. The move proved crucial for the team’s survival and paved the way for their long-lasting legacy.

How Many NFL Teams No Longer Exist?

Cleveland Bulldogs

Team Overview

The Cleveland Bulldogs were one of the founding members of the APFA in 1920. They were initially known as the Cleveland Indians but later changed their name to the Bulldogs. The team played its home games at the Cleveland Indians’ baseball stadium.

Reasons for Dissolution

Financial difficulties and a lack of success on the field contributed to the Cleveland Bulldogs’ demise. The team struggled to compete and attract a dedicated fan base, which led to their eventual dissolution in 1927.

Providence Steam Roller

Team Overview

The Providence Steam Roller, based in Providence, Rhode Island, was a founding member of the NFL in 1920. They began as an independent team before joining the league. The Steam Roller had some success in their early years, winning the NFL Championship in 1928.

Reasons for Dissolution

Despite their championship victory, the Providence Steam Roller faced declining attendance and financial difficulties in subsequent seasons. These challenges, coupled with the Great Depression, ultimately led to their dissolution in 1931.

Frankford Yellow Jackets

Team Overview

The Frankford Yellow Jackets were an early NFL team based in Frankford, Pennsylvania. They were one of the league’s dominant teams during the 1920s and won the NFL Championship in 1926.

Reasons for Dissolution

Like many teams of the era, financial struggles plagued the Frankford Yellow Jackets. The team experienced declining attendance and faced challenges in covering their expenses. In 1931, the team was suspended and later removed from the league due to these financial difficulties.

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Pottsville Maroons

Team Overview

The Pottsville Maroons were a professional football team based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. They joined the NFL in 1925 and had a successful inaugural season, winning the Championship.

Reasons for Dissolution

The Pottsville Maroons’ demise is linked to a controversial decision made by the team to play a game outside of their designated territory. In 1925, the Maroons played against a team from Philadelphia, which was considered a violation of territorial rights. This decision led to the NFL revoking the Maroons’ championship and suspending the team from the league in 1926, resulting in their eventual dissolution.

Duluth Eskimos

Team Overview

The Duluth Eskimos, later known as the Duluth Kelleys, were an NFL team based in Duluth, Minnesota. They played in the league from 1923 to 1927.

Reasons for Dissolution

Financial difficulties, coupled with the team’s struggles on the field, led to the Duluth Eskimos’ dissolution. The changing economic landscape and the inability to attract a dedicated fan base in a small market ultimately proved too challenging for the team to overcome.

Dallas Texans

Team Overview

The Dallas Texans were a team in the NFL for only one season. They were established in 1952 and played their games in the Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Reasons for Dissolution

The Dallas Texans faced financial difficulties and struggled to attract fans during their lone season in the NFL. After the season concluded, the franchise was sold and became the Baltimore Colts, with a new team in Dallas emerging years later as the Dallas Cowboys.

In conclusion, the history of the NFL is filled with teams that have come and gone throughout the years. From the founding franchises that shaped the league to the defunct teams that faced various challenges, each one has left its mark on the rich tapestry of American Football. As fans, it’s important to remember and honor the legacy of these teams, as they have played a significant role in shaping the sport we know and love today.

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