What Is The Oldest Team In The NFL By Age?




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Did you know that the NFL, or National Football League, has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1920? If you’re curious about which team holds the title for being the oldest in the NFL by age, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of American Football and dive into the history of the league to discover which team has the longest-standing tradition. So grab your favorite mug of hot cocoa and settle in for a journey through time as we uncover the answer to the question: What is the oldest team in the NFL by age?


If you’re a fan of American football, you probably know that the NFL (National Football League) is the premier organization for professional football in the United States. But have you ever wondered how the league came to be and which teams have stood the test of time? In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and explore the early years of the NFL, the evolution of its teams, and delve into the histories of some of the most iconic franchises in the league.

What Is The Oldest Team In The NFL By Age?

Early Years of the NFL

Formation of the NFL

The NFL was officially formed on August 20, 1920, in Canton, Ohio. It was originally known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) and consisted of just ten teams. The goal of the APFA was to create a formal organization that would oversee professional football and ensure fair competition.

First Organized Teams

While the NFL may have been formed in 1920, professional football had been played for several years prior. Some of the earliest organized teams included the Akron Pros, the Decatur Staleys (which would later become the Chicago Bears), and the Rock Island Independents. These teams, along with several others, laid the foundation for the future success of the NFL.

Pre-NFL Football Clubs

Even before the formation of the APFA, there were several football clubs that played a significant role in the development of professional football. These clubs, such as the Canton Bulldogs, the Dayton Triangles, and the Frankford Yellow Jackets, were precursors to the modern NFL teams we know today. They helped establish the popularity of the sport and set the stage for the creation of the NFL.

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The Decade of the 1920s

Formation of New Teams

As the 1920s got underway, the NFL saw the addition of new teams eager to join the professional ranks. The league grew rapidly, expanding to include franchises from various cities across the United States. Some of the new teams that emerged during this decade were the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions.

Proliferation of Professional Football

The 1920s was a crucial decade for professional football as the sport gained traction and popularity across the country. The NFL, despite its modest beginnings, continued to attract fans and establish itself as the premier professional football league. The games became increasingly competitive and drew larger crowds, setting the stage for the future success of the NFL.

Oldest Teams Established in the 1920s

When it comes to the oldest NFL teams by age, three franchises hold the distinction of being among the founding members of the league in 1920. These teams are the Decatur Staleys (later renamed the Chicago Bears), the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals), and the Green Bay Packers. These teams have withstood the test of time and have rich histories that span nearly a century.

What Is The Oldest Team In The NFL By Age?

Evolution of NFL Teams

Relocations and Name Changes

Throughout the history of the NFL, teams have faced various challenges, leading to relocations and name changes. Some teams have moved to different cities in search of larger fan bases or better economic opportunities. Notable examples include the Oakland Raiders becoming the Los Angeles Raiders and later the Oakland Raiders again, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals becoming the Arizona Cardinals.

Expansion Franchises

As the popularity of the NFL grew, so did the demand for more teams. To meet this demand, the league began awarding expansion franchises to cities that wanted to join the NFL. Over the years, cities like Houston, Jacksonville, and Baltimore have been granted expansion teams, adding to the diversity and competitiveness of the league.

Modern Era Realignments

In recent years, the NFL has undergone realignments to ensure fairness and balance among its teams. This has led to changes in divisional alignments and playoff structures. These realignments aim to create more competitive matchups and provide fans with exciting football.

The Green Bay Packers

Early Years

The Green Bay Packers, founded in 1919, hold the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating NFL franchise. The team started as a local club in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and joined the APFA in 1921. The Packers became one of the league’s most successful and beloved teams, boasting a passionate fanbase known as the “Cheeseheads.”

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Founding and Ownership

The Packers were founded by Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Calhoun, who secured funding for uniforms and equipment from Lambeau’s employer, the Indian Packing Company. The team’s name was inspired by the company’s name, and Lambeau served as the team’s first head coach. Today, the Green Bay Packers are owned by shareholders, making them the only publicly owned franchise in the NFL.

Championships and Legacy

The success of the Green Bay Packers on the field is evident in their numerous championships. Led by legendary head coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers won five NFL Championships in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls. The team’s storied history, dedicated fanbase, and iconic Lambeau Field make the Green Bay Packers a true NFL institution.

What Is The Oldest Team In The NFL By Age?

The Chicago Bears

Founding of the Bears

The Chicago Bears, founded in 1919, are another storied franchise that has stood the test of time. The team was initially known as the Decatur Staleys and was based in Decatur, Illinois. In 1921, the team relocated to Chicago and became the Chicago Staleys. Eventually, they were renamed the Chicago Bears, a name that has become synonymous with the city’s football tradition.

Championships and Notable Players

The Chicago Bears have a rich history of success, with numerous championships to their name. Led by legendary coaches such as George Halas and Mike Ditka, the team has won nine NFL Championships and one Super Bowl. The Bears have also been home to iconic players like Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, and Gale Sayers, who left an indelible mark on the franchise and the sport as a whole.

Team Legacy

The Chicago Bears have long been a staple of the NFL, known for their hard-nosed style of play and passionate fanbase. The team’s blue and orange colors and the iconic “C” logo are instantly recognizable to football fans everywhere. Whether it’s the famous “Monsters of the Midway” defenses or the historic rivalries with other teams, the Chicago Bears have left an enduring legacy in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals

Early Years and Relocation

The Arizona Cardinals, originally known as the Morgan Athletic Club, were founded in 1898 in Chicago. They became one of the original NFL teams in 1920 and were known as the Chicago Cardinals. In 1960, the team moved to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Cardinals. Finally, in 1988, the franchise relocated to Arizona and became the Arizona Cardinals.

Championships and Historical Significance

The Cardinals have had their fair share of challenges over the years, but they have also experienced moments of success. They won two NFL Championships in 1925 and 1947, establishing themselves as a competitive team in the league’s early years. The franchise has also played a significant role in shaping the NFL, being one of the league’s longest-tenured teams.

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Team Relocation

The Cardinals’ move from Chicago to St. Louis and later to Arizona was fueled by various factors, including the desire for a larger fanbase, better economic opportunities, and stadium deals. While these relocations brought about changes for the franchise and its fans, the Cardinals have managed to maintain a dedicated following and continue to compete in the modern NFL.

The New York Giants

Team Formation and Early Years

The New York Giants, founded in 1925, have a rich history that spans nearly a century. The team was formed as an expansion franchise in the NFL and quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Led by owner Tim Mara and head coach Steve Owen, the Giants became synonymous with New York football and gained a passionate fanbase.

Success and Championships

The New York Giants have a storied history of success, with multiple championships to their name. The team has won a total of eight NFL Championships, including four Super Bowls. Notable moments in Giants history include their thrilling victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, where they defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots on both occasions.

Team Legacy and Popularity

The New York Giants are one of the most popular and successful franchises in the NFL. Their blue and white colors, along with their iconic “NY” logo, are recognizable worldwide. The team’s deep roots in New York City and their rivalry with the crosstown New York Jets have made them a staple of the city’s sports culture, drawing generations of passionate fans.

The Detroit Lions

Formation and Name Changes

The Detroit Lions, founded in 1930, originally began as the Portsmouth Spartans in Portsmouth, Ohio. In 1934, the team was purchased and relocated to Detroit, Michigan. It was in Detroit that the Spartans became the Lions, a name chosen to reflect the city’s strong connection to the automotive industry.

Championships and Notable Players

The Detroit Lions have had their share of success, particularly in the early years of the franchise. The team won four NFL Championships in 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957. These victories were due in large part to the talent of notable players like Dutch Clark, Bobby Layne, and Barry Sanders, who left lasting legacies in Lions history.

Modern Era Challenges

While the Lions have a strong history, the team has faced challenges in the modern era. The franchise has struggled to maintain consistent success and has faced hardships in their quest for another championship. However, with a fervent fanbase and a dedicated ownership group, the Detroit Lions remain a beloved part of the NFL landscape.


As we’ve explored the early years of the NFL and the evolution of its teams, it’s clear that the league has a rich history filled with iconic franchises. From the Green Bay Packers to the Chicago Bears, the Arizona Cardinals to the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions, each team has its own unique story and has made significant contributions to the sport of American football. As the NFL continues to thrive and capture the imaginations of fans around the world, these teams will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping the future of the league. So, whether you’re a fan of the game or just getting started, take a moment to appreciate the legacies of these teams and the impact they have had on American football.

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