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The Tonawanda Kardex: The One Night Stand of the NFL

Tonawanda, New York, is located outside Buffalo, New York. However, in the modern NFL, only one of those cities has a professional football team. In 1921, Tonawanda had an NFL (National Football League) franchise known as the APFA. How long did the football team last? Why did the team fold? How did Tonawanda gain a pro football team?


How did Tonawanda gain a pro football team?

The season before Tonawanda joined the APFA, there was a crackdown on what teams could play. Pro football in Tonawanda started in 1913. They played in the NYPFL (New York Professional Football League).


The team was known as the Tonawanda Lumbermen or, as most people know them, the Tonawanda Kardex. They were presumed to be sponsored by James Rand Jr’s American Kardex. The APFA would absorb the good teams. Tonawanda had a successful 1920 season in the NYPFL, then agreed to join the young NFL in 1921.


How long did the team last?

The Kardex began their home games at Tonawanda Highschool. Then they played a long road game against the Rochester Jeffersons on November 6th, 1921. They got up 45-0 in front of 2,700 spectators. After that, the Kardex played one league game. Tonawanda was a bad pro football team. They finished 18th in the APFA.


Why did the team fold?

There were several reasons why the team folded. The first reason was that they lacked willing opponents, which made scheduling games challenging with other teams. The second reason, the fee to be in the APFA rose from $50 to $1,000. The Kardex couldn’t meet this monetary fee which is, luckily, the main reason why the team folded. The final reason, the on-field product was horrible.


The One-Night Stand of the Early NFL

The Tonawanda Kardex was the one-night stand of the early NFL. They played one league game against the Rochester Jeffersons. After that, Tonawanda folded because they couldn’t meet the fee to be in the league, there was a lack of willing opponents, and the on-field product was awful.





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