List of defunct National Football League franchises
The following is a list and brief history of American football franchises that at one time played in the National Football League (NFL). The NFL was known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920 and 1921. Note that the list represents NFL franchises that no longer exist, not franchises/teams that relocated. However, during the 1920s it is hard to tell if some teams changed nicknames from year to year or if each nickname represented a new franchise. It was also not uncommon for two or more teams to have the same nickname during the same season. No NFL franchise has folded since 1952. The Buccaneers, Colts, Cowboys, Giants, Lions, Panthers, and Texans franchises listed on this page are not the current franchises of those names. A defunct team, in this case, refers to a team which has had the rights to have a team returned to the NFL (or league collective at the time). Massillon Tigers attended the meetings in 1920, but never fielded a team in 1920.
Six defunct teams won an APFA/NFL championship: 1920 Akron, 1922 and 23 Canton, 1924 Cleveland, 1926 Frankford and 1928 Providence.
- Akron Pros (1920–26)
- Brooklyn Lions (1926)
- Buffalo All-Stars (1920–27, 1929)
- Canton Athletic Club (1920–23, 1925–26)
- Chicago Tigers (1920)
- Cincinnati Celts (1921)
- Cleveland Tigers/Indians (1920-21)
- Cleveland Indians/Bulldogs (1923–25, 1927)
- Columbus Panhandles/Tigers (1920–26)
- Dayton Triangles (1920–29)
- It can be argued that the Triangles still exist today as the Indianapolis Colts; see the team article for details.
- Detroit Heralds (1920)
- Detroit Tigers (1921)
- Detroit Panthers (1925–26)
- Detroit Wolverines (1928)
- Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos (1923–27)
- Evansville Crimson Giants (1921–22)
- Frankford Yellow Jackets (1924–31)
- Hammond Pros (1920–26)
- Hartford Blues (1926)
- Kansas City Blues/Cowboys (1924–26)
- Kenosha Maroons (1924)
- Los Angeles Buccaneers (1926)
- Louisville Breckenridges (a.k.a. "Brecks") (1921–23)
- Louisville Colonels (1926)
- Milwaukee Badgers (1922–26)
- Minneapolis Marines (1921–24)
- Minneapolis Red Jackets (1929–30)
- Muncie Flyers (1920–21)
- New York Brickley Giants (1921)
- New York Yankees (1926 1st AFL)(1927–28 NFL)
- Newark Tornadoes (1930)
- Oorang Indians (1922–23)
- Orange Tornadoes (1929)
- Pottsville Maroons/Boston Bulldogs (1925–29)
- Providence Steam Roller (1925–31)
- Racine Legion (1922–24)
- Racine Tornadoes (1926)
- Rochester Jeffersons (1920–25)
- Rock Island Independents (1920–25)
- Staten Island Stapletons (1929–32)
- St. Louis All Stars (1923)
- Toledo Maroons (1922–23)
- Tonawanda Kardex (1921)
- Washington Senators (1921)
- Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers (1930–44)
- Cincinnati Reds (1933–34)
- Cleveland Indians (1931)
- St. Louis Gunners (1934)
- Baltimore Colts (1950)
- Boston Yanks (1944–48) / New York Bulldogs (1949) / New York Yanks (1950–51) / Dallas Texans (1952)
These are all teams that applied to join the NFL but were refused entry. Some existed only as proposals, but others had full organizations. Unless otherwise noted, each team folded after their unsuccessful bid to join the NFL.
- Los Angeles Bulldogs (1936) Approved as a probational franchise with the intention of becoming a full-fledged member in 1937. However, the Cleveland Rams were admitted in their place, due to travel cost concerns. The Bulldogs would go on to play in other leagues until 1948, while the Rams, coincidentally, would move to Los Angeles themselves in 1946.
- Pennsylvania Keystoners (1940) Proposed merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Pirates that was rejected by league ownership. A temporary merger was instituted in 1943 due to player shortages as a result of World War II.
- Buffalo Bills (AAFC) (1950) Members of the All-America Football Conference. Four NFL owners blocked Buffalo's entry into the NFL. Current Bills franchise is unrelated other than in name.
- Memphis Grizzlies (1975) Members of the World Football League. Unsuccessfully sued NFL to attempt to force admission (see: Mid-South Grizzlies v. NFL).
- New Jersey Generals (1986). Members of the United States Football League. Owner Donald Trump was among those seeking to force a merger of the USFL and the NFL, but were unable to do so.
- Baltimore Bombers (1993). Proposed expansion team.
- Memphis Hound Dogs (1993). Proposed expansion team. Later played as Memphis Mad Dogs in CFL USA in 1995.
- St. Louis Stallions (1993). Proposed as both an expansion team and as a potential relocation of the New England Patriots.
- National Football League franchise moves and mergers
- List of defunct National Basketball Association teams
- List of defunct and relocated National Hockey League teams
- "Team List". Web. Database Football. Retrieved 29 August 2013.