List of defunct National Football League franchises
Membership in the National Football League (NFL) is certified by a franchise. A franchise is awarded by the league to each member club and serves as the league's authorization to operate as a professional football club in their city. Franchises award member clubs the exclusive right to hold professional football games between league members within a 75-mile radius of their city as well as the exclusive rights to market games in their area. There are currently 32 clubs in the league, and new members can only be approved with the support of 3/4s of current members. In the case of egregious misbehavior, a club's franchise can be revoked or suspended by the league's commissioner.
The NFL has had a total of 49 franchises become defunct over its history; this includes ten of the league's twelve founding members, with only the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals surviving to the present day. By 1926, the league had expanded to 22 franchises, but a league meeting in April 1927 led to the decision to revoke the franchises of the clubs in the weakest financial situations; 10 franchises were ultimately revoked.
Five defunct NFL franchises (the Akron Pros/Indians, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs/Indians, Frankford Yellow Jackets, and Providence Steam Roller) had previously won NFL championships. The most recent franchise to become defunct was the Dallas Texans, which folded in 1952 after one season in the league.
|Club||The organization awarded a franchise by the NFL|
|City||The city the club played in|
|Began play||The year the club was awarded a franchise|
|Folded||The year the club folded|
|^||Denotes the club had won an NFL championship before folding|
- National Football League franchise moves and mergers
- List of defunct and relocated Major League Baseball teams
- List of defunct National Basketball Association teams
- List of defunct and relocated National Hockey League teams
- Major League Soccer defunct clubs
- Founding member of the league.
- The Baltimore Colts were originally members of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), but the franchise was accepted into the NFL when the AAFC folded in 1949.
- The Buffalo Bisons franchise was inactive for the 1928 season.
- The Canton Bulldogs franchise was inactive for the 1924 season.
- The Cleveland Bulldogs franchise was inactive for the 1926 season.
- The Louisville Brecks franchise was inactive for the 1924 and 1925 seasons.
- The Minneapolis Marines franchise was inactive from 1925 to 1928.
- "Constitution and Bylaws of the National Football League" (PDF). 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- NFL Bylaws, p. 6, 12-15.
- NFL Bylaws, p. 3.
- NFL Bylaws, p. 28-35.
- "National Football League (NFL)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- "NFL History by Decade: 1921-1930". NFL.com. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- "National Football League Franchise Histories". Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- "NFL Champions". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- "NFL History by Decade: 1911-1920". NFL.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- Grosshandler, Stan (1980). "All-America Football Conference" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 2 (7): 3, 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2014.