Niagara first played football in 1897 and continued until suspending operations after the 1909 season. The Purple Eagles returned for the 1914 season and kept playing college football until World War II made the 1941 season Niagara's last until 1946. For the third time, the Purple Eagles suspended their team after the 1950 season, only to return in 1967. After 20 seasons of play that had seven winless seasons with six occurring in a span of seven years, the Purple Eagles dropped football for the fourth and final time after the 1987 season. Over the span of 67 seasons, the team went won 182 games, lost 205 games, and had 31 ties. They never played in a bowl game. The Eagles had 37 seasons in which they finished with more wins and ties than losses, though the Purple Eagles finished on a 18-game losing streak in over three seasons, their last win occurring in October 1983.
The most wins they had in a season was 1902, in which they went 9–3–1, while the most losses they had in a season was 1922, when they finished 1–8–1.