American Football League (1936-50)

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The American Football League (1936-50) was a professional American football league based in New York City. Founded in 1936 as the American Association (AA), it was as a minor league circuit with teams in New York and New Jersey. The AA extended its reach to Providence, Rhode Island prior to the onset of World War II. After a four-year wartime hiatus, the league returned as the American Football League as it expanded to include teams in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The American Association was the first minor football league with a working arrangement with the National Football League as a system of farm clubs, beginning with the purchase of the Stapleton Buffaloes (which played one game as the New York Tigers) by New York Giants owner Tim Mara in 1937.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, the league enjoyed popularity comparable to that of the more established NFL of 1920/1922 despite being in direct competition. In 1949 and 1950, the league was adversely affected by the instability of membership. After starting its last season with six teams, only two league members survived to the end of the year. This iteration of the AFL folded in 1950.


Team City Venues Years Active
Bethlehem Bulldogs Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Liberty High School Stadium 1946-50
Jersey City Giants Jersey City, New Jersey Roosevelt Stadium 1938-41, 1946-50
Long Island Indians Valley Stream, New York Firemen's Memorial Field 1940-41, 1946-47
Paterson Panthers Paterson, New Jersey Hinchcliffe Stadium 1936-41, 1946-50
Richmond Rebels Richmond, Virginia City Stadium 1947-50
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