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The New York Pro Football League was a professional American football league active in the 1910s and based in upstate New York, primarily Western New York. Between 1920 and 1921, the league's best teams were absorbed into the National Football League, though none survive today. It was one of the biggest challengers to the ohio Football League in professional football in the 1910s.

Its formation was highly informal; the teams were largely clustered around the two cities of Rochester, New York and Buffalo, New York, with rural teams to fill the differences. Rochester had built its reputation around a strong "sandlot football" circuit, for instance, and was most popular when it consisted mostly of local teams. Rochester's best team, the Jeffersons, was instrumental in bringing the NYPFL and the Ohio League together to form the NFL.



1919 playoffs The NYPFL is believed to have been the first professional football league to use a playoff format (as opposed to a single-game championship) in 1919.

The Buffalo Semi-Pro, Rochester, and Central New York divisions were known to have championships. In the Buffalo division, the Buffalo Prospects defeated the Tonawanda Lumberjacks by a score of 12-7. In Central New York, All-Syracuse defeated the Watertown Red & Black, but for reasons unknown, did not participate in the playoffs beyond that. The Rochester Jeffersons won the Rochester circuit title.

This led to the two-game "New York Pro Championship" between the Buffalo and Rochester divisions over Thanksgiving weekend in 1919, with the Buffalo Prospects defeating the Rochester Jeffersons by a score of 20-0 in the second of two games (the first, held on Thanksgiving Day, was a scoreless tie, necessitating a rematch). Both Buffalo and Rochester had significant ties to the teams in the Ohio League, stemming back to 1917, when both teams went barnstorming in Ohio. The Jeffersons were able to land a game against the top team in the nation, the Canton Bulldogs, where Jeffersons owner Leo Lyons suggested to Bulldogs coach Jim Thorpe and owner Ralph Hay that a league format could eventually become as popular as Major League Baseball.[1]

Buffalo, too, had connections to the Ohio League. In addition to a team of "Buffalo All-Stars" barnstorming in 1917 against the Detroit Heralds and Massillon Tigers, Buffalo quarterback Tommy Hughitt had moonlighted as a member of the Ohio League's Youngstown Patricians.

When the Ohio League owners moved to make a national league in 1920, Buffalo and Rochester, being familiar to the league owners, were invited to join, and both accepted.


  • Buffalo Niagaras/Prospects
  • All-Tonawanda Lumberjacks
  • Buffalo Pierce-Arrows. Team sponsored by the Pierce-Arrow automobile manufacturer.
  • Buffalo Oakdales. Said to be an early dominant team in Buffalo semiprofessional football, but had fallen by the wayside by 1912 and folded around 1915.
  • All-Buffalo. An all-star team from Buffalo that existed in some form until at least 1920.
  • West Buffalo. Existed until at least 1920.
  • Lancaster Malleables. Based in Lancaster, New York.
  • Rochester Jeffersons
  • Rochester Scalpers. One of many Rochester-based teams; existed until at least 1920.
  • Rochester Oxfords. Another of many Rochester-based teams; existed until at least 1926, in its latter years, solely as a semiprofessional team.

Perrysville Undertakers

  • Binghamton Argonauts
  • Leroy Blue Raiders
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  • All-Syracuse
  • which was founded in 1890. May have joined the NFL in 1921, though there is significant doubt regarding this.
  • Watertown Red and Blacks
  • All Fulton and Oswego. Based in Oswego Elmira Browns

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Five bro conference Brooklyn Horsemen[ Brooklyn Lions

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Brooklyn Maroons



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Syracuse YMHA Stars






Unaffiliated Edit

This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completion. You can help by expanding it with sourced additions.

  • Jamestown Alcos. Based in Jamestown, New York.
  • Geneva Glenwoods. Based in Geneva, New York; oddly, this team had a home field that had no goal posts, which meant that no field goals could be attempted.
  • Endicott-Johnson Athletic Association. Based in Binghamton, New York;.
  • .  team from LeRoy, New York.
  •   Westville Jets Baaed Westville conn plays mostly against New york based teams
  • Kanaweola Athletic Club (some spellings have Ranaweola). Based in Elmira, New York. Known to have existed in 1902, since they hosted the first ever night game in professional football, against the Philadelphia Athletics. Kanaweola lost the game, 39-0. Status unknown afterward.