Although the American Professional Football Association (APFA) started play in 1920, the league and its successor, the NFL, conducted play for thirteen years before conceiving a "championship game". From 1920 through 1932, league "champions" were determined by won-loss record, but the schedules and rules were so ill-defined that conflicts exist to this day over who the actual champions were, for some years. Some teams played more games than others; some played against college or semi-pro teams; some played after the season was over, some stopped play before a season was over. For example, in 1921, the Buffalo All-Americans disputed the Chicago Staleys' title, and in 1925, the Pottsville Maroons claimed the championship was theirs, not the Chicago Cardinals'.
The APFA had no championship games before it changed its name to the NFL in 1922. Boston/Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall is credited with significant innovations by the NFL. In 1933, Marshall convinced the NFL to play a championship game between two division winners. Thus, 1933 was the year of the first professional football championship game in the United States. See National Football League championships. Since there were only four seasons (1966 - 1969) which ended with games between the champions of two different leagues, there have been only four true world championships of professional football. Claims by the NFL or other leagues that their champions were world champions in other years are spurious.
Professional Football Championship Games
(Years indicate the SEASON, not necessarily the year in which the game was played.)
Will McDonough (July 6, 1935 – January 9, 2003) gave the AmericanFootball League honest exposure in his articles and columns in a nationally prominent newspaper, the Boston Globe.
Up until his death from a heart attack at the age of sixty seven, he had attended every AFL-NFL World Championshipgame and every Super Bowl.
His knowledge of the game of professionalfootball, his ability to get "the inside story", and his honesty and integrity lent credence to his articles on the Boston Patriots and the teams they competed against in the AmericanFootball League, which formed the genesis of modern professionalfootball.
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