1925 - 1925 NFL Championship Controversy
The 1925 National Football League Championship, claimed by the Chicago Cardinals, has long been the subject of controversy. The controversy centers on the suspension of the Pottsville Maroons by NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, which prevented them from taking the title.
The Maroons were one of the dominant teams of the 1925 season, and after defeating the Chicago Cardinals on December 6, came away with the best record in the league. However, Carr suspended and removed the team from the NFL after they played an unauthorized exhibition game in Philadelphia, on the grounds that they had violated the territorial rights of the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Chicago played and won two more games against weak NFL opponents, but were sanctioned because a Chicago player, Art Folz, hired four Chicago high school football players to play for the Milwaukee Badgers under assumed names to ensure a Cardinals victory.
Pottsville supporters argue that the suspension was illegitimate because the League did not then grant exclusive territory rights and that- in any event- they had verbal League approval to play the game in Philadelphia. Further, they argue that the Maroons, who were reinstated the next year, would have had the best record had they not been suspended. Others claim that Chicago were the legitimate champions based on the rules of the time. In 1963, the NFL investigated and rejected Pottsville’s case, and in 2003 refused to reopen the case. Both the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame continue to list the Cardinals as the 1925 NFL champion.