Canton Bulldogs

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Thorpe, Jim.jpg
Photograph of Olympic athlete and professional football player Jim Thorpe, ca. 1920-1929. Thorpe was a Native American of Sac and Fox descent and played football at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1912 he was the Olympic decathlon champion. Thorpe was one of the early superstars of the National Football League and served as the League's first president. He played for several professional football teams in Ohio: the Canton Bull Dogs, Cleveland

Indians and Oorang Indians.

The Canton Bulldogs were a professional football team in Canton, Ohio. The first team known as the Canton Bulldogs played from 1904 to 1906, although it did not become known as the Bulldogs until 1906. Following the 1906 season, the team disbanded. In 1911, a new professional football team, the Professionals, began play in Canton. In 1915, this team changed its name to the Bulldogs in honor of the earlier team.

The new Canton Bulldogs became the unofficial world champions in 1916, 1917, and 1919. In 1920, the Canton Bulldogs joined the newly created National Football League. Jim Thorpe, a Bulldogs player, was this league’s first president. The Bulldogs won championships in 1922 and 1923. The team did not play during the 1924 season as the Canton Bulldogs, as a Cleveland businessman had purchased the team and had renamed the squad the Cleveland Bulldogs. Many of the Cleveland Bulldogs’ players had played for Canton the previous season, and the Cleveland team proceeded to win the league championship in 1924. In 1925, Canton businessmen purchased the rights to the team from the Cleveland resident. The Bulldogs, now known as the Canton Bulldogs, played in Canton during the 1925 and 1926 seasons. At the end of the 1926 season, the team disbanded.

In honor of the Canton Bulldogs and Canton’s important role in professional football, the National Football League placed the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in the city.

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