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- The Hammond Pros of Hammond, Indiana were the first team to have an African-American head coach in the NFL.
- La Rue, Ohio is the smallest town ever to be home to an NFL team.
- The Troy Trojans played in MLB’s record game for lowest attendance ever. Only six people attended.
- Waterloo, Iowa was home to the only major league sport to be based in Iowa.
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Today, many major cities across the United States are home to franchise sports teams. The Green Bay Packers are the biggest exception to that, having a population of 104,879, but Green Bay wasn’t the only small city to be home to a professional team.
While the teams that used to call these places home are defunct or grew into larger teams in larger cities, they still played a role in the beginning of major pro sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, and NBA.
Below we take you through the smallest towns that were once home to professional teams.
Akron, Ohio – Akron Indians/Pros
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Time in league: 1920 to 1926
Championships: 1 – AFPA Champions in 1920
One thing to know: The Pros weren’t named AFPA Champions until April 30, 1921, because of complaints from the Buffalo All-Americans and the Decatur Staleys. The Pros held the best record in the league and only needed to avoid losing a game.
They held both teams scoreless to win the Championship, but due to the complaints, it was put to a vote by the managers. Akron was awarded the title.
Pottsville, Pennsylvania – Pottsville Maroons
Jason Paris/Flickr/CC 2.0 Attribution
Time in league: 1925 to 1928
One thing to know: The Maroons held the best record in the league and earned the 1925 Championship title. However, after they played an unauthorized exhibition game in Philadelphia, they were suspended, stripped of their title, and removed from the NFL due to a violation of territorial rights.
Looking to take advantage, the Chicago Cardinals scheduled two additional games against weak teams to improve their record. Owner Chris O’Brien refused to accept the title, and it was not claimed until 1933 when the Cardinals were acquired by Charles Bidwill, whose descendants still own the team to this day.
As a result, it is believed that the Arizona Cardinals are under the "Pottsville Curse" since they have only won one further NFL title since.
Canton, Ohio – Canton Bulldogs
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Time in league: 1920 to 1926
One thing to know: The Bulldogs played 25 straight games without a defeat in 1921-23, which is still an NFL record.
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