The Meaning of Football in Chicago

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Manage episode 296543866 series 2920140
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Despite what the NFL says, the league actually began play in 1898 when the Arizona Cardinals began play as the “Morgan Athletic Club” located on the south side of Chicago; which was a neighborhood gym where boxing was the utmost activity. A local painting contractor named Chris O’Brien started the team from members of the club. Back then, teams would form and play other neighborhoods or nearby towns/cities and called it professional football because they charged a gate and divided up the proceeds after all the expenses were covered. That meant there might be several teams in a large city such as Chicago alone and sometimes would play only a handful of games and then disband when interest waned or players simply quit. Scheduling games against local and regional teams cut down on travel expenses. Most teams were comprised of factory workers, policemen, shop owners, dock workers, mechanics, coal miners, former college athletes and men from all walks of life. Since that time, Chicago has been instrumental in the growth and rise in popularity of professional football, and in many ways, because of the Cardinals (who would leave the city in 1959), it is where the NFL truly began.

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