In 1920, the Canton Bulldogs closed out their season in Richmond, by defeating the Richmond Athletic Club 39-0. It’s the only NFL game played in Richmond that has counted in the final standings. Virginia can claim that they are one of just nine states to host a NFL game in the league’s first season.
The NFL and Richmond had a close relationship in 1921, when the city hosted four NFL exhibition games. As the host team in all of those games, the Richmond Athletic Club had a respectable record of 2-1-1. They tied the Cleveland Tigers 0-0, and had two wins and one loss versus the Washington Senators (0-10, 7-0, 41-0). The 41-point victory the Richmond Athletic Club pulled off against the Washington Senators, is the third largest margin of victory a semi-pro team has over a NFL team.
The NFL wouldn’t return to Richmond until the 1937 season. In their first season in Washington, the Redskins traveled to The River City and defeated the Richmond Arrows 30-0 in a mid-season exhibition. The Redskins were the first current NFL team to play in Richmond.
The Redskins also hosted the last NFL exhibition in Richmond. They defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 13-7. The last major professional football game in Richmond occurred in 1968. The then AFL’s New York Jets defeated the Boston Patriots 25-6.
In total, Richmond has hosted 14 major professional football games.
Major Professional Football Games in Richmond, Virginia
Columns can be sorted by clicking on the titles in the header.
|1920||Official||12/18/1920||Canton Bulldogs||Richmond Athletic Club||39-0|
|1921||Exhibition||10/30/1921||Washington Senators||Richmond Athletic Club||10-0|
|1921||Exhibition||11/11/1921||Richmond Athletic Club||Washington Senators||7-0|
|1921||Exhibition||12/10/1921||Cleveland Tigers||Richmond Athletic Club||0-0|
|1921||Exhibition||12/17/1921||Richmond Athletic Club||Washington Senators||41-0|
|1937||Exhibition||11/7/1937||Washington Redskins||Richmond Arrows||30-0|
|1938||Exhibition||11/20/1938||Washington Redskins||Richmond Arrows||51-6|
|1939||Exhibition||11/12/1939||Pittsburgh Pirates||Richmond Arrows||23-0|
|1946||Exhibition||9/8/1946||Pittsburgh Steelers||Richmond Rebels||55-6|
|1949||Exhibition||9/7/1949||Pittsburgh Steelers||Richmond Rebels||28-16|
|1950||Exhibition||10/22/1950||Chicago Bears||Richmond Rebels||47-14|
|1964||Exhibition||8/15/1964||Chicago Bears||Washington Redskins||14-13|
|1965||Exhibition||8/21/1965||Washington Redskins||St. Louis Cardinals||13-7|
|1968||Exhibition||8/17/1968||New York Jets (AFL)||Boston Patriots (AFL)||25-6|
On a side note: Richmond will be the first city in the state of Virginia, outside the Washington metro area, to host a NFL training camp.
Check out this interview with Richmond sports historian Ron Pomfrey. He discusses the history of professional football in Richmond, and shows off a handful of artifacts.
Game scores were retrieved from The Pro Football Archives.