Aug 022012
 

On December 12th, 1926, the NFL’s Canton Bulldogs tied the Brownsville (PA) Independents 0-0 in an exhibition game.  So what, right? On the surface this game has little significance in the history of the NFL. However, the game was played in the tiny western Pennsylvania borough of West Brownsville, and it’s currently the smallest municipality to ever host a game involving a NFL team. Historical indeed.

Listed below are the various types of NFL matchups that have taken place, and the smallest municipalities those matchups have taken place in.

Note: Population figures were retrieved from the 2010 Census.

 

Smallest Municipalities To Ever Host NFL Games (All-Time)


Smallest Municipality To Ever Host a Game Involving a NFL Team:

West Brownsville, Pennsylvania

Borough Population: 992

Within the much larger Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area (2,356,285 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Tied (NFL) Tied (Non-NFL) Score
12/12/1926 Canton Bulldogs Brownsville Independents 0-0

 

Smallest Municipality To Ever Host a Game Involving a NFL Team:

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 100,000 Population)

Bessemer, Michigan

City Population: 1,914

Within Gogebic County (16,427 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Won (NFL) Lost (Non-NFL) Score
9/14/1924 Duluth Kelleys Bessemer American Legion 13-0

 

Smallest Municipality To Ever Host a Game Between Two NFL Teams:

(Both Exhibition and Official)

Minersville, Pennsylvania

Borough Population: 4,397

Within the much larger Pottsville Micropolitan Area (148,289 population).

Home of a NFL Franchise

The Pottsville Maroons, a NFL team from 1925-1928, played their home games at Minersville Park in Minersville. The Maroons dominated at home. They had an official home record of 23-7 (.767 W Pct), with 19 of those wins being shutouts.

In 1929, the Maroons moved to Boston and renamed themselves the Bulldogs. That was the team’s last season in the NFL.


 

Smallest Municipality To Ever Host a Game Between Two NFL Teams:

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 100,000 Population)

Pendleton, Oregon

City Population: 16,612

Within the Pendleton-Hermiston Micropolitan Area (87,062 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Won Lost Score
9/4/1960 Los Angeles Rams Dallas Cowboys 49-14

 

Smallest Municipality To Ever Host an Official Game Between Two Current NFL Teams:

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 100,000 Population)

Portsmouth, Ohio

City Population: 20,226

Within the Portsmouth Micropolitan Area (79,499 population).

Home of a NFL Franchise

The Portsmouth Spartans a NFL team from 1930-1933, played their home games at Universal Stadium in Portsmouth. The Spartans had an official home record of 19-2-4 (.840 W Pct).

In 1934, the Spartans moved to Detroit and they remain in the NFL today as the Detroit Lions.


 

Since the NFL-AFL Merger (1970)


Smallest Municipality To Host a NFL Game Since 1970

(Both Exhibition and Official)

East Rutherford, New Jersey

Borough Population: 8,913

Within the much larger New York Metropolitan Area (22,085,649 population).

Home of Two NFL Franchises

It’s hard to believe, but technically the New York Giants and New York Jets play in the NFL’s smallest municipality. The Giants have called East Rutherford home since 1976, and the Jets have called it home since 1984. Of course both teams represent New York City and its metropolitan area, the largest city and metro area in the United States. When you count metropolitan area populations, Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the smallest NFL city.


 

Smallest Municipality To Host a NFL Game Since 1970

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 100,000 Population)

Stillwater, Oklahoma

City Population: 45,688

Within the Stillwater Metropolitan Area (77,350 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Won Lost Score
8/7/1976 Cleveland Browns Atlanta Falcons 31-7

 

Smallest Municipality To Host an Official NFL Game Since 1970

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 1,000,000 Population)

Clemson, South Carolina

College Town Population: 13,905

Within the Greenville–Mauldin–Easley Metropolitan Area (636,986 population).

Home To a NFL Franchise

In 1995, the expansion Carolina Panthers temporarily played their home games at Memorial Stadium “Death Valley” in Clemson. The Panthers had an official home record of 5-3 (.625 W Pct).

 


 

Smallest Municipalities To Ever Host AFL Games (All-Time)


 

Smallest Municipality To Host a AFL Game

Kingston, Pennsylvania

Borough Population: 13,182

Within the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Area (563,631 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Won Lost Score
9/5/1964 New York Jets Buffalo Bills 19-17

 


 

Smallest Municipality To Host a AFL Game

(Outside a Metro/Micro Area of Less Than 100,000 Population)

North Platte, Nebraska

City Population: 24,733

Within the North Platte Micropolitan Area (37,590 population).

The Game: Exhibition
Date Won Lost Score
8/27/1967 Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders 21-17

 


Smallest Municipality To Host an Official AFL Game

Birmingham, Alabama

City Population: 212,237

Within the Birmingham Metropolitan Area (1,128,047 population).

The Game: Regular Season
Date Won Lost Score
9/22/1968 New York Jets Boston Patriots 47-31

 


 

Game scores and locations retrieved from The Pro Football Archives.

  2 Responses to “NFL Games in Small-Town America”

  1. Nice stuff I enjoyed the trivia however what has brought me to this sight is I’m searching for info for a story I’m writing about the birth of the NFL The problem I’m having is that the NFL claims to have started in 1909 I cannot find anything about that could you help me with a sight that may work for me or if you have the info I’m looking for could you help me out
    Thanks
    Joe Snow

  2. The NFL was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association – they changed their name to the National Football League in 1922.

    A handful of teams were founded before the league’s start. Perhaps that’s what you read.

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