1923: After a year absence the NFL returned to Cleveland, with a new team that was also called the Indians, once again borrowing from the City’s Baseball team. The new Cleveland Indians were founded by Sam Deutsch, a Cleveland jeweler and boxing promoter who also owned a minor-league baseball team. The Indians would play a scoreless tie against the Rock Island Independents in their first game on October 7th. A week later in their first home game at Dunn Field, the Indians earned their first win, beating the St. Louis All-Stars 6-0. A week later the Cleveland Indians would beat the Jim Thorpe led Oorang Indians 27-0. The next two games Cleveland would play scoreless ties against the Buffalo All-Americans and Dayton Triangles. The Tribe would continue to remain unbeaten with a 9-3 win over the Columbus Tigers. However, with a chance to get into the title race the Cleveland Indians were pounded by the Canton Bulldogs 46-0. It would also be the final game of the season, as the Indians finished their first season with a solid record of 3-1-3.
1924: If you can’t beat them but them. The Canton Bulldogs had not lost a game over the last two seasons and were the first two time winners of the NFL Championship. When the Bulldogs were put up for sale, they were purchased by Sam Deutch who merged them with the Cleveland Indians becoming the Cleveland Bulldogs. Most of the players making up the roster were from Canton, with Guy Chamberlain becoming the coach of the new merged team. The Bulldogs would start the season strong, beating the Chicago Bears to open the season 16-14. Following a 3-3 tie against the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Bulldogs were able to run off a four game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 143-21. However, the Bulldogs unbeaten streak would come to an end on November 16th with a 12 loss at Dunn Field against the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs would bounce back to win their final two games, including a 53-10 win over the Milwaukee Badgers on Thanksgiving in Canton to post a record of 7-1-1. The Bears also lost just one game, posting a record of 6-1-4. Cleveland was in line to win the NFL Championship with a better winning percentage. The Bears would challenge the Bulldogs to an exhibition game on December 7th. The Bears would win the game 23-0, trying to claim the NFL title away from the Bulldogs. The dispute would remain unsettled until the league meetings in January, when it was ruled the exhibition took place after the season’s final end date and the game would not count, giving the Cleveland Bulldogs the 1924 NFL Championship.
1925: After losing the Bulldogs for a year several business leaders from Canton purchased their half of the team back from Sam Deutch and move back to Canton, while Cleveland operated separately with a team called the Bulldogs on their own. Deutch would later sell his half of the team to Herb Brandt. Cap Edwards who was the coach of the Cleveland Indians in 1923 returned to coach the Cleveland Bulldogs. However, much of the team’s talent was gone as they lost five of their first seven games. Being the defending champion made the Cleveland Bulldogs a in demand opponent giving them a 14 game season. However, they were hardly the same team and ended the season with a record of 5-8-1. Despite the extended schedule, the Bulldogs were forced to declare bankruptcy following the season and suspended operations for the 1926 season.
1927: Sam Deutch returned to resurrect the Cleveland Bulldogs after sitting out one season. The new Bulldogs got help from the Kansas City Cowboys who were among a dozen teams that folded after the 1926 season. The new Bulldogs were led by former Michigan Star Quarterback Benny Friedman and Coached by LeRoy Andrews. Despite having perhaps the best quarterback of the era, the Bulldogs struggled early in the season, winning just one of their first five games. However, the rookie quarterback once he figured out the professional game Freidman was nearly unstoppable as the Bulldogs lost just one of their final eight games, finishing the season with a solid record of 8-4-1, good enough for fourth place in the NFL. Despite their strong finish, the Bulldogs 20-0 win over the Duluth Eskimos on December 3rd would be their final game, as they were purchased by Elliott Fisher who would move the team to Detroit, changing the name to the Detroit Wolverines. The NFL would return in 1931 with a new Indians team that lasted one season. Later they would get a team called the Rams that won a title in 1945 before moving to Los Angeles. In 1946 the Cleveland Browns would begin playing in the rival AAFC and eventual join the NFL in 1950.
©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Canton Bulldogs or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on February 15, 2015. Last updated on February 15, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.