1922: Based out of LaRue, Ohio the Oorang Indians were a novelty team in the newly rechristened NFL. Walter Lingo owner of the Oorang Kennel and a close friend of Jim Thorpe went to Canton and purchased a team for $100. Lingo hoped to use the new league and the team to promote Oorang Airedale Terriers which he bred. The Indians would play their home games in nearby Marion, Ohio but would act as mainly as a traveling team. The roster led by Jim Thorpe would be composed of Native Americans; every identifiable team member has proved to have at least some Indian blood. The Oorang Indians consisted of members that were Cherokee, Mohawk, Chippewa, Blackfeet, Winnebago, Mission, Caddo, Sac and Fox, Seneca and Penobscot. The team roster included such colorful names as Long Time Sleep, Joe Little Twig, Big Bear, War Eagle, and Thorpe. The Indians heading into their first season were the first NFL team to have an official training camp. The Indians would begin their first season against the Dayton Triangles, losing 36-0. A week later they would earn their first win, beating the Columbus Panhandles 20-6. The Indians would drop their next five NFL league games, but managed two exhibitions wins against the Ohio Cranes and Indianapolis Belmonts. The Indians would end their first NFL season on a strong note, upsetting the Buffalo All-Americans 19-7, before earning a second win over the Panhandles 18-6 to post a record of 3-6. The Oorang Indians were a popular gate attraction as they were more than a football team, they were a traveling circus. The Indians would bring with them the first halftime shows, with Walter Lingo bring his Airedale Terriers to entertain the fans. He would also have Jim Thorp demonstrate his ability to drop kick the ball through the uprights, as Nick Lassa also known as Long Sleep wrestled bears during halftime.
1923: The Oorang Indians would also be an interesting team off the field, as their late night adventures would become the stuff of legend. The night before a game with the Chicago Bears, the Indians went to a Chicago bar called “Everyman’s Saloon.” At 2:00 am., the bartender stopped serving drinks since Illinois law prohibited the sale of alcohol after 2 am. This action upset the Indians who stuffed the bartender in a telephone booth and turned it upside down. The Indians were defeated by the Bears a few hours later. Later in St. Louis several of the Indians went out drinking for the night. As the night came to an end, the players decided it was time to return to their hotel. They soon found a trolley that could take them back to their rooms, however that particular trolley was headed in the opposite direction. To solve this problem, the Indians players reportedly picked up the trolley, and turned it around on the tracks. They then told the conductor the address for their hotel. Not surprising the Indians would not be a very good team, as they lost their first ten league games, before ending the season with a 19-0 win over the Louisville Brecks on December 9th. The game would be the last for the Oorang Indians as the novelty of the halftime dog shows and events had worn off, leading Walter Lingo to pull his financial backing of the team.
©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 Oorang Indians 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 9, 2015. Last updated on Frebruary 9, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.