Jim Thorpe became NFL President in 1920

Who was the first president of the NFL?

Jim Thorpe was the first president of the NFL. In 1915 Jim Thorpe would sign a NFL deal with the Canton Bulldogs for $250 per game by general manager Jack Cusack. Cusack saw everything in Thorpe and knew that he would bring fans to the game. Thorpe was one of the best football players in 1915.

Jim Thorpe turned out to be everything that Jack Cusack wanted him to be when he signed him. Thorpe would play and coach the Canton Bulldogs during his time with the team. The Bulldogs would claim an unofficial three world championships in 1916, 1917, and 1919.


It has been said that Jim Thorpe's presence on the field help professional football take one giant leap to the public's attraction.

When did Jim Thorpe become President of the NFL?

The National Football League (NFL) would be organized in 1920. There were a list of charter members that would select the individual who would lead the league. Jim Thorpe was selected to be the first president of the NFL.

With the way that Jim Thorpe played and coached the Canton Bulldogs it made him a top prospect for the position. Thorpe would play almost every position on the field. He had the skill set to do this and do it well.


Thorpe Could pass and catch the football with the best of them. Jim would run the football with power and could be a shift runner as well. He could punt and kick field goals. Jim Thorpe would put on a halftime show where he would kick a 50 yard field goal then dropkick the football through the opposite goal post.

Jim Thorpe was not only a standout on the offensive side of the football. He was a bone cracking defensive hitter as well. Jim would also spend six seasons in Major League Baseball. Baseball was more of a hobby for Jim Thorpe and football was the sport that he was the most passionate about.

With his knowledge of the game of football, and his ability to play almost every position. Jim Thorpe was a great selection to run the NFL in 1920. The Pro Football Hall of Fame listed all the accomplishments that Jim Thorpe earned during his time playing football.


Jim Thorpe's Football Accomplishments:

  • All-American Halfback
  • 1912 Olympic Decathlon Champion (was stripped of medal because he was paid to play minor league baseball)
  • First Big-Name athlete to play Pro Football
  • "The Legend" on the All-Time NFL Team
  • Top American Athlete of the First Half of 20th Century

With all these accomplishments, one stood out the most. That accomplishment was being named the first president of the NFL.


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