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ROCK ISLAND INDEPENDENTS, original NFL team 1920. Embroidered cotton twill ballcap. Free Shipping!

Item Description

Embroidered cotton twill ballcap, two-tone green bill with khaki crown, velcro adjustable 

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Rock Island was a football power, the western outpost of the new league in 1920, hosting the Muncie Flyers kickoff day, 3 October. Along with Akron, Buffalo and Decatur, the Independents were top tier, with a strong following. 

That fervor was evident at a home game against the Decatur Staleys and George Halas. Gambling and liquor may have been the cocktail for a memorable incident, sparked by a reversal of fortune, in which a targeted Staleys' lineman, George Trafton, knocked out a popular Rock Island player.

Tall tale or not, here is the account of the event by Halas himself:

"We foresaw trouble for our George (Trafton). Fortunately, as the end neared we had the ball. We devised a play that had George running toward the exit. As the gun fired, George went out the gate. We threw him a sweatshirt to hide his numerals. He headed for the bridge and Iowa. A car stopped and carried him to safety across the river and the state line. 

Our share of the gate was $3,000, in cash. At the hotel, I gave it to Trafton to bring to the train. I knew if we did encounter obstreperous Rock Island fans, I would run for the money but Trafton would run for his life."


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