Pottsville, PA to receive Pioneer Award

10/30/2003

NFL & Pro Football Hall of Fame to award Pottsville, Pennsylvania 2004 Pioneer Award
 
The National Football League and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have named the city of Pottsville, Pennsylvania the 2004 winner of the prestigious Daniel Reeves Pioneer Award, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Thursday at an NFL meeting in Chicago. The Pioneer Award, which is named after the farsighted and innovative former owner of the Cleveland-Los Angeles Rams from 1941-1971, is given periodically by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
 
 
Pottsville is represented in a display at the Hall of Fame.   Since the team was not awarded the league title in 1925, they made their own trophy.  It's made from coal that was mined near Pottsville.
The Pottsville Maroons began play in the NFL in 1925 and finished that season with a 10-2 record. However, they were disqualified from league championship consideration by NFL President Joe Carr after the team played an unauthorized exhibition game on December 12, 1925 against a non-NFL team in Philadelphia, the home of the then-Frankford Yellowjackets. The Chicago Cardinals (11-2-1) were awarded the 1925 title despite having lost 21-7 to the Maroons on December 6, 1925. The Pottsville franchise disbanded after the 1928 season.

The citizens, business community and political leaders of Pottsville have never given up their fight to have the 1925 championship awarded to their team. The NFL owners on two other occasions (1963 and 1967) considered Pottsville’s case but voted against changing the 1925 outcome. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles in each instance were the only teams to vote in favor of the Maroons.

In recognition of Pottsville’s role as one of the NFL’s pioneer communities, the NFL owners today approved a resolution that confers the 2004 Pioneer Award on the city of Pottsville. The resolution reads as follows:

 “Resolved, that the membership recognizes that the 1925 Pottsville Maroons were a Championship-caliber NFL team, appreciates the city of Pottsville’s pioneer support of the NFL since the earliest days of professional football, and understands the continuing belief of Pottsville’s citizens that the city be recognized as the home of the 1925 champions.

 “Further resolved by the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that on Hall of Fame Weekend in August, 2004, the city of Pottsville, Pennsylvania be awarded the Reeves Pioneer Award conferred by the Pro Football Hall of Fame to ‘Individuals, Organizations or Communities Whose Innovative and/or Pioneering Actions Contributed to the Success of the Sport of Professional Football.’”

 Pioneer Award Winners
 1972 - Fred Gehrke
 1975 - Arch Ward
 1986 - John Facenda
 1992 - David Boss
 2001 - George Toma
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Steelers owner Dan Rooney both expressed disappointment that the league’s membership voted against reopening the 1925 files. The Eagles and Steelers were the two dissenters in today’s 30-2 vote of the NFL clubs.

Representatives of the community of Pottsville will be invited to Canton, Ohio to accept the Pioneer Award next August 7-9 during the 2004 Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend.

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