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The Pottsville Maroons and the NFL,s Stolen Championship of 1925

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"They stole our championship same as if they came and robbed us of the trophy," says 92-year-old Nick Barbetta. A widower with a fondness for plaid slacks, Barbetta talks about his favorite team, the 1925 Pottsville Maroons, as if they were still playing. And like all Maroons supporters—a group that once boasted Bears founder George Halas and now includes Steelers owner Dan Rooney and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie—Barbetta believes his team was robbed of the 1925 NFL championship. He's also convinced that Arizona owner Bill Bidwill and his family have been working since the 1960s to squash Pottsville's hopes of reclaiming its title. That's why, every Sunday, he gleefully tracks the Cardinals' latest buffoonery from the musty parlor of his home in the coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. Until that title is returned, Barbetta says, the Cardinals will be doomed by a curse folks in Pottsville hand down from generation to generation. "We cursed 'em with the oldest, strongest curse in sports."

In the Yellow Jackets’ first year, the team, coached by no-good Punk Berryman, finished in third place after an 11-2-1 campaign. Their next year, 1925, was unspectacular, but it did feature some remarkable items. It was legendary Guy “Champ” Chamberlin’s first year with the team. Also, the team played a part in the 1925 NFL Championship controversy. The Chicago Cardinals and the Pottsville Maroons were having a tiff as to which team was better. As it stood, the Maroons had a better record after defeating the Notre Dame All-Stars 9-7. But the Yellow Jackets argued that the Maroons had violated a territorial agreement wherein the Maroons would stay the fuck out of eastern Pennsylvania. The league agreed and ordered the immediate execution of the 1925 Pottsville Maroons, and then awarded the league championship to the Cardinals.


The Pennsylvania Center for the Book - Pottsville Maroons