Pro Football Championships Before the Super Bowl: A Year – By – Year History, 1926 – 1965 by
Joseph S. Page introduces football fans to championship games played prior to the development of the
Super Bowl structure. He examines games from the NFL, AAFC, and AFL leagues.

The book is divided into short chapters of about five pages for each of the selected games. The
text focuses on coverage of the game itself, with very little context of the season or how the teams
earned the opportunity to play in the game. Unfortunately, without context it makes it more difficult to
interpret the game as many regular season events can impact the day’s outcome. At the end of each
section is a statistics chapter listing the score by quarters, scoring plays, starting offensive lineups,
substitutions, pay checks, head coaches, and team statistics. Starting in the 1952 statistics chapter, the
content changes to no longer list pay checks or substitutions but begins to list the starters for offense
and defense. It would have been nice to provide detailed statistics when possible, even though the
early games from the 1930s would have been light on individual player statistics.

The selection of games, especially when covering the early seasons, is controversial. The book
starts with what it claims are the first and second AFL Championship Games of 1926. The AFL, and for
that matter, the NFL, determined their respective champions by winning percentage in league games.
The first and second “championship games”, were played on November 25th and 27th respectively. These are the second and third games of the AFL season rivalry between the Philadelphia Quakers and the New York Yankees. Even had the Yankees won one of the games, the Quakers would still have won the championship if the Yankees lost the following week to the Chicago Bulls. Further, as late as November 26, the day between the first and second “championship games” there was still some argument about the game the Yankees won against the Los Angeles Wildcats because the game was played in Canada and whether that game was counted would also directly affect the winning percentage of the Yankees. Page then includes the 1926 exhibition game between the Quakers and the New York Giants, who finished 6th – 7th in the NFL. This game was forbidden by Joe Carr, president of the NFL, and was called an exhibition game in the papers of the day. Page then skips the AFL of 1936-7, but includes the All-American Football Conference, 1946–9, and the AFL of the 1960s.

The endnotes and biography are included but raise some questions. The 1964 NFL
Championship game was played between Baltimore and Cleveland, yet with no explanation, the
material cited mostly comes from newspapers in Nashville, Tennessee. Surely the papers in Cleveland
and Baltimore would have had more in-depth coverage. There is very limited use of electronic
resources. The bibliography only includes and it is listed with the newspapers. Doug
Warren’s article from Roar Report from the is not listed in bibliography but it is listed in
the endnotes of a chapter. These are the only two websites cited.

In conclusion, this is a good introduction to the championship games before the Super Bowl
began for the average football fan and will provide a starting point for more thorough historical

This book can be purchased from McFarland by calling 800-253-2187 or by shopping at