With its roots in soccer and rugby, football has been played on the college level since 1869 when the historic first game took place between Princeton and Rutgers.

Acknowledged rules for the sport began to be codified in 1880 by Walter Camp, who is considered the “Father of American Football”.

For the next 40 years football remained almost exclusively the domain of college level competition until 1920 with the formation of the American Professional Football Association, which, two years later, changed its name to the National Football League – today’s NFL. A rags to riches story where we now see that league posting a revenue of 18.6 billion dollars in 2022. In those early years pro football was, for the most part, centered in the coal region of upstate Pennsylvania and a loosely organized entity referred to as the Anthracite League.

In 1925 the Pottsville Maroons , a dominant team of the period, was poised to win the NFL championship but, was disqualified and suspended due to
a breach of the league’s territorial regulations with, coincidently, the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Though the team was reinstated the next year, they never regained their former glory, and, three years later, after being sold to a group in Boston, retreated to the annals of football history. Mementos of that short lived, but once great team are housed in our museum.

In the early 1920s, the Frankford Athletic Association’s Yellow Jackets enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best independent football teams, and in 1924 were offered an NFL franchise in Philadelphia.

In 1926, after posting a league record 14 victories, the Jackets won the NFL championship. But, after some success over the next few years, their home field (Frankford Stadium ) was destroyed and the team declined in support and play, and, in 1931, suspended operations.

The NFL spent over a year searching for a new team to operate in Philadelphia, and in 1933 Bert Bell and Lud Wray were awarded an NFL franchise as well as the remaining assets of the Yellow Jackets, and the Phila. Eagles were born.

Although the DePace Museum houses an extensive collection of college and pro memorabilia tracing the history of football over the last 100 years, it’s with its Eagles section that exceptional becomes extraordinary.

Here a visitor can see the field jackets of Eagles stars Steve Van Buren and Norm Van Brocklin, the game worn jerseys of other Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik , and Harold Carmichael, a trove of game balls and dozens upon dozens of autographed game worn jerseys and uniforms of Eagle favorites throughout the generations.

Here, at the DePace Sports Museum, reliving the excitement of extraordinary gridiron moments at Franklin Field, Veterans’ Stadium, and the “Linc” is just a short ride away.

DePace Sports Museum
475 Hurffville - Cross Keys Road
Sewell, NJ 08080
Museum Hours : By Appointment Only.
Call - 856-270-2573
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