Site of NFL’s first game is inconspicuous today


A couple of miles north of downtown Dayton, the home of the first NFL game leaves plenty to the imagination. 

At least that’s what I found at Triangle Park on Friday afternoon, two days before Super Bowl LII will be played in Minnesota. 

The air temperature at the site of the NFL’s first game and its next one were probably pretty similar, but that’s about it. 

PHOTOS: Dayton’s Triangle Park

RELATED: 7 area connections to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Heck, there’s not even a football field at Triangle Park anymore. 

Nor is it obvious where that first game was played between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles on Oct. 3, 1920. 

The park is divided into a few sections, one filled with trees and shelter houses, another occupied by a baseball field. 

I also found a decent-sized, flat, open field. It had some faded white lines but not a full grid. 

I’m not sure if it was 100 yards long, either, but it would have at least made a great place to play a pickup game with friends from the neighborhood. 

That’s probably what the first game would seem like now compared to the pomp and circumstance that will surround the Eagles and Patriots on Sunday night. 

Both games will have their spots in history, nonetheless. 

READ MORE: The story behind the first NFL football game

The Ohio historic site marker sits next to the baseball field. 

It says the game was played, “on this field,” but these days it’s hard to tell what’s literal and what’s only meant to be generally true. 

But that’s all right. 

Sometimes it’s better to be able to fill in the gaps ourselves anyway. 


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