TONAWANDA, NY - It is a tradition that dates back to 1910, the TNT game, the pinnacle of the Tonawanda-North Tonawanda gridiron rivalry.
While that tradition is known far and wide, Tonawanda has another football distinction is chronicled within the files of the Historical Society of the Tonawandas.
The city was at one time home to an NFL team, named after a Tonawanda business that was among the largest business data file companies in the world.
And so in the fall of 1921, the Tonawanda Kardex were born.
Tonawanda had a successful semi-pro team for four seasons before that, and the president of the newly-formed National Football League came up with a plan.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Director and South Buffalo native, Joe Horrigan explains that they wanted to put franchises in smaller communities to give teams in the metro areas, like Buffalo and Rochester, more teams in their area to play against. "Just keeping the larger metropolitan areas more capable of having larger crowds, at home, and becoming stronger teams in the league."
And the Kardex had reason to be confident, they had defeated the Rochester Jeffersons twice the year before. However, once they joined the NFL, they played one game against the Jeffersons, lost 45-0 and never played another game.
The Tonawanda Kardex gained, and still holds, the title of the shortest-tenured team in NFL history.