The Muncie Flyers from Muncie, Indiana played in the National Football League (then called the American Professional Football Association) from 1920-1921.
History[edit | edit source]
Origins[edit | edit source]
The origins of the team show that it evolved from the Congerville (Muncie) Athletic Club, which dates back to at least 1905. Local newspapers provided spotty coverage of the team. An occasional reference was made to a game being scheduled and sometimes the game results with a brief game account was in the Monday paper. In 1910, the Congerville Athletic Club finished with a near-perfect 10-0-1 record, outscoring their opponents 145-0. All of the home games were played against other local Muncie teams, while the road games were played in nearby Hartford City, Dunkirk and Alexandria. In 1916 the Congerville Athletic Club team and the Congerville Flyers team merged and Muncie was represented by the Congerville Flyers.
The Flyers[edit | edit source]
The Congerville Muncie Flyers evolved from a team called the Congerville Thirds This team was later renamed the Congerville Flyers. The 1915 edition of the Flyers proved to be a respectable team, finishing with a 5-3-3 record. Their star player was local player, Cooney Checkeye. Playing all its games on the road, the 1916 Flyers had a disappointing year, finishing with a 2-6-1 record. Also representing Congerville in 1915 and 1916 was the Congerville Eagles. This lightweight team was closely associated with the Flyers, sometimes lending the heavyweight team a player or two when they were short due to injuries.
World War I[edit | edit source]
The Congerville Flyers played briefly in 1917, but they did not field a team in 1918 due to the United States involvement in World War I and the influenza epidemic. In September 1917, Earl Ball announced that he had organized a team. Scheduled to be on this team were famous college players: Dick Abrel of Purdue and Al Feeney of Notre Dame. Also scheduled to play was Christian Chambers formerly of the Fort Wayne Friars. The team was to be led by local hero, Cooney Checkaye. Ball invited 10 more players to come to practice the next morning. However, a week later on September 9, 1917, Ball announced that he had released all the players that he had signed and that he would not be fielding a team due to the war. Local press was convinced that had Muncie fielded this team, it would have no doubt been strong contenders for the state championship. In 1918 Muncie did not field a team.
The NFL era[edit | edit source]
With the war ended, football came back to life in eastern Indiana. The Flyers played some strong teams, including the Wabash Athletic Association, Fort Wayne War Vets and Cincinnati Celts. The 1919 team finished with an 4-1-1 record. In 1920, the Flyers were one of the original 14 teams in the American Professional Football Association, which later became the National Football League. In the second ever NFL game the Rock Island Independents destroyed the Muncie Flyers 45-0. The following week the Decatur Staleys cancelled their game with the Flyers. Muncie found it difficult to schedule another game. While the team was idle, most of its players signed on to play with other local teams. The Flyers did have a game scheduled against the Dayton Triangles on November 7, 1920, but that game was rained out. The Flyers came back in late November and early December and won 3 non-APFA games, finishing with an 3-1-0 overall (0-1-0 APFA) record. Coming back to the APFA in 1921, the Flyers opened the season by crushing the non-APFA Elwood Legion, then lost league games against the Evansville Crimson Giants, and a loss at home against the Cincinnati Celts. Scheduled to play again on November 13, 1921 against the Green Bay Packers, that game was cancelled, leaving the Flyers with a 1-2-0 overall (0-2-0 APFA) record. The Flyers mark in APFA football was an unimpressive 0-3-0. But during 1920 and 1921, the Flyers posted a 4-0-0 mark against non-APFA teams. Including 1919, the Flyers posted a 8-1-1 record against non-APFA teams.
Post-NFL[edit | edit source]
After leaving the APFA, the Muncie Flyers reverted back to their original name of the Congerville Flyers. Due to weak fan support, the Flyers played almost all their games on the road from in 1922, 1923 and 1924. The Flyers did play one home game in 1924, that was against the Notre Dame Reserves of Brownson Hall. The Flyers lost 47-0. Some speculate that the team they played was not really reserves from Notre Dame, but the strong South Bend Arrows. During those 3 years, the road-bound Flyers finished with a respectable 10-8-3 record. In 1925, the Flyers could not find a home field in Muncie, so they based their team out of neighboring Jonesboro. The team was referred to as the Jonesboro Flyers in 1925 and played 9 of 11 games in Jonesboro and finished with a 6-2-3 record.
Season-by-season[edit | edit source]
|1913||8||2||0||Indiana State Champs||Earl Ball|
|1917||2||2||0||Ky Foster, Ralph Dawson, Zach Toliner|
|1918||did not play|
|1920||0||1||0||14th APFA||Ken Huffine|
|1921||0||2||0||18th APFA||Cooney Checkaye|