Rock Island celebrates football heritage

Throwback game played at site of first ever NFL contest

Published 08/28 2016 07:01PM

Updated 08/28 2016 07:01PM

Two teams suited up Sunday afternoon to play a throwback game and celebrate the football history in the Quad Cities.

Rock Island residents were welcomed to Douglas Park to view a 1920's replica football game, between the Rock Island Independents and the Moline Universal Tractors. The two teams were professional teams that existed at the beginning of what is now the National Football League. 

"They probably don't have any idea that the NFL started in neighborhoods just like this neighborhood here in Douglas Park," said co-organizer Simon Herrera. 

Almost 100 years ago, the pros were playing in our backyard. In fact, the very first NFL game was played right here in Rock Island. 

"This team here was one of the first teams in the NFL. The NFL started here way back in 1920. We just want everyone to come out here to Douglas Park and see what a game would look like back in 1920," said Herrera.

The players wore traditional uniforms: heavy sweater jerseys and leather helmets. They also followed the same rules that existed back at the start.

"I think it is such a great thing," said Moline resident Matt Sharer. Sharer participated in the day by dressing up in 1920's civilian clothing to watch the game. "You know, we have so much history here in the Quad Cities especially here in Rock Island. I thought, what a great way to celebrate the park and the city and our rich heritage."

Herrera has been research the Rock island Independents for ten years. This is the second time they've held a throwback game. 

When all is said and done, it really is just about celebrating a great game.

"It's more simple, and they can just enjoy the essence of the game and the spirit of the play," said Sharer. 



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