Duluth (NFL)

Duluth, Minnesota, hosted a professional football team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923 to 1925 and the Eskimos (officially Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after their star player) from 1926 to 1927 in the National Football League. After being a traveling team in 1927, the Eskimos were then sold to the Orange Tornadoes. When Ole Haugsrud sold the team back to the league, part of the deal gave him first rights for any future NFL team in Minnesota. So when the NFL voted to expand in 1960 to the Twin Cities, Haugsrud was able to buy 10% of the Minnesota Vikings. A book, Leatherheads of the North: The True Story of Ernie Nevers & the Duluth Eskimos written by Chuck Frederick, is available through X-Communications. This book profiles the Duluth Eskimos and their star player, Ernie Nevers.

The film Leatherheads is partially based on the story of the Duluth Eskimos.

Pro Football Hall of Famers


Year W L T Finish Coach
Kelleys 1923 4 3 0 7th Joey Sternaman
1924 5 1 0 4th Dewey Scanlon
1925 0 3 0 16th Dewey Scanlon
Eskimos 1926 6 5 3 8th Dewey Scanlon
1927 1 8 0 11th Ernie Nevers


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