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This day in Buffalo Sports History: Welcome, NFL

   Sept. 14, 1938 -- Earlier this year, there was a note in this space about how in 1960 the first pro football game was played in War Memorial Stadium. The trick was that the name of the stadium was changed for the occasion.

   The first NFL game ever played in Civic Stadium came on this date. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates (they became the Steelers a few years later), 27-7. The reason the game was played in Buffalo was, we assume, because the Pirates shared Forbes Field with the baseball Pirates, who hadn't finished their season. Even though the baseball team was on the road that weekend, they no doubt didn't want their field chewed up.

   A crowd of 19,749 watched the game. The Eagles were coached by future NFL commissioiner Bert Bell. Jay Arnold scored three touchdowns for Philadelphia -- one on a fumble return, one on a pass reception, and one on an interception return. The two teams eventually finished at the bottom of the NFL's Eastern Division that year.

--- Budd Bailey

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