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NFL securing trademarks for defunct franchises ahead of 100th season


Bettmann Archive

As the NFL’s 100th season approaches, the league is quietly securing trademarks for some of its historical franchises that no longer exist.

The Duluth Eskimos played in the NFL in 1926 and 1927, and trademark attorney Josh Gerben notes that the league recently filed a trademark application for the Duluth Eskimos name.

The language of the league’s application suggests that the NFL might be planning to have a team play under the Eskimos name, Gerben writes. Duluth is in Minnesota, so the Vikings would be the obvious choice to play a game wearing Eskimos throwbacks.

The Canadian Football League has trademarked the word “Eskimos” for its own franchise, and the CBC notes that the Edmonton Eskimos have been criticized for using a term that some see as outdated and disrespectful.

The Duluth Eskimos were best known for star player Ernie Nevers, who played both seasons the franchise was in the NFL and was the coach for the second season. Nevers is a Pro Football Hall of Famer who in 1929 scored all 40 points (six touchdowns and four extra points) in the Chicago Cardinals’ 40-6 win over the Chicago Bears. That remains the NFL record for most points scored by a player in one game, and is the NFL’s oldest record.