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In 1898, the Rochester Jefferson football club was formed, made up of expelled University Of Rochester college players guilty of playing too much football and not studying enough. They played their games near Jefferson Avenue in downtown Rochester, New York, thus the name "Jeffersons". By 1908, the team was comprised of high schools kids playing in the sandlots, no organization and no direction. That year, a 16 year old kid named Leo Lyons joined the team and soon was unhappy with it frivolous play and conduct. He was already the baseball and basketball player/manager for his high school team. By the time he turned 18, Leo was a player, coach, manager and owner of the Rochester Jeffersons. At this time, he devised a plan on making his team a professional one when the NFL did not yet exist. He saw how popular Major League Baseball was and knew it was only a matter of time before football had a professional league. He listed on paper, three steps:  1. Turn the Jeffersons into the best in Rochester  2. Be the best in New York State  3. Get the attention of powerful men in the Ohio League ( the best semi pro league in the country) , and work on starting a new professional football league. Lofty goals for an 18 year old, but he was not afraid to give it his all, for he learned this from his childhood friend, Walter Hagen, a professional golf legend. It would only take Leo a few seasons to be the best team in Rochester and dominate the amateur sandlot circuit.          

Leo,  front row,  second player from left with football / Henry McDonald , back row, eighth player from left

Click on buttons for game summaries and player rosters. All research done by Ken Crippen and John Steffenhagen.Pro Football Researchers Association President Ken Crippen has done extensive football research throughout the years, including the Rochester Jeffersons.

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