Nearly 100 years after the National Football League was born in Canton, Ohio, the NFL is celebrating the 13 communities, including Rock Island, that were home to the 14 teams of its inaugural season.

The initiative is part of 'NFL 100', a year-long commemoration of its centennial season bringing together generations of football fans, players, communities and all 32 clubs for a unique line-up of programming and activities. Rock Island actually hosted what is known as the first National Football League game. It happened on September 26, 1920.

During the 2019 NFL Draft, selections from Rock Island and seven of the league's "Original Towns" outside of the 32 current NFL markets will be made live in the telecast. The hometown celebration will showcase Rock Island's history alongside fans and elected officials.

"There's no better way to bring the League's hundred years of history full circle than to partner with these communities and recognize their important place in history as part of the NFL's centennial celebration," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thomas said, "We could not be more excited about the NFL Draft coming to Rock Island.  There has been a lot of hard work put in to get recognized, and the NFL honoring us with a draft pick for their 100th Anniversary confirms Rock Island's status in the history of professional football.  We want the entire Quad Cities to join us on April 27th.  It's going to be a fantastic time!"

The NFL has guaranteed at least one 6th round pick to be announced at Augustana College and could get as many as three picks.

Activities scheduled for the day:

  • The gates will open for this FREE community event at noon on April 27 and there will be a Family Fun Zone featuring bounce houses, carnival games, and goodie bags for the first 150 children.
  • A Youth Football Skills Clinic for girl and boys grades 1-6 will begin at 12:30 (check-in at 12:00 pm).
  • A DJ will be spinning tunes.
  • At 2:00 pm there will be a re-creation of the game that took place in September of 1920 at Douglas Park.  This contest will feature the Rock Island Independents vs the St. Paul Ideals and will have historical uniforms and game rules.
  • The NFL will be broadcasting a 6th round pick(s) LIVE from Rock Island between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm.

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