The Oorang Indians /ˈuːˌræŋ/ were a traveling team in the National Football League from LaRue, Ohio. The franchise was a novelty team put together by Walter Lingo to market his Oorang dog kennels, all of the Indians players were Native American, with Jim Thorpe serving as its leading player and coach. The team played in the National Football League in 1922 and 1923, of the 20 games they played over two seasons, only one was played at home in nearby Marion. With a population well under a thousand people, LaRue remains the smallest town ever to have been the home of an NFL franchise, or probably any professional team in any league in the United States. In 1919 Oorang Kennel owner, Walter Lingo, met and became friends with Jim Thorpe of the Canton Bulldogs, Lingo had had a deep passion for the Airedales, which he raised, and for Native American culture. LaRue, Ohio, was once the site of an old Wyandot village, Thorpe first came to Lingos defense after neighboring farmers accused Lingos Oorang Kennels of raising a nation of sheep killers. Thorpe came to Lingos aid by testifying that he knew an Oorang Airedale that had saved the life of a 6-year-old girl, named Mabel. Afterwards, Lingo and Thorpe became friends and soon began hunting together, in 1921, Lingo invited Thorpe and Pete Calac, who was a teammate of Thorpes at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, to his plantation in LaRue to hunt for opossum. It was on this trip that the men agreed on a way both to advertise Airedales and to employ Thorpe, whose career was now on the decline, Lingo would purchase a franchise in the young National Football League, and Thorpe would run the team. At the time, the cost of purchasing an NFL franchise was $100, meanwhile, just one of Lingos Airedales sold for $150. Lingo saw the idea of a franchise as a way of touring the countrys leading cities for the purpose of advertising his Airedales. Therefore, he placed two conditions on the team, the first was that Thorpe had to field an all-Indian team. Secondly, Lingo wanted the team to run his kennels in addition to playing football. Thorpe and Calac agreed to both terms, finally, Thorpe would be paid $500 a week to coach, play, and manage the kennels. In June 1922, Lingo, who served as the teams business manager, traveled to Canton, Ohio. He named his team the Oorang Indians, after his kennels, the name stood out to sports and dog fans alike. Lingo originally wanted the team to play out of LaRue, the issue led to the club performing almost exclusively on the road as a traveling team, where it could draw the biggest crowds and best advertise the dogs. However, Thorpe and Lingo also felt that it would be nice to keep the Indians at home once or twice a year, the nearest town with a suitable football field was Marion, Ohio, which served as the location for the Indians home games
Image: Oorang Indians stat
1922 Oorang Indians
A December 6, 1923 cartoon in the Baltimore News illustrating the media's perception of the team.