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Introduction -- The early National Football League and its meaning in small cities, 1920-1939 -- Pro football franchises in medium-sized and large cities, 1920-1932 -- Pro football's niche : franchise stability and growing popular appeal, 1933-1945 -- The war with the All-America Football Conference, 1945-1950 -- Pro football in the early television era : prosperity and popularity, but problems persist, 1946-1960 -- The emergence of the modern National Football League : national markets and community support, 1959-1967 -- Conclusion -- Appendix A. National Football League franchises, 1920-2004 -- Appendix B. Franchises in rival pro football leagues, 1926-1985.