The Origin of Pro Football

the origin of football

On November 12, 1892 the origin of professional football began. It was the day that the Allegheny Athletic Association football team defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. No one knew at the time that the this game would have such a big impact on football. The game itself was not a big event it was that one of the players, William (Pudge) Heffelfinger, was openly paid $500 to play the game. This marked the first professional football player in history. This means professional football began over 100 years ago with no indication of the popularity the sport would have in the future.

At the time the Pittsburgh Athletic Club believed that something illegal was afoot but had no evidence that the Allegheny Athletic Association had abandoned the standard practices by actually paying players to play. Verification of this didn’t become public for another 80 years when the Pro Football Hall of Fame got a document of expenses from the Allegheny Athletic Association that had clearly listed “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.” While it was possible for other players to have been paid before 1892, the AAA expense sheet provides the first irrefutable evidence of an out-and-out cash payment. This expense sheet is commonly referred to as the birth certificate of professional football.