Chronology of football (1869-1939)


Rutgers and also Princeton play a college soccer football game, the an initial ever, November 6. The game used modification London Football association rules. Throughout the next seven years, rugby gained favor through the major eastern schools over soccer, and modern-day football began to build from rugby.

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At the Massasoit convention, the an initial rules because that American football to be written. Walter Camp, that would end up being known as the dad of American football, very first became connected with the game.


Pudge Heffelfinger


In an era in i m sorry football to be a major attraction of regional athletic clubs, an extreme competition in between two Pittsburgh-area clubs, the Allegheny strong Association (AAA) and also the Pittsburgh Athletic club (PAC), brought about the make of the first professional football player. Previous Yale All-America guard wilhelm (Pudge) Heffelfinger to be paid $500 through the AAA come play in a game against the PAC, becoming thefirst human being to be payment to pat football, November 12. The AAA won the video game 4-0 when Heffelfinger picked up a PAC fumble and also ran 35 yards because that a touchdown.


The Pittsburgh Athletic club signed among its players, more than likely halfback give Dibert, to the very first known pro football contract, i m sorry covered every one of the PAC's games for the year.


John Brallier ended up being the very first football player to openly rotate pro, agree $10 and expenses come play because that the Latrobe YMCA versus the Jeannette strong Club.


The Allegheny strong Association team fielded the first completely expert team for its abbreviated two-game season.

Latrobe's 1897 football team


The Latrobe strong Association football team went completely professional, ending up being the an initial team to play a complete season with only professionals.


A touchdown was adjusted from 4 points come five.


Chris O'Brien developed a community team, which played under the name the Morgan athletic Club, on the south side of Chicago. The team later came to be known together the Normals, climate the Racine (for a street in Chicago) Cardinals, the Chicago Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phoenix Cardinals, and, in 1994, the Arizona Cardinals. The team remains the oldest proceeding operation in pro football.


William C. Holy place took end the team payments for the Duquesne Country and also Athletic Club, becoming the an initial known individual society owner.


Baseball's Philadelphia Athletics, regulated by Connie Mack, and the Philadelphia Phillies formed skilled football teams, involvement the Pittsburgh Stars in the first attempt at a agree football league, called the national Football League. The Athletics won the very first night soccer game ever before played, 39-0 over Kanaweola AC in ~ Elmira, new York, November 21.All three teams claimed the pro championship for the year, but the league president, Dave Berry, named the Stars the champions. Pitcher Rube Waddell was v the Athletics, and pitcher Christy Mathewson a fullback for Pittsburgh.

The finish uniform worn by a player nameHarry Mason in the World series is on exhibit in Canton.

The first World collection of pro football, in reality a five-team tournament, to be played amongst a team comprised of football player from both the Athletics and also the Phillies, yet simply named new York; the brand-new York Knickerbockers; the Syracuse AC; the Warlow AC; and also the Orange (New Jersey) AC at brand-new York's initial Madison Square Garden. New York and Syracuse play the first indoor football game prior to 3,000, December 28. Syracuse, v Glen (Pop) Warner in ~ guard, winner 6-0 and went top top to win the tournament.


The Franklin (Pa.) Athletic society won the 2nd and last World collection of agree football over the Oreos AC of Asbury Park, new Jersey; the Watertown Red and Blacks; and also the Orange AC.Pro football was popularized in Ohio when the Massillon Tigers, a solid amateur team, hired four Pittsburgh pros to play in the season-ending game against Akron. In ~ the very same time, agree football declined in the Pittsburgh area, and also the emphasis on the pro game moved west from Pennsylvania to Ohio.


A ar goal was readjusted from 5 points come four.Ohio had actually at the very least seven pro teams, with Massillon winning the Ohio independent Championship, the is, the agree title. Speak surfaced around forming a state-wide organization to finish spiraling wages brought about by consistent bidding because that players and to write universal rules for the game. The feeble attempt to start the league failed.Halfback Charles Follis signed a contract through the Shelby (Ohio) AC, making that the an initial known black agree football player.


The Canton AC, later to become known together the Bulldogs, came to be a professional team. Massillon again winner the Ohio league championship.


The forward pass was legalized. The an initial authenticated pass completion in a pro video game came top top October 27, as soon as George (Peggy) Parratt that Massillon threw a completion to Dan (Bullet) Riley in a victory over a combined Benwood-Moundsville team.Arch-rivals Canton and also Massillon, the two best pro teams in America, played twice, with Canton winning the very first game yet Massillon winning the second and the Ohio organization championship. A betting scandal and also the financial catastrophe wrought top top the two clubs through paying large salaries caused a temporary decrease in interest in agree football in the two cities and, somewhat, throughout Ohio.


A field goal dropped from 4 points to three.


A touchdown was boosted from 5 points come six.Jack Cusack revitalized a solid pro team in Canton.


Jim Thorpe,a previous football and track star in ~ the Carlisle Indian school (Pa.) and also a twin gold medal winner at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, played for the Pine town Pros in Indiana.


Massillon again fielded a significant team, reviving the old rivalry through Canton. Cusack signed Thorpe come play because that Canton because that $250 a game.


With Thorpe and former Carlisle teammate Pete Calac starring, Canton went 9-0-1, winner the Ohio organization championship, and was acclaimed the pro football champion.


Despite an upset by Massillon, Canton again won the Ohio organization championship.


Canton again winner the Ohio league championship, despite the team having been turned end from Cusack come Ralph Hay. Thorpe and Calac to be joined in the backfield by Joe Guyon.Earl (Curly) Lambeauand George Calhoun organized the green Bay Packers. Lambeau's employer at the Indian pack Company listed $500 for tools and enabled the team to use the company field for practices. The Packers go 10-1.


Ralph Hay


Pro football was in a state of confusion due to three significant problems: considerably rising salaries; players continually jumping from one team to an additional following the highest possible offer; and also the usage of college players still enrolled in school. A organization in which every the members would follow the very same rules appeared the answer. An business meeting, at which the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, and Dayton Triangles to be represented, was hosted at the Jordan and also Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio, august 20. This meeting brought about the formation of the American skilled Football Conference.A 2nd organizational meeting washeld in Canton, September 17. The groups were from 4 states-Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Dayton from Ohio; the Hammond Pros and Muncie Flyers from Indiana; the Rochester Jeffersons from brand-new York; and the absent Island Independents,Decatur Staleys, andRacine Cardinalsfrom Illinois. The name of the league was changed to the American expert Football Association. Hope to capitalize ~ above his fame, the members chosen Thorpe president; Stanley Cofall the Cleveland was elected vice president. A membership fee the $100 per team was charged to offer an figure of respectability, yet no team ever paid it. Scheduling to be left up to the teams, and there were broad variations, both in the overall number of games played and also in the number played against APFA member teams.Four various other teams-the Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles, and also Detroit Heralds-joined the league sometime during the year. On September 26, the first game featuring an APFA team was played at absent Island's Douglas Park. A crowd of 800 watched the Independents loss the St. Paul Ideals 48-0. A mainly later, October 3, the first game equivalent two APFA groups was held. In ~ Triangle Park, Dayton beat Columbus 14-0, v Lou Partlow that Dayton scoring the very first touchdown in a game in between Association teams. The exact same day, absent Island beat Muncie 45-0.By the beginning of December, most of the teams in the APFA had abandoned their hopes for a championship, and also some that them, including the Chicago Tigers and also the Detroit Heralds, had actually finished their seasons, disbanded, and had their franchises canceled by the Association. 4 teams-Akron, Buffalo, Canton, and also Decatur-still had championship as-pirations, but a collection of late-season games amongst them left Akron as the only undefeated team in the Association. At among these games, Akron offered tackle Bob Nash come Buffalo for $300 and five percent that the door receipts-the an initial APFA player deal.


At the league meeting in Akron, April 30, the championship of the 1920 season was awarded to the Akron Pros. The APFA to be reorganized, withJoe Carrof the Columbus Panhandles named president and also Carl Storck the Dayton secretary-treasurer. Carr relocated the Association's headquarters come Columbus, drafted a organization constitution and by-laws, provided teams ar rights, restricted player movements, occurred membership criteria because that the franchises, and also issued standings because that the very first time, so the the APFA would have a clean champion.The Association's membership enhanced to 22 teams, consisting of theGreen bay Packers, who were awarded to john Clair of the Acme packing Company.Thorpe moved from Canton come the Cleveland Indians, yet he was hurt at an early stage in the season and also played an extremely little.A.E. Staley turn the Decatur Staleys end to player-coachGeorge Halas, who moved the team to Cubs Park in Chicago. Staley paid Halas $5,000 to keep the name Staleys for one much more year. Halas do halfback Ed (Dutch) Sternaman his partner.Player-coach Fritz Pollard that the Akron Pros came to be the very first black head coach.The Staleys declared the APFA championship v a 9-1-1 record, as did Buffalo at 9-1-2. Carr rule in donate of the Staleys, offering Halas his an initial championship.


After admitting the use of football player who had college eligibility remaining during the 1921 season, Clair and also the green Bay monitoring withdrew from the APFA, January 28. Curly Lambeau promised to obey organization rules and also then provided $50 the his own money come buy ago the franchise. Bad weather and low attendance plagued the Packers, and Lambeau go broke, however local sellers arranged a $2,500 loan because that the club. A public non-profit corporation was set up to run the team, with Lambeau together head coach and also manager.The American skilled Football Association adjusted its surname to the nationwide Football League, June 24. The Chicago Staleys ended up being the Chicago Bears.The NFL fielded 18 teams, including the newOorang Indiansof Marion, Ohio, an all-Indian team featuring Thorpe,Joe Guyon, and Pete Calac, and also sponsored through the Oorang dog kennels. Canton, led by player-coachGuy Chamberlinand tacklesLink LymanandWilbur (Pete) Henry, arised as the league's an initial true powerhouse, walk 10-0-2.


For the first time, every one of the franchises taken into consideration to be component of the NFL fielded teams. Thorpe play his 2nd and final season because that the Oorang Indians. Versus the Bears, Thorpe fumbled, and also Halas choose up the ball and returned the 98 yards for a touchdown, a record that would certainly last until 1972.Canton had actually its second consecutive undefeated season, walk 11-0-1 for the NFL title.


The league had 18 franchises, including new ones in Kansas City, Kenosha, and Frankford, a section of Philadelphia. League champion Canton, effective on the field yet not at the box office, to be purchased by the owner the the Cleveland franchise, who retained the Canton franchise inactive, while using the ideal players because that his Cleveland team, which he renamed the Bulldogs. Cleveland winner the title with a 7-1-1 record.


Five brand-new franchises to be admitted to the NFL-theNew York Giants, that were vested toTim Maraand Billy Gibson because that $500; the Detroit Panthers, featuringJimmy Conzelmanas owner, coach, and tailback; theProvidence steam Roller; a new Canton Bulldogs team; and the Pottsville Maroons, who had actually been maybe the most successful independent agree team. The NFL created its very first player limit, at 16 players.


Harold "Red" Grange

Late in the season, the NFL made its biggest coup in getting national recognition. Shortly after the college of Illinois season finished in November, All-America halfbackHarold (Red) Grangesigned a contract to play through theChicago Bears. Top top Thanksgiving Day, a group of 36,000-the largest in pro football history-watched Grange and also the bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. At the start of December, the bear left top top a barnstorming tour that saw them play eight games in 12 days, in St. Louis, Philadelphia, brand-new York City, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago. A crowd of 73,000 watched the game versus the Giants in ~ the Polo Grounds, helping assure the future that the troubled NFL franchise in brand-new York. The Bears climate played nine an ext games in the South and also West, including a game in Los Angeles, in i m sorry 75,000 fans watched them defeat the Los Angeles many tigers in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.Pottsville and also the Chicago Cardinals were the height contenders because that the organization title, v Pottsville to win a late-season meeting 21-7. Pottsville reserved a game versus a team of former Notre Dame players because that Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Frankford lodged a protest no only because the game was in Frankford's protected territory, but because it to be being play the exact same day together a Yellow Jackets residence game. Carr provided three various notices forbidding Pottsville come play the game, however Pottsville play anyway, December 12. That day, Carr fined the club, suspended the from every rights and privileges (including the ideal to play because that the NFL championship), and re-turned its franchise to the league. The Cardinals, who ended the season through the best record in the league, were called the 1925 champions.


Grange's manager, C.C. Pyle, said the Bears the Grange wouldn't play for them unless he was paid a five-figure salary and also given one-third property of the team. The bears refused. Pyle leased Yankee stadium in brand-new York City, climate petitioned because that an NFL franchise. ~ he to be refused, he began the first American soccer League. That lasted one season and included Grange's new York Yankees and also eight other teams. The AFL champion Philadelphia Quakers play a December game versus the brand-new York Giants, saturday in the NFL, and also the Giants won 31-0. At the end of the season, the AFL folded.Halas pushed through a dominion that prohibited any kind of team indigenous signing a player who college course had no graduated.The NFL prospered to 22 teams, consisting of the Duluth Eskimos, who signed All-America fullbackErnie Neversof Stanford, providing the organization a gate attraction to rival Grange. The 15-member Eskimos, dubbed the Iron guys of the North, play 29 exhibition and also league games, 28 on the road, and Nevers play in all yet 29 minute of them.Frankford edged the Bears for the championship, despite Halas having obtainedJohn (Paddy) Driscollfrom the Cardinals. ~ above December 4, the Yellow Jackets score in the last two minute to loss the bear 7-6 and move front of them in the standings.


At a one-of-a-kind meeting in Cleveland, April 23, Carr decided to for sure the NFL's future by remove the financially weaker teams and consolidating the top quality players top top a restricted number of an ext successful teams. The new-look NFL dropped come 12 teams, and the center of heaviness of the league left the Midwest, where the NFL had actually started, and also began to emerge in the big cities of the East. Among the new teams was Grange's brand-new York Yankees, but Grange endured a knee injury and also the Yankees finished in the middle of the pack. The NFL championship to be won through the cross-town rival brand-new York Giants, who posted 10 shutouts in 13 games.


Grange and Nevers both retired from agree football, and also Duluth disbanded, together the NFL was reduced to only 10 teams. The Providence heavy steam Roller the Jimmy Conzelman and Pearce Johnson won the championship, play in the Cycledrome, a 10,000-seat oval that had actually been developed for bicycle races.


Chris O'Brien offered the Chicago Cardinals come David Jones, July 27.The NFL included a 4th official, the ar judge, July 28.Grange and Nevers returned to the NFL. Nevers scored 6 rushing touchdowns and four extra points together the Cardinals beat Grange's bears 40-6, November 28. The 40 points set a record that remains the NFL's oldest.Providence became the an initial NFL team to host a video game at night under floodlights, against the Cardinals, November 3.The Packers included backJohnny (Blood) McNally, tackleCal Hubbard, and guardMike Michalske, and also won their very first NFL championship, edging the Giants, that featured quarterback Benny Friedman.


Dayton, the last of the NFL's original franchises, to be purchased by william B. Dwyer and John C. Depler, moved to Brooklyn, and renamed the Dodgers. The Portsmouth, Ohio, Spartans gotten in the league.The Packers edged the Giants for the title, but the most enhanced team to be the Bears. Halas retired together a player and replaced himself together coach of the Bears v Ralph Jones, who sleek the T-formation through introducing wide ends and also a halfback in motion. Jones also introduced rookie All-America fullback-tackleBronko Nagurski.The Giants beat a team of former Notre Dame football player coached by Knute Rockne 22-0 before 55,000 at the Polo Grounds, December 14. The proceeds went to the new York Unemployment fund to help those suffering because of the great Depression, and also the easy victory helped give the NFL credibility through the press and the public.


The NFL lessened to 10 teams, and also halfway v the season the Frankford franchise folded. Carr fined the Bears, Packers, and Portsmouth $1,000 every for using players who college classes had actually not graduated.The Packers winner an unprecedented 3rd consecutive title, beating out the Spartans, who were led through rookie backsEarl (Dutch) Clarkand glen Presnell.


George preston Marshall, Vincent Bendix, Jay O'Brien, and M. Dorland Doyle wereawarded a franchise for Boston, July 9. Despite the presence of two rookies-halfbackCliff Battlesand tackleGlen (Turk) Edwards- the new team, called the Braves, shed money and also Marshall was left as the single owner at the finish of the year.

The NFL's very first playoff game was played indoors in ~ Chicago stadium in 1932.

NFL member dropped to eight teams, the shortest in history. Main statistics were maintained for the an initial time. The Bears and also the Spartans finished the season in the first-ever tie for first place. After ~ the season finale, the organization office arranged for an additional regular-season game to recognize the organization champion. The video game was movedindoors to Chicago Stadiumbecause of bitter cold and heavy snow. The arena permitted only one 80-yard field that came appropriate to the walls. The goal articles were relocated from the end lines come the score lines and, because that safety, inbounds present or hashmarks wherein the sphere would be put in pat were drawn 10 yards indigenous the wall surfaces that butted against the sidelines. The Bears winner 9-0, December 18, scoring the to win touchdown ~ above a two-yard happen from Nagurski to Grange. The Spartans declared Nagurski's happen was thrown from less than five yards behind the heat of scrimmage, violating the existing happen rule, however the play stood.


The NFL, which lengthy had complied with the rule of college football, made a number of far-ranging changes from the college game for the first time and also began to construct rules serving its needs and the layout of play the preferred. The advancements from the 1932 championship game-inbounds heat or hashmarks and also goal write-ups on the score lines-were adopted. Also the forward happen was legalized from all over behind the line of scrimmage, February 25.Marshall and Halas pushed through a proposal that split the NFL into two divisions, with the winners to satisfy in an yearly championship game, July 8.Three brand-new franchises join the league-thePittsburgh PiratesofArt Rooney, thePhiladelphia EaglesofBert Belland Lud Wray, and also the Cincinnati Reds. The Staten Island Stapletons exposed operations for a year, however never returned to the league.Halas bought the end Sternaman, became sole owner that the Bears, and reinstated himself as head coach. Marshall adjusted the surname of the Boston Braves come the Redskins. David Jones offered the Chicago Cardinals come Charles W. Bidwill.In the very first NFL Championship video game scheduled prior to the season, the Western department champion Bears defeated the Eastern division champion Giants 23-21 in ~ Wrigley Field, December 17.


G.A. (Dick) Richards purchase the Portsmouth Spartans, relocated them to Detroit, and also renamed them the Lions.Professional football gained new prestige as soon as the Bears to be matched against the ideal college football football player in the an initial Chicago college All-Star Game, respectable 31. The game ended in a scoreless tie before 79,432 in ~ Soldier Field.The Cincinnati Reds shed their first eight games, climate were suspended native the organization for defaulting ~ above payments. The St. Louis Gunners, an live independence team, joined the NFL by to buy the Cincinnati franchise and went 1-2 the last 3 weeks.Rookie Beattie feathers of the Bears became the NFL's an initial 1,000-yard rusher, obtaining 1,004 on 101 carries. TheThanksgiving day game between the Bears and also the Lionsbecame the first NFL game broadcast nationally, through Graham McNamee the announcer for NBC radio.In the championship game, on very cold and icy day at the Polo Grounds, the Giants trailed the bear 13-3 in the 3rd quarter before changing to basketball shoes for much better footing. The Giants won 30-13 in what has involved be well-known as the Sneakers Game, December 9.The player waiver ascendancy was adopted, December 10.


The NFL adopted Bert Bell's proposal to host an annual draft of college players, to start in 1936, with teams selecting in one inverse order of finish, might 19. The inbounds line or hashmarks were relocated nearer the center of the field, 15 yards from the sidelines.All-America endDon Hutsonof Alabama joined green Bay. The Lions beat the Giants 26-7 in the NFL Championship Game, December 15.


There were no franchise transactions for the first year due to the fact that the formation of the NFL. It also was the first year in which all member teams played the same number of games.The Eagles made college of Chicago halfback and Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger the very first player ever selected in the NFL draft, February 8. The Eagles traded his rights to the Bears, however Berwanger never ever played pro football. The an initial player selected come actually authorize was the number-two pick, Riley blacksmith of Alabama, who was selected by Boston.A rival league was formed, and also it became the second to speak to itself the American soccer League. The Boston Shamrocks to be its champions.Because of bad attendance, Marshall, the owner the the organize team, relocated the Championship video game from Boston come the Polo Grounds in brand-new York. Green Bay beat the Redskins 21-6, December 13.


Homer Marshman was granted a Cleveland franchise, named the Rams, February 12. Marshall relocated the Redskins to Washington, D.C., February 13. The Redskins signed TCU All-America tailbackSammy Baugh, that led them come a 28-21 success over the bears in the NFL Championship Game, December 12.The Los Angeles Bulldogs had an 8-0 record to success the AFL title, however then the 2-year-old league folded.


At the pointer of Halas,Hugh (Shorty) Raybecame a technological advisor top top rules and also officiating come the NFL. A new rule called for a 15-yard penalty because that roughing the passer.Rookie Byron (Whizzer) White the the Pittsburgh Pirates led the NFL in rushing. The Giants beat the Packers 23-17 for the NFL title, December 11.Marshall, Los Angeles Times sporting activities editor invoice Henry, and also promoter Tom Gallery developed the pro Bowl game in between the NFL champion and also a team of pro all-stars.

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The new York Giants beat the agree All-Stars 13-10 in the very first Pro Bowl, at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, January 15.Carr, NFL president due to the fact that 1921, passed away in Columbus, might 20. Carl Storck was called acting president, may 25.An NFLgame was televised for the very first timewhen NBC transfer the Brooklyn Dodgers-Philadelphia Eagles video game from Ebbets ar to the roughly 1,000 sets climate in new York.Green only defeated new York 27-0 in the NFL Championship Game, December 10 in ~ Milwaukee. NFL attendance exceeded 1 million in a season because that the an initial time, getting to 1,071,200.