Chronology of Football 1869-1910
1869 | 1876
| 1892 | 1893 | 1895
| 1896 | 1897 | 1898
| 1899 | 1900 | 1902
| 1903 | 1904 | 1905
| 1906 | 1909
Rutgers and Princeton played a college soccer football game, the first
ever, November 6. The game used modified London Football Association
rules. During the next seven years, rugby gained favor with the major
eastern schools over soccer, and modern football began to develop
At the Massasoit convention, the first rules for American football
were written. Walter Camp, who would become known as the father
of American football, first became involved with the game.
In an era in which football was a major attraction of local athletic
clubs, an intense competition between two Pittsburgh-area clubs, the
Allegheny Athletic Association (AAA) and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club
(PAC), led to the making of the first professional football player.
Former Yale All-America guard William (Pudge) Heffelfinger was paid
$500 by the AAA to play in a game against the PAC, becoming the first
person to be paid to play football, November 12. The AAA won the game
4-0 when Heffelfinger picked up a PAC fumble and ran 35 yards for
The Pittsburgh Athletic Club signed one of its players, probably
halfback Grant Dibert, to the first known pro football contract,
which covered all of the PAC's games for the year.
John Brallier became the first football player to openly turn pro,
accepting $10 and expenses to play for the Latrobe YMCA against
the Jeannette Athletic Club.
The Allegheny Athletic Association team fielded the first completely
professional team for its abbreviated two-game season.
The Latrobe Athletic Association football team went entirely professional,
becoming the first team to play a full season with only professionals.
A touchdown was changed from four points to five.
Chris O'Brien formed a neighborhood team, which played under the
name the Morgan Athletic Club, on the south side of Chicago. The
team later became known as the Normals, then 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 continuing operation in pro football.
William C. Temple took over the team payments for the Duquesne Country
and Athletic Club, becoming the first known individual club owner.
Baseball's Philadelphia Athletics, managed by Connie Mack, and the
Philadelphia Phillies formed professional football teams, joining
the Pittsburgh Stars in the first attempt at a pro football league,
named the National Football League. The Athletics won the first
night football game ever played, 39-0 over Kanaweola AC at 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 with the Athletics, and
pitcher Christy Mathewson a fullback for Pittsburgh. The first World
Series of pro football, actually a five-team tournament, was played
among a team made up of players from both the Athletics and the
Phillies, but simply named New York; the New York Knickerbockers;
the Syracuse AC; the Warlow AC; and the Orange (New Jersey) AC at
New York's original Madison Square Garden. New York and Syracuse
played the first indoor football game before 3,000, December 28.
Syracuse, with Glen (Pop) Warner at guard, won 6-0 and went on to
win the tournament.
The Franklin (Pa.) Athletic Club won the second and last World Series
of pro football over the Oreos AC of Asbury Park, New Jersey; the
Watertown Red and Blacks; and the Orange AC. Pro football was popularized
in Ohio when the Massillon Tigers, a strong amateur team, hired
four Pittsburgh pros to play in the season-ending game against Akron.
At the same time, pro football declined in the Pittsburgh area,
and the emphasis on the pro game moved west from Pennsylvania to
A field goal was changed from five points to four. Ohio had at least
seven pro teams, with Massillon winning the Ohio Independent Championship,
that is, the pro title. Talk surfaced about forming a state-wide
league to end spiraling salaries brought about by constant bidding
for players and to write universal rules for the game. The feeble
attempt to start the league failed. Halfback Charles Follis signed
a contract with the Shelby (Ohio) AC, making him the first known
black pro football player.
The Canton AC, later to become known as the Bulldogs, became a professional
team. Massillon again won the Ohio League championship.
The forward pass was legalized. The first authenticated pass completion
in a pro game came on October 27, when George (Peggy) Parratt of
Massillon threw a completion to Dan (Bullet) Riley in a victory
over a combined Benwood-Moundsville team. Arch-rivals Canton and
Massillon, the two best pro teams in America, played twice, with
Canton winning the first game but Massillon winning the second and
the Ohio League championship. A betting scandal and the financial
disaster wrought upon the two clubs by paying huge salaries caused
a temporary decline in interest in pro football in the two cities
and, somewhat, throughout Ohio.
A field goal dropped from four points to three.