Profile America: First Football Pro


Saturday, September 3 — Football season is soon to be in full swing again.  Some colleges began playing their schedules on Thursday, and the National Football League season starts this coming Thursday. For many years, it was believed the first professional game took place on this date in 1895 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. It was considered professional because one player was paid the sum of $10. However, recent research found that the first professional game took place in 1892 in Pittsburgh between two athletic clubs. There, a Yale All-American named “Pudge” Heffelfinger scored the game’s only points, and received $500 for his gridiron exploits. That is almost$13,300 today, or close to half of America’s current annual per capita income of $28,500.

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sources: Kane’s Famous First Facts,

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