National Football League has come a long way since its humble beginnings when it
was founded in an auto showroom in Canton, Ohio on September 17, 1920. Today, by
almost any measure, the NFL is America's most popular sport!
Week in Pro Football History
Heffelfinger, the first professional football player
Join the Hall of
Fame as we take a weekly look back at the sport's amazing history. Reflect
back on games and events from the past to learn more about how pro football used
to be played.
In November, the
Hall remembered the first professional football player: William
"Pudge" Heffelfinger. Heffelfinger openly accepted $500 to play
for the Allegheny Athletic Association on Nov. 12, 1892. It paid off, too, as
Allegheny "thumped" the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, 4-0!
A lot has changed
namely touchdowns counting for 6 points. Catch up with similar
history each week in this special Hall of Fame feature.
THEY WERE NAMED: The origins of NFL franchise nicknames
professional football team has its own unique history; so, too, does each
have its own story on how it
Why do they call the Packers the Packers? And whose idea was it to name
Chicago's team the Bears? Why? Get all the interesting tidbits behind the
31 franchise nicknames
and be sure to click on the team logos for the
history of each team.
Each of the NFL's eight decades feature many unique milestones, interesting
stories and treasured memories. Check out the highlighted story from each decade
below, then link to the other pieces within each grouping. Be sure to come
back -- this section is updated regularly.
Providence Steam Roller
The Steam Roller took home the NFL title in 1928, the last team not
still active in the NFL to claim a championship. They also set numerous
other league "firsts"
At just 5'7" and 151 pounds, Heisman Trophy-winner Davey
O'Brien was the "original Doug Flutie." The Texas Christian
University star played for two years with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Amazing Don Hutson
With 99 career touchdown receptions, Don Hutson stamped himself as
the NFL's first superstar pass-catcher. The Green Bay hero caught 488
passes in a brilliant career.
Green Bay's Don Hutson, the NFL's first "super end" and a
two-time MVP, to John
Elway, shown below during "The Drive" game, pro football
history is filled with fascinating players.
Birth of Overtime
The first overtime game was the 1958 title contest between New York
and Baltimore, right? Actually, it was in a lonely preseason game
between the Los Angeles Rams and the Giants three years earlier
Fran Tarkenton made his Minnesota Vikings' and NFL debut against
George Halas and the Chicago Bears in 1961. A daunting task, and an incredible
There were other undefeated teams in NFL annals, but only the '72
Dolphins followed a perfect regular season with a victory in the Super
Fifteen plays in the bitter cold of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium in
January 1987 turned John Elway into an NFL icon.
Davis Runs Wild
Denver's Terrell Davis reaches the 1000-yard barrier in just seven games
in 1998. Not bad for a
sixth-round draft pick.
Pro Football History
How many sets of brothers have played in professional football? Or how about
fathers and sons? You can get all the answers inside.