What Are the Roots of Professional Football?


Quick Answer

Professional American football was born in 1892 when the Allegheny Athletic football team played the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1869, Rutgers and Princeton played in the first known college football game, but at the time it closely resembled rugby. It wasn't until the 1880s that rules were established that changed the game into what we know as the sport today.

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Full Answer

The significance of the 1869 game in establishing football as a professional sport is tied to the first time a member of a team was paid. Until this time, athletes were considered amateurs and weren't expected or allowed to receive money for their performances.

Almost 80 years after the game a receipt was discovered documenting a payment of $500 to a member of the Allegheny Athletic team and professional football could be traced to its roots.

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