TDIF: William Heffelfinger Becomes First Professional Football Player

TCIPF Staff, This Day in NFL History

On this date in football – Nov. 12 1892 – William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first professional football player.  Playing for the Allegheny Athletic Association, Pudge was openly paid $500 in a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club.  The Yale All-American guard was determined as the first player when the Pro Football Hall of Fame found a torn page from an 1892 account ledger prepared by the Allegheny manager.

Heffelfinger’s contract enabled those like Jets’ great Joe Namath to sign a rookie contract worth $427,000.  Here’s a look back at Broadway Joe’s famous contract, as originally presented in “Full Color Football Series: AFL Anniversary 2009.”

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