The Complete History of the NFL

The NFL has been incredibly popular in the US and around the world for many years. While the rules might differ slightly from the ones we saw fifty years ago; much of the game is still the same as it always was. As you will discover throughout the course of this short article, the NFL has a long and interesting history that most people are unaware of. With that in mind, we ask you to get comfortable and take a look at the timeline we've included below. We've done our best to ensure all the major milestones are listed in this article, so you're going to learn some pretty cool stuff.


The first college soccer game was played between Rutgers and Princeton. At the time, the English rules for the game were still in place, but the teams mixed those with standard rugby rules. Over the next few years, rugby became more popular, and the game we see today began to evolve.


The first ever American football rules were written and published at the Massasoit convention. That is where Walter Camp (the father of American football) became involved in the game. You can see the original rules today. They are stored in a popular museum.


The first professional football contract was signed by halfback Grant Dibert at Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In the previous year, William (Pudge) Heffelfinger became the first man ever to receive payment for playing the game. He secured a $500 wage packet for his efforts.

The Complete History of the NFL
Dolphins v. Chargers Week 5 2008 NFL. Photo Courtesy By Mr. Usaji


Points for a touchdown were altered from four to five. That resulted in the game becoming more exciting and made touchdown points more important.


Jim Thorpe became the first American football player to win a double gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics.


At a meeting in Cleveland, it was decided there would be a purge of weaker football teams from within the league. To secure the future of the NFL, poorly performing clubs were disbanded and removed from the table.


Many of the NFL's top players were forced to join the military and fight for their country in world war two. Sadly, some of them were never to return. While that didn't mean the NFL ceased to run tournaments, they were less popular during this time.


The NFL players association first came into being. In the same year, it was made illegal for players to communicate with each other by in-helmet radios, and for players to grab each other's masks.


Legal NFL betting becomes popular in some states while others completely refuse to allow their residents to gamble on the sport.


Rozelle was handed the game's first ever ten-year contract that became effective in January. Also, the Birmingham Americans beat the Florida Blazers 22-21 in the world bowl, thus winning the league in December of this year.


George Halas died aged 88. He was the last remaining member of the NFL's second organizational meeting. At the time of his death, he owned the Bears.


For the very first time in history, NFL teams played their sixteen game schedule over eighteen weeks. That has not been repeated, even today.


A number of high-profile NFL games were postponed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Also, George Bush declared Super Bowl XXXVI as a national security event. That meant the entire security operations for the tournament were controlled by the secret service.

As you can see, the NFL has a long and rich history that you simply cannot ignore. Very rarely does something that comes from nothing build into an international sensation, but that's exactly what's happened with the NFL.

Catch you next time!

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