American football has come a long way since its inception in the late 19th century. As the years passed, the sport evolved and great feats were famously achieved. Take a peek into the past with a timeline of our favorite football milestones. Enjoy!
A New Profession Rises
The first player to reach professional level came in 1892, when William “Pudge” Hellelfinger was offered (and accepted) $500 to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association.
The First to Reach 1,000
In 1934, Chicago Bears’ breakout rookie Beattie Feathers shocked everyone and became the first professional player to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
The Draft is Born
The first NFL Draft kicked off on February 8, 1936, with the Philadelphia Eagles taking the honors. Their choice? The University of Chicago Heisman Winner Jay Berwanger.
The First Pro Bowl
In January 1939, a crowd gathered at Wrigley Field in LA to watch the first Pro All-Star Game. The best of the 1938 season assembled as the Pro All-Stars and challenged the league champions, the New York Giants. The Giants shut out the All-Stars 13-0. It wasn’t until 1950 that the modern day Pro Bowl was constituted.
The Birth of Sudden-Death
The NFL adopted overtime in 1955, and the first sudden-death game took place on August 28 in a preseason battle between the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants. LA ended up sealing the win in a 23-17 victory.
The First Overtime Championship Game
The Giants went on to experience deja vu three years later in “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” when the first championship game went to overtime. The Baltimore Colts defeated the Giants in a spectacular 23-17 battle.
The First to Reach Perfection
In NFL history, the 1972 Miami Dolphins not only take the title for the first to reach the perfect season, but are still to-date the only team to do so. In 2007, the New England Patriots came close to football nirvana, but ultimately lost in a 17-14 defeat to the Giants.
The first Two-Pointer
The two-point conversion made its NFL debut in 1994, and the first person to secure an 8-point touchdown was none other than the Cleveland Brown’s punter. On a fake extra point, Tom Tupa ran the ball in for the higher score. In fact, Tupa stole three more conversions in that fashion, earning him the nickname Two-Point Tupa.