Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The First Pro Football Game? Of Course It was in Pittsburgh

The game was played less than a mile from where the Steelers play today.




photo: shutterstock

 

Here’s a bit of Pittsburgh’s football history that even diehards may not know: Less than a mile from the 50-yard line at Heinz Field, pro football was born.

During Pittsburgh Steelers home games, the roar of the crowd can be heard at the northern end of Galveston Avenue in the heart of what once was Allegheny City. This spot, in what is now called the North Side, took on significance 125 years ago when the Allegheny Athletic Association football team took on its cross-town rivals, the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The assembled fans on Nov. 12, 1892, likely were unaware that they were witnessing history; the Allegheny team had hired a ringer for the day, making that contest the first-ever professional football game.

William ‘Pudge’ Heffelfinger
By accepting a cash payment to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association, Heffelfinger (pictured) became the first professional football player.

$500
The amount Heffelfinger was paid (approximately $13,500 in 2017)

3,000
The approximate attendance of the game

A Railroad Office in Omaha
Heffelfinger, who was an All-American football player at Yale, took a leave of absence from his job in a Nebraska railroad office to play football, first for the Chicago Athletic Association (where — at least officially — he wasn’t paid) and then for Allegheny.

Allegheny 4, Pittsburgh 0
The Allegheny Athletic Association won the game 4-0; at the time, touchdowns were worth four points. The only score was a fumble both forced and recovered by Heffelfinger.

The East End Gymnasium Club
The original name of the Pittsburgh Athletic Club; it adopted a more professional name after a string of wins. The team was born in a high-end East Liberty gym.

Oct. 11, 1890
Two years prior to Heffelfinger’s appearance, the first official football game played in the Pittsburgh area pitted Allegheny against a squad from the Western University of Pennsylvania (later renamed the University of Pittsburgh).
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: Vox Lux

Natalie Portman stars in an intriguing (but strange) popstar story.

Will the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Bring Home Another Grammy?

The 2018 winners are up again for three potential wins in the 2019 awards.

Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

The coffee house brings its international focus and welcoming atmosphere to the North Side.

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

The rideshare company collects data on just about every aspect of the rider experience, including the most frequently visited locations.

Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

In a season that remarkably could still go either way as Christmas approaches, we’re about to find out if Mike Tomlin still has the coaching chops that have allowed him to succeed at such a high level for so long.

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The quirky period drama starring Emma Stone is one of the year's best films.

My Favorite Room with Heather Abraham

Each issue, HOME goes inside the room of one of our favorite Pittsburghers.

Look Inside a Home That's a True Gateway to Pittsburgh

After 50 years away, Dick and Vicki Mallary returned to Pittsburgh and spent years painstakingly remodeling a condo in the heart of Downtown.

This Old Pittsburgh House: A Ghost in the Library

It's said that the mischievous spirit of Amanda Bayne Balph still haunts the red brick Victorian home in Bellevue.

“Trocking” Along: Living the Art-Filled Life in Pittsburgh

Patricia Sheahan’s home in the Brewhouse Art Lofts on the South side doubles as a gallery space showcasing her collection of art, antique finds and roadside treasures.

Down to Earth is the Hottest Trend at High Point Market

Get the scoop on the furnishing and decor trends to come out of the influential High Point Market trade show, including a return to natural materials.

Winter 2019: Things We Love

Here are the local gems worth obsessing over.

The Best New Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2018

Our dining critic picks the eight top openings of 2018 and suggests one more to keep an eye on.

A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

Guest blogger Sarah Connor helps college kids head out at night, whatever their birth year.

The 400-Word Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The animated wing of Spider-Man's movie world proves to be a groundbreaking step in animation.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Will the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Bring Home Another Grammy?

Will the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Bring Home Another Grammy?

The 2018 winners are up again for three potential wins in the 2019 awards.

Comments

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

The rideshare company collects data on just about every aspect of the rider experience, including the most frequently visited locations.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

The coffee house brings its international focus and welcoming atmosphere to the North Side.

Comments

First Look: Seasons in Etna

First Look: Seasons in Etna

David Bulman’s hyper-local, 12-seat restaurant has the potential to become a dining destination.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

We dove into the local artisan bread scene to find the best places that bake naturally leavened bread in Pittsburgh.

Comments


A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

Guest blogger Sarah Connor helps college kids head out at night, whatever their birth year.

Comments

At Jergel's, It's Beers and Grub Near Some Rock and Roll

At Jergel's, It's Beers and Grub Near Some Rock and Roll

The Warrendale venue makes seeing a show feel like an easygoing night out.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

In a season that remarkably could still go either way as Christmas approaches, we’re about to find out if Mike Tomlin still has the coaching chops that have allowed him to succeed at such a high level for so long.

Comments

When I Realized the True Meaning of the Army-Navy Game

When I Realized the True Meaning of the Army-Navy Game

As Army veteran and Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva sees it, Army-Navy is football at its core in a setting that transcends the sport.​

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Vox Lux

The 400-Word Review: Vox Lux

Natalie Portman stars in an intriguing (but strange) popstar story.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The quirky period drama starring Emma Stone is one of the year's best films.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Overseas Adventures Lead to Pittsburgh Weddings

Overseas Adventures Lead to Pittsburgh Weddings

These couples made the trip that would take them from dating to engaged.

Comments

On Theme Weddings with Style

On Theme Weddings with Style

These brides went beyond a color scheme for their wedding day to work in an entire theme.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Historic Larimer Schoolhouse Will Graduate to Apartment Complex

Historic Larimer Schoolhouse Will Graduate to Apartment Complex

Federal funds will be used to turn to the vacant Romanesque-style building into 35 mixed-income apartments.

Comments

Allegheny County Could Pay You to Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace

Allegheny County Could Pay You to Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace

In the hopes of reducing air pollution and improving indoor air quality — particularly for those with asthma — the county health department is conducting a program to convert open-hearth fireplaces into vented gas-burning appliances.

Comments