Timeline Description: Football has been an American sport for roughly 150 years, going back to nineteenth century America. While the game has changed over time, the fans continue offering their unconditional love and support.
Soccer was the original football, with players using their feet to move the ball over a field. It is still called football in many countries today.
|1870||Soccer evolves into rugby
Over the course of a few years, soccer fell out of popularity as rugby gained momentum. American football grew out of a combination of British rugby and soccer.
|1876||Set in stone
As the game became more popular, players and fans knew it was time to set a few official rules. Walter Camp wrote a set of rules during the Massasoit Convention, and he later became known as the father of American football.
|1892||Paid to play
The first paid football player was William Heffelfinger. He was paid $500 to play on the Allegheny Athletic Association's team in a game against a rival club, and he won the game for them.
|1897||The first pro team
The Latrobe Athletic Association became the first to host an all-pro team. They played a full season with only paid, professional players.
|1899||The oldest pro team
Today they are known as the Arizona Cardinals, but in 1899 they started out as a neighborhood team on the south side of Chicago. They were called the Morgan Athletic Club, then the Normals, and were later changed to the Cardinals.
|1902||An attempt at a professional league
A few professional baseball associations decided they would dip their toes into the pool of professional football. They attempted the first pro league, named the National Football league, but it wouldn't take hold for several more years.
The rules of the game evolved over time. Field goals changed from five points to four points, and eventually three points; touchdowns were increased from five points to six points.
|1920||An official pro league
Because of the changing rules, changing salaries, and players from all walks of life, the professional teams found themselves in turmoil. They decided a professional league with consistent rules was necessary, so the American Football Conference was created,
The American Football Conference officially changed its name on June 24, 1922. It became the National Football League.
|1922||New teams with big names(1922-1924)
Many teams who formed during these years still exist today. They include the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, and the New York Giants.
|1925||Bigger crowds and more fans
Football's popularity continued to grow. On Thanksgiving Day in 1925, over 36,000 fans gathered to watch a game between the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cardinals.
|1926||The American Football League
After being denied his financial demands, football player Harold Grange started his own league named the American Football League. The AFL didn't gain popularity until around 1960, and it later merged with the NFL.
|1933||Modern professional football emerges
The NFL had long followed college rules for American football. However, in order to modernize the game and create a better atmosphere for their own players, they changed the rules to fit their own style.
|1970||A merging of leagues
Longtime rivals, the NFL and the AFL, made the decision to merge leagues. They now classify teams as the American Conference and the National Conference, but play by the same set of rules with a yearly playoff at the Super Bowl.