Who was the first African American to play professional football?


William (Pudge) Heffelfinger's pro debut in was in 1892. He was paid $500 to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association. AnswerParty!

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African Americans, also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans, are citizens or residents of the United States who have total or partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.

African Americans constitute the second largest racial and ethnic minority in the United States. Most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved blacks within the boundaries of the present United States. However, some immigrants from African, Caribbean, Central American, and South American nations, and their descendants, may be identified or self-identify with the term.


American football (known as football in the United States and gridiron ) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown, kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal or by the defense tackling the ball carrier in the offense's end zone for a safety. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.


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The Allegheny Athletic Association was an athletic club that fielded the first ever professional American football player and later the first fully professional football team. The organization was founded in 1890 as a regional athletic club in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, which is today the North Shore of Pittsburgh.

Association football is the world's most popular sport; and it is played at a professional level by a professional footballer, worth US$600 billion worldwide. By the end of the 20th century it was played by over 250 million players in over 200 countries. Around the world, the sport is played at a professional level by a professional footballer; millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favourite football teams, while billions more watch the sport on television or on the internet. Football has the highest global television audience in sport. However, the sport began as wholly amateur; it has evolved over a number of years into the modern, professional sport.

Association football was first codified in 1863, with the formation of the Football Association (FA) in England. At this time the sport was played mainly by public schools, or teams with public school roots, and amateurism was the norm. This remained the case until the 1880s, when working class teams began to vie for supremacy. Blackburn Olympic, a team composed mainly of factory workers, won the 1883 FA Cup Final. They were the first working class team to win the competition since its inception in 1870. Though professionalism was not permitted, Olympic arranged jobs for their players, and supplemented their income with off-balance sheet payments, a common occurrence among Lancashire clubs.


William "Pudge" Walter Heffelfinger (December 20, 1867 – April 2, 1954) was an American football player and coach. He is considered the first person to play football professionally.

John Albert "Burt" Aull (January 29, 1871 - February 1, 1947) was an early football player with the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, prior to the club's hiring of professional football players.

Aull was born to William Ferris and Anna (Martin) Aull in 1871 in Pittsburgh. He was the brother of the team's captain and quarterback, Charley Aull. During a game held on November 21, 1892, against Pittsburgh's rivial, the Allegheny Athletic Association, Burt was knocked out of the game in the first half with a severely bruised head. Burt's brother, Charley, was also reportedly injured when he was crushed beneath a pile of several Allegheny players. As a result Charley's back was so wrenched, he had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The game was of historical significance since it was the first known game to feature a professional player, William "Pudge" Heffelfinger, who was paid $500 by Allegheny to play in the game.

Entertainment Culture William (Pudge) Heffelfinger USD

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