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Latrobe: Home of Professional Football?

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

John Kinports Brallier in Washington & Jefferson football sweater

Latrobe: Home of Professional Football?

The following articles were published in The Latrobe Historical Gazette summer 2012 issue.

Frequently seen around Latrobe are banners and ads proclaiming Latrobe as the “Birthplace of Professional Football.” But there are also those who criticize us for being uninformed or even dishonest for making false claims.

The truth falls somewhere between these contrasting claims.

In 1934 Dr. Harry March, a member of the NFL Executive Committee, wrote one of the first books on the history of the professional game: Pro Football: Its Ups and Downs. It earned him a reputation as the leading U.S. authority on professional football history for the next several decades. In it he identified Brallier as the first paid player.

Even after this publication, none of the other early pros stepped forward to dispute the title..

Today, Brallier is still the first player openly admitting to pay to play, but is ranked no higher than seventh in line among the early day players accepting pay to play.

Nevertheless, he is still regarded as one of the most talented athletes in the early years of football.

Download the full article here.

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