College Football Major League Baseball Nhl Hockey In Nfl Football The Origins of American Football

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The Origins of American Football

i like football Every year I look forward to fall not only for the cooler weather and the changing colors on the trees, but it also means the start of football season. The thought of seeing my team take the field once again and make a run for the top spot in their division fills my heart with hope.

I have been a fan of the game and the same team for decades. I have seen players, teams and even the football industry evolve and change with the times. American football remains one of the most exciting and beautiful of all professional sports. For all its appeal, how and where did American football originate? All sports have a beginning and what I learned made me appreciate sports more.

A popular game known as rugby in the early 1800s, where a football is kicked over a goal and run along a line, originated at the famous Rugby Boys’ School in England. Around the same time in America, a game called “Balloon” similar to rugby was developed by a group of students at Princeton. East coast prep schools such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Rutgers College also participated in football-type sports. At the time these early games resembled the more traditional “mob football” style played in England. The rules are simple with a large number of players usually trying to advance the ball into the goal area by any means necessary. By 1855, inflatable balls were used in football kicking and running games.

Because many rules were not established, violence and injuries were common due to the roughness of the game. The sport’s increasing brutality became a public concern, causing so many injuries and deaths, that some universities banned it. President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban the sport and asked Harvard, Princeton, and Yale to help change or lose the sport. Eventually representatives from Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton formed the Intercollegiate Football Association to establish a new code of rules based primarily on rugby games.

The man responsible for shaping American football was Walter Camp. He enrolled at Yale in 1876 and headed the IFA’s Rules Committee. He proposed reducing the number of players from 15 to 11. He helped establish the line of scrimmage and the snap from center to quarterback. Camp also proposed that teams must advance the ball at least five yards on three downs. Further changes were made such as reducing the size of the playing field, scoring rules and playing time. By 1887 a paid referee and a umpire were mandatory for every game, and tackling below the waist was permitted. In 1889 officers were given whistles and stopwatches. The forward pass, one of the game’s most important changes, was not legalized until 1906.

Although the rules were changing, football was played violently in the style of earlier mob games. Changes had to be made to make the game safer. These changes were discussed by sixty-two schools in New York City on December 28, 1905. Eventually the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed as a result. A century later, college football continues to thrive as one of the most popular college sports. After the demise of the IFA, the American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920. The organization was later reorganized and renamed the National Football League in 1922.

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