What Time Does The England Football Game Start Today The Origins of American Football

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The Origins of American Football

I love football. Every year I look forward to the fall season not only because of the cooler weather and the changing colors on the trees, but because it also means the start of football season. Anticipation builds inside me at the thought of watching my team take the field again and make a run for first place in their division.

I have been a fan of the game and the same team for decades. I have watched players, teams and even the football industry evolve and change over time. American football remains one of the most exciting and beautiful games in all of professional sports. For all its appeal, how and where did American football originate? All sports have their beginnings and what I learned left me appreciating the game even more.

During the early 1800s, the popular game known as rugby, where a football is kicked into a goal and crossed over a line, began at the famous Rugby School for Boys in England. Around the same time in America, a group of Princeton students played a game called “ballown”, similar to rugby. East Coast prep schools such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Rutgers College also competed in football-type games. At the time these early games resembled the more traditional style of “mob football” played in England. The rules were simple with a large number of players trying to advance the ball into the goal area usually in any way they could. By 1855, manufactured inflatable balls were being used as football evolved into a game of kicking and running.

Since there were not many set rules, violence and injuries were common due to the roughness of the game. The game’s increasing brutality became such a public concern due to so many injuries and deaths that some universities banned it. President Theodore Roosevelt even threatened to ban the game and called on 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 largely on rugby games.

The man responsible for shaping American football as we know it today was Walter Camp. He enrolled at Yale in 1876 and chaired the IFA Rules Committee. He suggested reducing the number of players from 15 to 11. He helped establish the line of scrimmage and the transition from center to quarterback. Camp also proposed requiring teams to advance the ball at least five yards within three downs. Several changes were introduced such as the reduced size of the playing field, scoring rules and playing time. By 1887, a paid umpire and umpire were required for every game, and tackles below the waist were allowed. In 1889, officials received whistles and stopwatches. The forward pass, one of the most important changes in the game, did not become legal until 1906.

Although the rules were changing, football continued to be played violently in the style of earlier mob games. Changes had to be made to make the game safer. On December 28, 1905, sixty-two schools met in New York to discuss these changes. Eventually, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed as a result. More than a century later, college football continues to thrive as one of the most popular college games. After the dissolution of the IFA, the American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920. The association was later reorganized and renamed the National Football League in 1922.

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