When Did Football Start in America

When did football start in America? Sport and games are as old as human kind, and when it comes to football, even ancient China, Greece and Rome had their own versions of it. In ancient Greece, men and women played a game that consisted of kicking and throwing a ball. In China, 2,500 years ago, it was called “Cuju” and was used to train military cavaliers.

History of Football

Modern football has its roots in English game of rugby, which was played in public schools and Rugby boarding School in the 19th century and before.  American football was derived from rugby. The rules were established by Walter Camp, who was a player and a coach at Yale University. He contributed to some changes in the football rulebook, which made football distinctive from rugby in several ways. For example, the number of players in rugby is 15 and all of them can change sides from attack to defense; in American football there are 11 players in the field and each one of them has a very specific role. In football, there is an additional zone on the field, called the end zone, and it extends 10 yards (9 meters) behind the goal line. While rugby focuses on sideways and backward passes only, football allows direct forward passes. Scoring system, time limit and number of referees are also different. There is one major difference that is quite apparent – players in American football wear protective gear, while those who play rugby don’t.

The First Football Game

November 6, 1869 was the day when the first American football game was played between teams from Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Shortly after that, other schools, like Harvard, Yale and Columbia added football to their athletic curriculum and football became a national phenomenon.

The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920 and two years later it changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) and nowadays is the major league of American football.  William “Pudge” Walter Heffelfinger is considered to be the first professional player.

Today, the major forms in the United States are high school football, college football and professional football, and its highest level is the NFL with its 32 teams.  The season starts at August and ends with Super Bowl, the main event of the season in the first week of February with almost 100 million viewers in the United States.

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