Football’s Early Beginnings
Football (as well as rugby and soccer) are believed to have descended from the ancient Greek game of harpaston. Harpaston is mentioned frequently in classical literature, where it is often referred to as a “very rough and brutal game“. The rules of this ancient sport were quite simple: Points were awarded when a player would cross agoal line by either kicking the ball, running with it across the goal line, or throwing it across the line to another player. The other team’s objective was simply to stop them by any means possible. There was no specific field length, no side line boundaries, no specified number of players per team, only a glaring lack of rules.
Harpaston: Luckily (for everyone) uniforms & equipment haveimproved dramatically.
Most modern versions of football are believed to have originated from England in the twelfth century. The game became so popular in England that the kings of that time (Henry II and Henry IV) actually banned football. They believed that football was taking away interest from the traditional sports of England, such as fencing and archery.
The U.S. Navy Midshipmen (at left, in blue) line up on offense against the Army's Black Knights
Nickname(s) Football, Tackle football, Gridiron football
First played November 6, 1869, Rutgers vs. Princeton
Team members 11 at a time
American football, known in the United States and Canadasimply as football, and often as Gridiron or Tackle football outside North America, is a competitive team sport known for combining strategy with physical play. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it (a running play) or by throwing it to a teammate (a passing play). Points can be scored in avariety of ways, including carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line, catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the ball through the goal posts at the opponent's end zone, or tackling an opposing ball carrier within his end zone. The winner is the team with the most points when the time expires.
American football is closely related to Canadian football, but with significantdifferences. Both sports originated from rugby football. The major forms of football in the United States are collegiate football and professional football. There have been numerous major professional football leagues in the U.S.; the two currently in existence are the National Football League (NFL) and the United Football League.
The sport is also played outside the United States. National professionaland collegiate leagues exist in United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Austria, and several Pacific Island nations.
An American football team at the turn of the twentieth century
The origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892, with William "Pudge" Heffelfinger's $500 contract to play in a game for the AlleghenyAthletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The first Professional "league" was the Ohio League, formed in 1903, and the first Professional Football championship game was between the Buffalo Prospects and the Canton Bulldogs in 1919. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was formed. The first game was played in Dayton, Ohio on October 3, 1920 with the host Trianglesdefeating the Columbus Panhandles 14–0. The league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and eventually became the major league of American football. Initially a sport of Midwestern industrial towns in the United States, professional football eventually became a national phenomenon. Football's increasing popularity is usually traced to the 1958 NFL Championship...