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History of Football
The history of football generally dates back to its beginnings in rugby. The English game which is very similar to soccer and football which also started in England in the early 1800s.
College campuses of Ivy League schools all played similar variations of football until the mid-1800s. Then, shortly after the Civil War ended around the 1860s, some colleges began playing football. organized soccer. Princeton University surpassed some of the basic rules of football and the game became patented. It seems strange to be able to patent a game but nonetheless the sport has started to grow. The first football game in college football history was then played in 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers with Rutgers as the winner, thus producing football history.
Another milestone in college football history was in 1873 when a number of colleges came together to establish the first rules of the game and establish the number of players on each team. Yale coach Walter Camp was involved in the final stage of the transition from rugby-style to American-style football. He limited the number of players to eleven in each team and sized the football field to 110 meters. He then created the system of downs in 1882, which originally consisted of three downs to gain 5 yards, then 4 downs to gain 10 yards.
Without proper safety equipment at the time, the sport had become extremely brutal and dangerous for all players. There were even a number of deaths that had taken place in the sport. It had become such a serious problem that then-President Teddy Roosevelt called for change and helped put together a select 7-member group to govern a rules organization and save football history. This committee eventually became the NCAA or National Athletic Association that we all know today.
The committee formed a number of new rules, including the forward pass and a number of safety measures that penalized players for roughing and dangerous acts. Football history changed when a then common practice of locking arms and blocking in unison was also rightfully made illegal. The game has been shortened to the sixty minutes we play today and a neutral zone between attack and defense has also been incorporated.
The development of the sport led to an inevitable expansion in the field of college football. College football history has since blossomed into an incredible weekly spectacle. Hundreds of varsity teams now compete each year under NCAA guidelines. Many college divisions are now holding conferences and all are hoping to win a big New Year’s Bowl. Football history and nostalgia are alive and well in college football today.
Professional football was first played around 1895 and in 1920 the APFA or American Professional Football Association was formed. It was renamed into what we all know today as the NFL or the National Football League in 1922. The NFL started out slowly and by the mid-forties had only ten teams. A major merger then took place in 1970 which combined the 16 NFL teams with the 10 AFL teams to form one large association with two conferences. Expansion continued to the league now consisting of 32 teams and professional football has grown tremendously since its beginnings in 1869, growing from a college game to a billion dollar empire. Such is the history of football.
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