History of Football

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The history of football is interesting as well as exciting, from the first forms of the game ever played, to the multi million dollar organizations of today. The game continues to evolve and change with the times.

Football is a sport that evolved from many different games. Football is mainly known as a different form of rugby or soccer, but there is more to the origin of the game than just those two sports. Football games were played around the world before the game was actually called football. " Football is believed to have descended from a Greek game called Harpaston " (Source C). The rules in Harpaston were not very strict. Running, kicking, or passing the ball across the goal line could earn points. " It is believed that the Chinese played some form of soccer around 500 A.D" (Source M). The earliest soccer games in England consisted of people running around on a field kicking a skull. This skull kicking game continued until someone had the idea to use an inflated cow bladder, which allowed for the ball to be kicked greater distances and was much easier on the foot of the participants. In the twelfth century, the king of England outlawed the game of "futeball" because it took away from the English tradition of archery. The game was considered illegal for four hundred years. Once it was allowed to resume, it was called soccer. Another ancestor of football is the Irish game of Gaelic rugby. This game basically consisted of teams trying to advance the ball across the goal line, much like Greek Harpaston. Once the game made it across the Atlantic to America it started to take on characteristics of the game we now call football today.

When football crossed the Atlantic Ocean and came to America it would undergo a major change. There were many different forms of the game in America, Princeton University students played a game called ‘Ballown' in the 1920s, which was the earliest attempt at modern football. Harvard University students would always play a football-like game on the first Monday of the new school year, it became known as ‘Bloody Monday'. "But, the first official game took place on November 9th 1869 between Princeton University and Rutgers University. Both teams had twenty-five players, which led to mass confusion and chaos, also the goal posts were only twenty-five yards apart, causing a very small field" (Source J). It was obvious that the sport needed some new rules and Mr. Walter Camp was the man to develop them. Walter Camp was a star player and later a coach at his alma mater, Yale University. Walter Camp contributed to the definition of modern-day football more than anyone; he helped change the game from its form of rugby style to the modern game it is today. " Walter Camp is known as the father of American football" (Source J). As the game grew in popularity more people began playing it, but the game was considered too brutal. " Before 1905 many injuries and eighteen deaths had been reported from the brutal mass plays, President Roosevelt asked the schools to set rules to save the game from extinction" (Source C). In response to the Presidents plea, representatives from several different schools got together to set some rules, which would forever change the game.

"The schools decided that a touchdown should be worth more, so in 1898 it was changed from four to five points, and eventually changed from five to six. While on the other hand the field goal was dropped from five points to four, and then down to three" (Source I). Another problem with the game is that it was very boring. To help end this boredom Walter Camp came up with the idea of first downs. With this rule, teams must gain ten yards in four attempts or the

ball is turned over. To help protect players' safety, formations like the flying V and wedge were made illegal. Probably the most important rule change was the legalization of the forward pass. To...
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