American Football

History of American Football

History of American Football

The history of American football at its beginning is linked to the history of rugby. The origin of both games is a type of football sport that was common in the United Kingdom during the mid-nineteenth century, generally intended to send the ball to goal directly using the foot or running it to cross a line.

American football has emerged as a result of many changes in rugby, particularly those made by Walter Camp (nicknamed “Father of American Football”) on the rules of the game. These changes include primarily the introduction of the so-called line of engagement as well as the testing system. American football grew more popular as a college game (American college football), becoming among the most dominant sports during the first half of the 20th century.

The origin of professional football dates back to 1892, when William Heffelfinger signed a $500 contract to play for the Alleghni Sports Club against the Pittsburgh Sports Club. By 1920, the “Professional Association of American Professional Football” was finally formed. Two years later it was renamed the National Football League (NFL), which is the major U.S. soccer league. Initially it spread and gained popularity first in industrial cities in the midwest of the United States, becoming a national phenomenon. The 1958 championship finale is likely to play an important role in its growing popularity, with many classifying it as “the greatest interview ever played” (Greatest Game Ever Played). In contrast, the year 1960 marked the start of Major League NFL (AFL), the rival league to the National NFL League in the United States; The pressure on the older league led to a merger between the two leagues forming what are known as Super Bowl matches (the final matches between the NFL winner and the AFL winner, the latter being the most-watched television event across the United States.

The Earliest Beginnings of the American Football

Although there is evidence showing the prevalence of football among the peoples of American Indians, the origins of American football in its modern version date back to traditional ball games played in European villages and schools for centuries before the colonization of America. The first British settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, were actually playing with bulging balls during the early 17th century. Old forms of American football have much in common with the crowd football practised in England in particular during the Mardi Gras Festival. Where competitions take place between neighbouring cities and villages, which include an unlimited number of players distributed to competing teams, they are human blocks that collide with each other for the purpose of obtaining a ball made of pig bladder by all possible means and scoring goals from both sides. By respecting certain rules, any means can be used to move the ball towards the target, as long as it does not lead to murder or unintentional killing. During the nineteenth century, these ancient games were reversed, especially when the Highway Act of 1835 was passed, which prohibited public football.

During the game’s beginnings the sport was still largely unregulated before the 19th century, when students began playing it on campus. Every university was playing its own version of football. For example, as early as 1820, Princeton students played a game called “Ballown”. In 1827 Harvard students began a tradition under the name “Bloody Monday”, a major match between first and second year students. At Dartmouth College, students played their own version of the game called “Old division football”, which first published its rules in 1871, although the game dates back to the 1830s. All these games and others, they shared some aspects. Where the rest largely belong to the “crowd” game pattern: “A number of players try to push the ball into the goal area, often using all necessary means.” Rules are simple, where exposure to violence and injury is common. Under pressure from New Haven, Yale University in 1860 banned all forms of American football, and by 1861 Harvard did the same.

The History of American Football

Boston Game

At a time when the game was banned at universities, American football gained widespread popularity in private high schools on the East Coast. By 1855, puffed balloons were first introduced into the game, becoming more consistent than balloons previously made by hand; Something that made it easier to carry and kick. In this era, two general differences can be observed in this game: kicking games, and running games. In contrast, there was another form of hybrid game made up of both previous formats, known as the “Boston Game,” the latter was played by a group called the “Oneda Football Club.” This club, regarded by some historians as the first official football club in the United States, was formed in 1862 by high school students who played it in the Boston Common Park. This game brought the attention of the press, and quickly went viral during the 1860s.

By the late 1860s the game had returned to college campuses. During this time Yale students, Princeton, Rutgers and Brown began playing kicking games. In 1867, Princeton used rules for a game based on that of the English Football Association. In parallel, the Montreal Football Club has adopted a rugby-like game, relying on invoking the ball and running it.

The History of American Football

American College Football

On November 6, 1869, Net students from Rutgers University encountered students from Princeton University (then known as the College of New Jersey) at American football matches, long regarded as the first game in American college football history. The match was played on the Rutgers University student field based on the first set of rules for the game, in an early attempt by former pupils in public schools in England, to unify the rules of public school games, and create a uniform universal set of rules that frame the game of football. Both teams consisted of 25 players, the aim being to put each team round ball in opposition, using only the feet and not allowing the ball to be bowled or carried, adding that the first team to score 6 goals declares a winning team. As a result, Rutgers won 6 to 4. The following week at Princeton Stadium, the latter played their revenge game against Rutgers, this time in accordance with its rules (the notable difference here is to award a “free kick” for each player holding the volleyball up). Princeton won the game by eight goals to zero.

By 1870 Columbia University had joined the “League”, followed in 1872 by other universities, similar to Bill and the Stevens Institute of Technology.

The History of American Football

Unification of Rules (1873-1880)

On 19 October 1873, representatives of Columbia Universities, Yale, Princeton and Rutgers met at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, to codify the first set of standard rules for inter-university football. Prior to this meeting, each university had its own rules, and football in universities played mainly on the symbol of the local team. Participants in this meeting developed a regulation of the rules and laws governing football matches between universities, based more on the rules of the Football Association rather than the rules of the Rugby Union.

Harvard University, which played “The Game of Boston,” the football version that allows the ball to be carried, refused to attend the rules conference organized by other schools and continued to play under the university’s own symbol. While Harvard’s deliberate absence from the meeting hampered the organization of the game between it and other American universities, the university faced another challenge of playing a two-match series against McGill University’s team (Montreal). The latter traveled to Cambridge to meet Harvard. On May 14, 1874, the Harvard team won their first game, played according to the “Boston” rules, by a score of 3 to 0. The next day, the team played second games according to rugby rules, the games ended in a 0-0 draw.

Harvard ran rapidly towards rugby, in particular, the try-try system used in rugby, which was not previously used in American football. This recording method will later become “touchdown”. At the end of 1874, Harvard went to Montreal to meet McGill’s team; This time Harvard beat his opponent by three attempts. A year later, on June 4, 1875, the Harvard team met with the Tufts University team in the first match between two American universities according to rules similar to those applied in McGill’s game against Harvard, which a team won by 1 to 0.

The first American soccer matches between Harvard and Yale (called in the United States as The Game in Arabic: “Game” or “Games”) were held on 13 November 1875. Yale’s team lost by 0 to 4. At the same time they discovered that they also preferred a football version that tended to a rugby style. After these games spectators imported the game to their universities, which later became very popular.

By November 23, 1876, representatives of Harvard University, Yale, Princeton and Colombia met at the Masaquet House in Springfield, with the aim of unifying and developing new rules based on the rugby game introduced to Harvard by McGill in 1874. Regulation was largely based on the symbol of the English Rugby Union, but with one important difference: as a basic means of scoring a point, the goal scored from a kick is replaced with a touchdown. This change will happen later in rugby as well, as the attempt has been preferred as the primary means of scoring points. Following this meeting, three universities, Harvard, Colombia and Princeton, formed an inter-university football association. Yale University did not join the group until 1879, due to a disagreement over the number of players per team.

The History of American Football

Walter Camp (father of American football)

Walter Camp is widely known as the most important figure in the history of the development of American football.

During his youth, Walter Camp excelled in a number of mathematics, similar to athletics, base and football. After enrolling at Yale University in 1876, Camp received enrolment in all sports offered by the university.

Camp regularly went to the “House of Masaswit” meetings, where discussions took place to unify and change the rules. He proposed changing the first rule at the first meeting he attended in 1878: reducing the number of players from fifteen to eleven. The proposal was rejected at the time, but finally passed in 1880. This change was intended to free the floor and focus on speed rather than strength. The most significant changes that Camp caused were the creation of a line of engagement or “line of deception”, as well as the return of the ball (surprise) from the center to the second quarter line in 1880. Other changes later included introducing the possibility of capturing the ball using hands, either from the atmosphere or by passing it directly from one hand to another.

Instead of increasing the number of goals, Camp’s original design goal, to use the bases to maintain control of the ball during all stages of the games, which gave slow, no-goal interviews. At the 1882 conference, Camp proposed that each team be forced to push the ball by at least five yards in three or fewer attempts. The new rules, combined with the creation of the line of engagement, have transformed the game from a mere game with minor differences from rugby or football into a separate sport: American football.

Camp was involved in other more significant changes, ultimately leading to the identification and organization of American football. In 1881, the stadium’s area was reduced to its modern dimensions 120 yards in length and 53 yards in width (109.7 over 48.8 meters). In 1883, Camp made several adjustments to the drip system, eventually becoming four landing points, two for a goal after a touchdown, and five for a field goal. By 1887, the duration of the match had been changed to two parts in each 45 minutes. During the same year it was decided that each match would be managed by two referees with different functions. A year later, new changes were made to the rules, and in 1889 whistles and chronometers were awarded to the rulers.

After leaving Bell in 1882, Camp worked for the “New Haven Clock Company” until his death in 1925.

Although he was no longer a player, Camp continued to attend a number of conferences throughout his life, but Camp personally selected the “All-America” squad from 1898 to 1924. After his death, the Walter Camp Football Foundation continues to select these teams in his honour.

Expansion (1880-1904)

College football was widely known during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. In 1880, the number of universities participating in American football among universities did not exceed eight, but by 1900 that number quickly rose to forty-three.

In 1879, the University of Michigan became the first university in western Pennsylvania to own an American football team. It was later followed by other universities from the Midwest, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota.

The first national football association, the Inter-University Conference of Kyat Representatives (or Western Conference), was established in 1895 in preparation for the Big Ten Conference.

Thanks to the leadership of legendary coach Fielding Yost, the University of Michigan team became a force in the game and earned many wins. Between 1901 and 1905, he had a series of fifty-six unbeaten games, including the first off-season game, the Rose Bowl (an annual tradition held on January 1, with some exceptions: If New Year’s Day is Sunday, passages are extended to Monday, January 2). During this winning streak, the Michigan team earned 2,831 points, in contrast its opponents received only 40.

Another legendary trainer is Amos Alonzo Stagg of the University of Chicago, who spent most of his career in the West League. First worked at Springfield International School of Training, then in Chicago, and then at the University of the Pacific, for fifty-five years. Alonzo Stagg was ranked seventh most successful coach in 2007, with 314 victories.

Violence and controversy (1905)

From its early days as a group crowd game, American football is classified as a violent sport that has long been linked to injuries. The 1894 Harvard Yale match, known as “Hampton Park bloodbath”, for example, caused severe injuries to four players; The games were halted for nearly three years until 1897. The annual Army-Navy match between 1894 and 1898 was suspended for similar reasons. The resulting collisions often lead to serious injuries, even occasionally causing death.

Violence reached its limits in 1905 when there were nineteen deaths across the country. The thing that prompted Emeritus President Theodore Roosevelt to get on the line, where he threatened to ban the game if no radical changes were made. The 1906 change, aimed at opening the game and reducing injuries, was legitimized and passed forward. Although this change was not fully used during the early years, it was a milestone in the history of the laws of the game that contributed to the consolidation of the foundations of the modern game. On 28 December 1905, representatives of 62 universities met in New York to discuss changes in the rules of the game. As a result of this meeting, it constitutes what is currently known as the NCAA.

From territorial to national (1930-1958)

The undergraduate game continued to grow during the 1930s, especially in the southern United States, contributing to a fierce competition that was the scene of the region, similar to the “older competition in the Deep South” between the Universities of Georgia and Auburn.

Although most of the national forces in the game before the 1920s descended from the Northeast or Midwest of the United States, this fact quickly changed over time, as the South’s teams slowly began to achieve national successes. The University of Alabama team won the Rose Bowl interview run by referee Wallace Wade in 1926, securing its first national title. The Georgia Technical Institute team also won over the University of California in the 1929 Rose Bowl interview. College football quickly turned into the most popular sport in the American South.

Modern College Football (1958 – Present)

After the huge TV success of the NRL championship game in 1958, college football is no longer as popular as the NRL, at least nationally. Although both games benefit from the same television appearances as of the late 1950s, the NRL is one of the nation’s great popularity while college football maintains strong regional ties.

American Football Beyond US Borders

American football has played elsewhere than the United States since the 1920s, and its popularity quickly grew after World War II, especially in countries where American soldiers were stationed, who then formed the bulk of players and spectators. By 1998, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) was established, with the aim of coordinating international amateur competitions. In 2008, 52 of the five continents were under the auspices of the United States Football Federation. The United States Soccer Federation, headquartered in Paris, oversees the organization of the American Football World Championships every four years.

Until 2007, Japan dominated American amateur football outside the United States, winning the first and second World Cups, held respectively in 1999 and 2003, and each time colliding with Mexico in the final. The Japanese were beaten only in 2007 when they lost in the final games of the world championships held at home against the United States by 20 to 23.

FIA aims to make American football an Olympic sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The only appearance of the sport in the Olympics dates back to the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles as a “show sport.” Among the most important problems to be solved by the Federation in order to bring recognition to the game as an Olympic sport are women’s competitions, the expansion of sport in Africa and the global imbalance in favour of American teams.

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