History of Football

What is the history of Football? What are its origins? Where did Football come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Football.

Football History

What are the Basic Rules of Football?

Football is played between two teams, each of which have 11 players occupying the field at one time. Teams alternate between playing offense and defense, with the goal being to outscore the opponent by game's end.

Games are divided into four quarters of equal length. The time allotted to each quarter varies based on the league and level of play. In the NFL, each quarter is 15 minutes long, with clock stoppages taking place to account for injuries, timeouts and replay reviews.

There are two different ways to score. One of which is a touchdown, which is worth six points (plus an additional point for a successful kick conversion afterwards) and requires players to cross the goal line with the ball in hand. The other method of scoring is a three-point field goal, in which the ball is kicked off the ground and points are awarded if it successfully travels through the goal posts located towards the back of the end zone.

When playing offense, teams must advance the ball 10 yards per every four attempts. The attempt number is reflected as either first, second, third or fourth down. Successfully moving the ball past the 10 yard marker results in a fresh set of downs being awarded, while failure to do so often results in a fourth down situation in which the offense is forced to attempt a field goal or kick the ball away to the other team. At any given point, the offense may forfeit possession of the ball to the opposition if the defense manages to catch a pass (interception) or recover a loose ball (fumble). These are known as turnovers.

Common fouls in football include holding (inhibiting an opposing player's progress by grabbing their jersey), pass interference (contacting a competing player before a pass arrives in order to gain better access to the ball) and false starts/offsides penalties (movement before the ball is snapped to signify that play has officially begun). Each violation subjects the guilty party to lost yardage prior to the start of the next play.

Football Rules

Which Country Started Football?

Despite the fact that the sport is commonly coined 'american football' to avoid confusion (soccer is often referred to as football international), football's early origins can actually be traced to England during the mid-19th century. Back then, however, the sport was essentially a derivative of soccer and rugby that required players to kick the ball in order to score. The game did not exist at the professional level at this time, and was instead a new concept partaken in recreationally.

Who Invented Football?

The variation of american football that exists today can be linked to Yale University graduate Walter Camp. Often labeled the "father of gridiron football," Camp introduced a number of ideas that revolutionized the sport. These include a line of scrimmage, down-and-distance system and interference rules. Other advancements were rolled out in the following decade, such as the forward pass in order to create a more unique and exciting style of gameplay. Many of the college coaches that were famous at the time (i.e. John Heisman and Glenn "Pop" Warner) are credited with modern advancements within the game of football.

When was Football Established?

American football was officially established in 1876, marked by the championship victory of Camp's Yale Bulldogs in the sport's first recorded collegiate football league.

Football emerged at the professional level in 1892, and was solidified as a widely-recognized sport with the foundation of the American Football Association (later became the NFL) in 1920.

Football became a popular sport just a few years after the American Football Association was formed. While organized football existed primarily in the Midwestern region of the United States to begin with, it rose to national prominence towards the end of the 1920's. Popularity only continued to increase with the signing of talented players, whose bold personalities and spectacular on-field performances stimulated merchandise opportunities (i.e. jersey sales and game-worn apparel).

Which Countries Play Football the Most?

Listed below are the five countries that play football the most, ranked in order in terms of overall popularity and number of participants.

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Germany
  4. Mexico
  5. Japan

Football History Key Facts and Timeline

For a brief overview of the most important dates and events in the history of football, check out the following timeline

  • 1876: introduction of first modern rule adaptations, Yale Bulldogs win first ever american football league championship
  • 1892: professional football emerges with offering of first ever player's contract
  • 1920: foundation of the American Football Association
  • 1922: renaming of the AFA to the NFL
  • 1963: American Football Hall of Fame created in Canton, Ohio
  • 1967: playing of the first ever Super Bowl (champion: Green Bay Packers)
  • 1970: merger between NFL and competing American Football League
  • 1978: creation of playoff format in professional football
  • 1999: highest ever paid-attendance recorded in an NFL season ($20 million)
  • 2002: expansion to the 32 teams that exist today
  • 2008: first ever international NFL game played in London, England
  • 2019: replay reviews for interference calls introduced