American Football: Brief History
American football is really an interesting and amazing sport that epitomizes human spirit, competitiveness, and endurance to win. Only 60 nations has adopted this sport as a national sport, but past records suggest people have been playing this sport since ancient times. Ancient Greeks and Romans used this sport to train their warriors. It is believed that Chinese are playing football for 3000 years. However, the modern day football started from England.
American football owes its origin to rugby, that originated from the earlier types of football played in England. Americans began to play football since 19th Century. However, the game was played without any set of rules. Different versions of football were played in different colleges. For instance, the players used their fists first in order to get the ball, and then their feet to get the ball past the opponent. On the other hand, a game much like football was played at Harvard on the 1st Monday of the beginning of the school year.
After the American Civil War was ended in 1865, the American football got to see a new dawn. The popularity of this sport started to rise in colleges and campuses, and certain rules for the game started to emerge too. Princeton laid down the rules for its team for the first time in 1867. According to that rule only 25 footballers were allowed to be in a team. The game got patented in the same year. Princeton and Rutgers played the first intercollegiate football in the year 1869. In 1873, Yale, Columbia, Rutgers and Princeton formed the intercollegiate Football Association (IFA).
However, the American football saw its transaction from the rugby style to the modern day style, stared with the determinations of Walter Camp who is known as the Father of American Football. Camp was a coach at Yale and also a member of the IFA. He played great role to lay down the size of football field as 110 yards, and also reduce the number of players in each team from 15 to 11. He even introduced the line of scrimmage rules and the systems of downs. He standardized the system of scoring and introduced neutral zone, penalties, interference, and the safety.
The sport was still intensely physical though new rules and regulations were introduced. A big number of colleges had banned this sport by the early 20th century. The intense collision that used to take place in this game caused severe injuries and even deaths. The numbers of casualties from the sport were so high that the president, Theodore Roosevelt, declared to ban the sport unless the rules and regulations were reformed. As a result 62 schools met on December 1905 to make changes on the rules of American Football. The association disallowed the locking of arms and mass formations. The duration of the game was reduced to 60 minutes from 70 minutes. An open style of play to the game was introduced when the forward pass was legalized. Further innovations and changes made by legendary football coaches, like Eddie Cochems, Pop Warner and Knute Rockne, introduced skills and techniques to the game that was once characterized by players’ physical strength.