Football (American Football) has grown into America’s number one sport due to its fast paced combination of strategy and athleticism. The game has come an incredibly long way from its inception nearly 200 yards, with football barely resembling the sport once played without helmets or forward passes. Football’s earliest versions were variations of rugby. Rugby had been played in Britain since the 15th century, though it was rule modifications in the early 19th century that would lead to the development of football. Baseball has Abner Doubleday, Basketball has James Naismith; the man commonly credited with the title “Father of Football” is Walter Camp. Camp, a Yale athlete in the 1870s, pioneered a number of rules that would shape the direction of football. His novel ideas included a reduction from fifteen to eleven players, the center-quarterback exchange, and the birth of the line of scrimmage were all proposed by Camp and instituted in 1880. The game’s new features dramatically changed the way football was played, opening up the field to emphasize speed. Football would continue to grow, primarily as a competition between east coast universities. The forward pass, which would become a staple in football and completely revolutionize the game, was not introduced until 1906. Perhaps the most important introduction in the football’s history, the rule came about primarily as a safety precaution. A rash of severe injuries and fatalities at the turn of the century had brought national scrutiny. The passing game, while used sparingly at first, was intended to limit the shear amount of contact subjected to the athletes. The passing game would further develop over the next two decades, with changes to raise the value of touchdowns relative to field goals and open up the field for wide receivers. The foundation of football that was built from 1880 to 1930 allowed the sport to develop. Innovations in the passing game would follow as coaches such as Don Coryell and Bill Walsh schemed new ways to move the football. In cyclical fashion, defensive coaches including Bill Parcells and Buddy Ryan would find ways to counter the offense.
College Football History
The first college football game took place between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. Early college games differed greatly from the more modern version of football. Instead, intercollegiate football resembled a thirty man brawl of brute strength. College football would eventually move outside of just America’s North East, spreading west to include many Midwest schools. The growing popularity of college football would result in a standardization of rules under the Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1906. This would eventually develop into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Today, the NCAA is an incredibly prominent governing body for dozens of different college athletics. The NCAA has been further divided into eleven sports conferences. College football has over thirty bowl games annually and has become a multi-billion dollar industry. College football is built on a long proud history, with many schools having celebrated traditions tied to the identity of the university. While Ivy League schools Ivy and Princeton have the most National Championship in the history of college football, their dominance has become antiquated. Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, and USC have been some of the most dominant football programs over the history of the game.
The CFL is the Canadian Football League, also known as the Ligue Canadienne de Football (LCF), which is the French equivalent, given Canada’s Quebec province is a Francophone province. The CFL History then started in 1884 with Rugby first being played in Canada, and morphing into what is now the CFL, the Canadian football – obviously, rugby is still alive and played frequently in Canada believe it or not. The Canadian football is pretty similar to the American Football, with some minor differences such as the yard distance being shorter, the ball being a tad smaller and lighter too (obviously), the goal posts being way close to the end zone line, the stadiums being significantly smaller, even with games happening at University stadiums instead of their own, such as with the Allouttes at McGill’s University in Montreal (which is one of the best football teams of the Canadian League); all this makes for a much faster pace game, which coincidentally, makes it much more exciting to watch and especially to bet on the CFL.
The first professional football player was Pudge Heffelfinger, who accepted a $500 wage to play guard in an 1892 game. Professional football soon became more organized, with several pro football teams sprouting up in the Midwest. The National Football League was formed in 1920 in order to structure the play of competing clubs. The NFL would steadily gain popularity, growing in number of franchises and profitability. The 1958 championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants, known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, was broadcast into more homes than any game ever had been. The overtime victory for Baltimore would springboard football into American popularity. Soon after, the American Football League attempted to rival the NFL. From 1960 to 1967, the AFL and NFL fought bitterly for fans and players. Through competition rose popularity. The AFL-NFL merger would bring the two entities together, eventually becoming America’s most popular sports league. The merger also brought about the Super Bowl, an immense cultural phenomenon in sports, known as the championship game for the NFL; however, before the NFL you have the NFL pro-bowl, which is a face-off between the best all American players. The game would grow both on and off the field, becoming a fantastic spectator sport with tremendous appeal, with great money transferred through players, teams, and transfers, such as done with the NFL Free Agency nowadays; don’t stop here though, learn more about the NFL history through our site.