Article Sports

History of American Football

Football in America is quite a popular sport. Up to about 200 million people, and sometimes more watch football games weekly. Football is a game where you run plays as well as passing or running in order to reach the end zone and score. Because of all this change, many people don’t know the answer to the question: where did it all begin?

Over the years, football has gradually developed as it is just constantly improving. The roots of this sport can be traced back millennia with simple ball games. These games include episkyros and harpastum, which were from the Greeks and Romans. According to, the Greek’s episkyros is a game where teams pass the ball over a white line until a team is forced to the rear line. Little is known about the Roman game, harpastum, other than the fact that it is similar to episkyros. There are still more games that are similar to these two.

According to, from the 1800’s and on, more modern versions of football were created. For Instance, Mob football, a variation of medieval football also contributed to modern-day football. As stated in, mob football is when two close towns have people carry a ball made of pigskin to the end of the opponent’s town. Nonetheless, rugby is one key game. Basically identical to the evolved football, rugby is a game where you kick, throw, and run in an attempt to make it to the end zone, scoring what is now called a touchdown. Some differences between the two include the fact that rugby has a bigger field, more players, and a slightly different way of scoring. As the time passed, parts were added to the game like the field goal, touchdown, and more rules. The first game was against two colleges, Rutgers and Princeton. Even more rules were added after as the game did not go well, like the forward pass. This was a rule that allowed players to throw the ball forward.

After the first football game, colleges across the United States started playing the sport too. In the early 1900’s, six-point touchdowns and three-point field goals were added to the game. Although football gained popularity, problems formed requiring a change in rules and protection. People started judging footballs for reasons like excessive violence. More and more rules like the line of scrimmage, number of players allowed (now 11 players), and catching rules, like who can catch all were added and contributed to improving safety. However, it took a few years in order for football to recover from the times of being criticized. In the August of 1920, the NFL (National Football League) was formed, starting out with a few teams. Eventually, it expanded to 32 teams in the NFL.

To conclude, football has an expensive history. It is amazing how much football evolved. It started out with simple ball games, went to bigger sports like mob-football and rugby, as well as improved due to safety concerns, plus developed into the modern day NFL, containing 32 teams and a large, usually noisy audience. 


By: Alex Arevalo

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