Tap to Read ➤

When Did Football Start?

Medha Godbole
Tracing the history of a sport is one of the most intriguing and interesting things to do, especially for those who are totally driven by a passion for sports and want to know as much as possible about it. For more on American football history, pitch in.
A thug's game played by gentlemen, rugby is a sport that originated in England. It is a game involving a prolate spheroid ball, and is a full contact form of football. There are 13 members each in 2 competing teams, and they play on a rectangular grass field.
The goal of the teams is to carry or kick the ball towards the opponent's goal line. Here, points can be scored by either grounding the ball, called a 'try', and then the team gets a chance to go at the goal. American football started around the mid 1800s. It actually resulted from variations in rugby.

Football in the United States

Early Days

American football came about especially as an effect of rule changes instituted by Walter Camp. He is considered as the father of American football. Walter Camp totally changed the face of American football, by introducing the 'line of scrimmage'. The scoring rules and the size of the field were also dabbled into by him.
In the USA, football started around the latter half of the 1800s. Basically, American football came about as a result of variations in rugby, which was played in the United Kingdom.
Rugby, as we all know, is a game where a ball is kicked over a line, or is held and then ran over the line. 1855 was the year when inflated footballs were introduced into the game. By that time, 2 general forms of the game involving kicking and carrying had evolved, and consequently, a mix of the 2 was played by a group called the Oneida Football Club.
It was known as the 'Boston Game', and the club was apparently the first of its kind, in 1862. From then on, intercollegiate football gained momentum and popularity. Eventually, around the early 1870s and 1880s, concrete rules for intercollegiate football were laid down.

Later Stages

In 1892, the professional form of this sport came into being. In the year 1920, the American Professional Football Association was established. This eventually became the major league of American football. Meanwhile, some coaches like Glenn Warner and a few others contributed to the game by introducing new concepts.
Then came the period when the sport was not limited to just a region; it became a national sport. In the 1930s, the college game spread to the south, and soon football got national attention.
In 1946, Bert Bell was made the Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), who held the post for the next 13 years. There were 10 NFL teams that year, of which 9 are very much in the game today too. Then came the American Football league.
Thereafter, the sport grew and developed rapidly. Simultaneously, football gear was picking up. The last thing to be added to the gear was the helmet, which was made mandatory in the NFL in the year 1943, thanks to George Barclay of Lafayette College. He came up with the 'head harness' as early as in 1896.
In the current form of the league, every team has a good chance of winning, and the rules and labor agreement with the players prevent the richest teams from luring the best in the business. Smaller teams get an equal chance to get the best players aboard.

Football in England

Football started in England around the same time, in 1800. However, in England, rugby was what is the equivalent of American football. Starting from private schools, this sport spread all over the country.
Rugby football origins can be traced back to Rugby School, Warwickshire. In 1895, the Northern Rugby Football Union was formed, and in 1898, the professional form of the rugby league came about. In 1897, line out was abolished. Following that, in 1906, team strengths were reduced from 15 to 13 per year.
Around the same time, players started getting paid for playing. In addition to this, 'play the ball' was incorporated in place of the 'scrum formed after every tackle'. Developments followed, popularity increased, and in the year 1954, there were around 120,000 spectators who watched the Challenge Cup final.
What's more, the Rugby League World Cup was founded. Then, in the years that followed, the game was bettered, and lead to almost what the modern version of the game is.
In 1966, the International Board introduced the rule that the team in possession is allowed 3 play balls, and on the fourth, a scrum was to be formed. In the late 1960s, official sponsors ventured into the 'field' (pun unintended) of rugby. Broadcast was widespread, with major corporations vying for telecast rights.