Interestingly, I seem to recall that our watch [starboard] made a near clean sweep of all the trophies on offer that year.
See Article History Alternative Titles: American football, the gridiron sport Gridiron football, version of the sport of football so named for the vertical yard lines marking the rectangular field.
Gridiron football evolved from English rugby and soccer association football ; it differs from soccer chiefly in allowing players to touch, throw, and carry the ball with their hands, and it differs from rugby in allowing each side to control the ball in alternating possessions.
It also developed simultaneously in Canadawhere it evolved into a man game, though it never achieved the great popularity and status of ice hockey there. Gridiron football has not been taken up in the rest of the world to the same degree as other American sports such as basketball and baseball.
Since the s, however, primarily through the marketing efforts of the National Football Leagueteams and leagues have been established in Europeand the game has achieved a degree of international popularity through television.
Football in the United States The game emerges Roots in soccer and rugby Gridiron football was the creation of elite American universitiesa fact that has shaped its distinctive role in American culture and life.
After several decades of informal, student-organized games that were tolerated by faculty as an alternative to more destructive rowdiness, the first intercollegiate football game was played on November 6,in New BrunswickNew Jerseybetween in-state rivals Princeton and Rutgers according to rules adapted from those of the London Football Association.
This soccer-style game became the dominant form as Columbia, Cornell, Yaleand a few other colleges in the Northeast took up the sport in the early s, and in representatives from Princeton, Yale, and Rutgers met in New York City to found the Intercollegiate Football Association and to adopt a common code.
When spectators including Princeton students as well as Yale players saw the advantages of the rugby style, the stage was set for a meeting in of representatives from Harvard, Yale, Princetonand Columbia to form a new Intercollegiate Football Association based on rugby rules.
Walter Camp and the creation of American football Harvard made the first breach in rugby rules. It was then put in play by heeling it out.
Snapping the ball with the hand became legal inthough snapping with the foot continued as an option until The second crucial rule change was necessitated by the first. Camp was also responsible for having 11 players on a side, for devising a new scoring system in with two points for a touchdown, four points for the goal after a touchdown, and five points for a field goal a field goal became worth three points ina touchdown six points infor creating the quarterback position, for marking the field with stripes, and for proposing several other innovationsbut it was those two simple rules adopted in and that most fundamentally created American football.
After the crucial rule changes, the play of the game was relatively open, featuring long runs and numerous lateral passes, as in rugby. In Camp proposed that tackling below the waist be legalized, in order to offset the advantage of speedy backs streaking around the ends.
This style of play proved so brutal that the game was nearly abolished in the s and early s. Rules establishing boundaries between permissible and impermissible violence have been continually revised over the years, sometimes in response to periods of heightened concern over deaths and injuries in the early s as well as the s, for example.
To ensure greater safety, the number of officials grew from two in to seven by Over time, improvements in equipment also provided more safeguards against serious injuries.
The first headgear, inconsisted simply of three leather straps. It evolved into close-fitting leather caps with ear flaps. The suspension helmetwhich used straps to create space between the helmet shell and the head of the wearer, was introduced in However, helmets were not required in college football until for the National Football League.
The game also spread throughout the rest of the country by the s, though the Big Three—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton—continued to dominate the collegiate football world into the s.
Ever mindful of their superiority to the latecomers, the three joined by the University of Pennsylvania to create briefly a Big Four formed the Intercollegiate Rules Committee inseparate from the Intercollegiate Football Association.
In in the Midwest, colleges dissatisfied with this divided leadership asserted their independence by forming what became the Western now the Big Ten Conference. The game also spread to the South and West, though conferences were not formed until later in those regions.
Library of Congress, Washington, D. Yost, FieldingFielding Yost, LC-DIG-npcc The brutality of mass play also spread through the nation; over the course of the season, 18 young men died from football injuries. Concerned that football might be abolished altogether, President Theodore Roosevelt in October summoned representatives including Camp from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to the White Housewhere he urged them to reform the game.
To reduce mass play, the group at its initial meeting increased the yardage required for a first down from 5 yards to 10 and legalized the forward passthe final element in the creation of the game of American football.
The founding of the NCAA effectively ended the period when the Big Three and Walter Camp personally dictated rules of play to the rest of the football world. It also ended student involvement in controlling the game, though the question of who should rule college football—coaches, alumni and boosters, or college administrators—would continue to bedevil the NCAA throughout its history.
Brutality did not end with the revised rules of New crises prompted additional rule changes in requiring seven men on the line of scrimmage and increasing the number of downs to gain 10 yards from three to four to eliminate mass play.
Nor did the forward pass immediately transform the game. It would be another three decades, however—during which restrictive rules were gradually dropped and the circumference of the ball reduced to facilitate passing—before those possibilities could be fully realized.
Sport and spectacle This early period in American football was formative in another way as well. Beginning inthe original Intercollegiate Football Association staged a championship game at the end of each season, on Thanksgiving Daymatching the two best teams from the previous year.
Initially the game was played in HobokenNew Jersey, but in it was shifted to New York City to make it easier for students from all the universities in the association to attend the game. The attendance for that first contest in New York was 5, By it had climbed to 15,; it rose to 25, by and 40, bythe last Thanksgiving Day game to be played in the city./ Directory available 1 July.
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