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History Of Football

Sometime around 1050, Englishmen dug up a skull of a dane and started to kick it around in frustration toward the daneIt became known as “Kicking the dane’s head” . The skull began to hurt the boy’s feet, so a boy came up with the idea of using an inflated cow bladder to help their feet(Tuttle, 13). In 1189, King Henry banned the game, because people were too involved in the game to practice archery and fighting for war(Tuttle, 13). During the 1500’s the game shifted to Ireland where people invented the Irish rules that made the game tougher.

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As the game progressed it turned into soccer and rugby(Tuttle, 14). On November 6, 1869, Princeton and Rutgers played the first college soccer game(Tuttle, 14). During the spring of 1871 a group of people at Harvard University made a game called the “Boston Game”, which was similar to rugby rules(Tuttle, 14). On May 15, 1874, Harvard played McGill University, which was from Montreal. They played with an egg-shaped ball instead of a round ball(Tuttle, 14). They played with 11 men instead of 15, because 4 could not make the game.

In 1880, Walter Camp, Yale’s rugby captain, created the line of scrimmage and other modern football attributes to improve the game because it was too low scoring (Tuttle, 13). He also changed the scoring system to: safety-1 point, touchdown-2, Point after touchdown-4, and a field goal-3. He then changed the yards kneeded to gain a first down to 5 and used 3 downs(Tuttle, 16). Later coaches changed Camps’ rules to rules we use now. In 1919 the American Professional Football Association was made in Canton, Ohio(Treat, 23). It started out with 5 teams (Akron, Canton, Columbus, Dayton, and Rochester) (Treat, 23).

It cost twenty-five dollars to open a franchise(Treat, 23). The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers joined the League in 1921 to make one of football’s greatest rivalries. The American Professional Football Association changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) in 1922(Tuttle, 61). By 1923, there were 20 teams in the NFL(Treat, 34). During the 1920’s, mostly due to the depression, the NFL began to drop to only 12 teams(Treat, 35). In order to make the scoring increase, the NFL made it legal to throw a forward pass in 1933(Encarta).

The defense rushing the quarterback made it difficult to complete passes, so the NFL invented a rule which would not allow the defense to rough the passer when he does not have possession of the ball (roughing the passer) (Encarta). After passing became effective the game became more enjoyable and attendance greatly increased Since teams were not getting a fair amount of talent out of college, The NFL Draft was built in 1936(Encarta). This allowed teams to take turns selecting players out of college. The NFL later allowed juniors to enter into the Draft in 1989(Encarta).

As soon as Professional football became more popular, College football began to also. During the 1930’s college football created bowl games for the good teams to compete with one another(Lorrimor and Devaney, 35). Among the most popular bowl games are the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and the Orange Bowl(Lorrimor and Devaney, 141). Seeing how much success the National Football League was having, The American Football League (AFL) was made in 1960(Lorrimor and Devaney, 11). The AFL started with just 8 teams, and their play was very sloppy and not professional(Lorrimor and Devaney, 11).

After a few seasons the AFL became just as good as the NFL. It got to a point where the American Football League was considered the better league of the two. The competition between the two leagues was driving both of them into bankruptcy, so in 1966 the leagues finally made peace(Lorrimor and Devaney, 12). They decided not to fight over getting players, and at the end of each season they would have a playoff where the winner of both leagues would face one another in the Super Bowl, which in the championship game(Lorrimor and Devaney, 12).

In 1970 the American Football League and the National Football League decided it would be best if the two leagues merged(Lorrimor and Devaney, 12). It would become the National Football League, and it would be divided into two conferences. The former National Football League would become the National Football Conference (NFC), and the former American Football League would become the American Football Conference (AFC) as it is today(Lorrimor and Devaney, 12). In 1963 the Professional Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton, Ohio(Tuttle, 61).

In 1974 the World Football League (WFL) started(Treat, 644). It had high hopes of what the National and American Football Leagues did, but it suffered major losses in contract agreements, and did not survive another season. By the 1970’s, football became America’s favorite sport. The attendance dramatically increased and football leagues started to come from all over the place. Instant Replay was created in 1986-1992(Encarta), where it stopped, but started back up again in 1999.

In 1992 the National Football League started making major changes toward the future. It created Free Agency, because of a lawsuit(Encarta). Free Agency allows players freedom to move around from teams after their contract. The NFL also invented the Salary Cap, which allowed NFL teams only a certain amount of money to spend on players’ contracts(Encarta). Both Free Agency and the Salary Cap have made it easier for teams to have the same amount of talent, and have made tremendous strides into football’s future.

The demand for football has become so popular, that during televised games companies will pay millions of dollars for thirty seconds of commercial advertisement space. Stadiums now hold tens of thousands of people. At the University of Michigan, their stadium seats more than 100,000 people. Stadiums are now built with retractable roofs and instant replay at each seat. Several indoor football leagues have started all over the country, where they play with walls and 50 yards. The owner of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) is expected to open a tough football league in 2001 called the XFL.

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