History of Football
Early football was a soccer-like game played by kicking a round ball across the other team's goal line. Sometimes a team had thirty or more players. Later, running the ball and tackling from rugby were added.
In 1874, McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Harvard University played the first game. McGill University wanted to play rugby, with its running and tackling, while Harvard preferred to play its soccer-like game. They ended up playing a game under Harvard's rules and another game under McGill's rules. Harvard introduced McGill's rugby game to other colleges because it liked the game so much. So running and tackling soon became as important as kicking in U.S. football.
Walter Camp, who played for Yale, is responsible for many present-day rules, such as the system of downs and scoring. With sportswriter Casper Whitney he began picking an annual all-American team in 1889.
In the 1880's football became more popular, and many high schools and colleges formed teams. Towns started teams with players who were not in high school or college. This was the beginning of the NFL.
Return to homepage