What are some things on the history of football that would be helpful to write a research paper?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that previous post did a very nice job in addressing it.  In terms of the historical development of American Football, I would suggest examining the difference between the NFL and the old AFL league.  Both leagues featured teams that represented much of the dichotomy of America at the time.  The NFL was the "establishment" league and this could be contrasted with the upstart AFL.  One could argue that this emergent league represented the rising of "the other," as it sought to contrast its views with that of the establishment. The AFL was designed to separate itself from the traditional play of the NFL.  It felt that by representing this other, this counter football culture as it were, there would be a greater diversity of play offered to the fan.  This is highly representative of the 1960s' spirit which could also be seen as attempting to articulate "the other" in terms of social, political, and ethical notions of the good.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I can't see from your profile where you're from, but I'm assuming you're American and therefore you mean American football.  Some major developments I'd suggest looking at:

  1. First college football game 1869 -- if you find stuff about that you'll probably find stuff about the early rules and how it was a combination of rugby and soccer along with some new ideas.
  2. How violent the game was at first and how Theodore Roosevelt wanted to ban it.
  3. The invention of the forward pass, which went along with the reshaping of the ball to make it less round and easier to throw.
  4. The beginning of the NFL.

All of this stuff is pretty much in chronological order.

The answer below is right also...  And some other stuff:

  • Integration of the NFL after WWII
  • Start of TV broadcasts
  • The merger with the AFL and the first Super Bowl
  • Growth of popularity -- look at how poor attendance was at early Super Bowls

Oh, and of course, the first Heisman Trophy went to a player from my alma mater!  Which is just tremendously important to everyone.

Good luck!

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a repository for information about the history of football. You could begin your research with the article about this institution in Wikipedia. See the reference link below.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional football in the United States with an emphasis on the National Football League (NFL). The hall opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter enshrinees. As of 2014, there are a total of 287 members of the Hall of Fame.

Although the Pro Football Hall of Fame obviously focuses on pro football, they ought to have information about the origins of college football too. If you had enough time you could actually contact them and ask them to send you information. No doubt they would be happy to oblige, since the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a big tourist attraction and probably has a publicity department.

This would be an easy way of doing research. And you might find the place very interesting. They could save you a lot of time and trouble. 

thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

There are actually quite a few different things you can write about for the history of football. You could start with the history of the game itself, and how was first played, or how it came into being. You could write about who the inventor was, where the first game was played, and how it became what it is today. 

You could also write about the history of the NFL. The NFL has actually been around longer than one might think, but it didn't start to become the most popular sport in the United States until about the 1960's. 

Or, you could write about the history of a specific team. College, professional, or otherwise. There is a lot of rich and interesting history and trivia behind every football team. 

Hope this helps!

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